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3 Ways Restaurants are Exploring the Metaverse for a Better Guest Experience

The metaverse offers many opportunities to attract new customers and engage loyal clientele.

If your restaurant isn’t tapping the many opportunities to enhance the guest experience in the metaverse — technologies that offer virtual “worlds” and augmented realities that mix aspects of digital and physical realities — you’re missing out on the “next frontier for restaurants,” according to restaurant industry magazine QSR.

“A metaverse presence and continued ownership and control of a brand is crucial to the future of restaurants in an increasingly digital world,” says QSR.

“For fast food and casual-dining brands looking to stay ahead of the curve, it’s time to explore how the metaverse fits into their customer engagement strategy. The earliest adopters are already using metaverse activations as a tool to increase digital engagement, and many have filed a flurry of trademarks to protect their name and other assets in the emerging virtual universe.”

In fact, many well-known restaurant chains are exploring ways to serve guests in the metaverse.

“The metaverse is a big mystery to many people, but it’s one that restaurant chains are beginning to realize the full potential of as they stake claims by filing trademarks or opening units in the virtual world,” according to Nation’s Restaurant News, which lists the following chains that have filed trademarks to utilize the metaverse for a better guest experience:

  • Burger King
  • Wendy’s
  • Chipotle
  • Panera
  • Wingstop
  • Next Level Burger
  • Bareburger
  • Yum Brands
  • Panda Express
  • Hooters
  • Inspire Brands
  • McDonald’s
  • Chick-fil-A

So, what are some of the things these restaurant metaverse explorers are doing to offer virtual technologies for a fun, engaging guest experience?

Here are three ways restaurants are using the metaverse to attract and engage loyal and potential customers alike.

1. Food gamification

The metaverse is a virtual wonderland for gamers where they compete in games such as Minecraft and Fortnite. But the metaverse is also a place where restaurants can gamify food items to build customer loyalty, according to QSR.

“Chipotle, which now has a location inside the Roblox game platform, modeled on its original 1993 flagship restaurant in Denver, recently launched a game in which participants roll their own burritos and win currency they can spend on real-world food items,” says QSR.

“Burger King’s Keep it Real campaign awarded NFTs when diners scanned the QR codes of certain food items. And Wendy’s has launched a full-fledged world on Meta’s Horizon Worlds app, opening up the potential for linking activities there to real-world purchases.”

2. Reaching and rewarding new audiences

“Many fast food brands continue to prioritize certain groups of consumers, such as young families and digitally savvy Millennials and Gen Z’s with disposable income, and brands should also consider how the metaverse can play into their engagement strategy,” says QSR.

For example, metaverse engagement strategies could include immersive virtual educational experiences focused on healthy eating and ways your restaurant reduces waste to be more sustainable. Restaurants can also provide virtual experiences that allow consumers to gain rewards when they participate in restaurant loyalty programs

“Virtual reality events in the metaverse, like concerts and other shows, provide additional outlets for brands to offer consumers unique experiences as rewards for participating in loyalty programs,” says QSR.

“This approach has roots in brands’ long-time sponsored partnerships with movie stars, athletes, and other celebrities to help drive campaigns. But this type of metaverse engagement takes these partnerships a step further, allowing brands to offer customers exclusive experiences not possible in real life.”

3. Providing a new channel for food orders

The metaverse may also eventually evolve to provide a new channel for placing food delivery orders while participating in a virtual game, according to QSR.

“The metaverse is opening up a new world of opportunities for dining brands, especially when it comes to forging new paths to customer loyalty,” says QSR. “Brands must act now, taking advantage of this moment of excitement around the metaverse while making sure they stake claim to their names and assets in the virtual world before anyone else does.”