The severely hit restaurant sector is launching the metaverse

Some restaurants are looking for new ways to re-engage in a market that has been severely affected by a two-year COVID-19 pandemic.

Many have been juggling restaurants over the past two years: changing menus, thinking of new ways to connect with customers, pivoting toward a positive future. It was incredibly impressive.

One way to gain traction is to focus on a new market: the metaverse. Yes, there is a lot of hype surrounding the metaverse, also known as augmented reality. And it offers new opportunities for the restaurant industry.

Talking about the metaverse today is like explaining what the internet was like in the 1970s. Few people know how technology will accelerate and evolve to change the way we communicate and the way we live.

The metaverse is a virtual world that continues to exist and evolve even when you are not there through a virtual reality device. You can go in and out as the world goes on. You can make, buy and sell things.

And you can order and eat food virtually in a digital economy. Obviously you can’t eat the body in the Metaverse, but there are many more things you can do that you can’t do in the real world.

American restaurant chain Chipotle recently partnered with online platform Roblox for food-making users to earn credits for real food. When they started inviting people to join their metaverse restaurant and collect credits for their next Chipotle order by receiving special codes, more than 20,000 people were waiting to enter.

McDonald’s recently announced plans to open Metaverse restaurants. Wendy’s and Hooters have also made announcements in recent days.

In Canada, Restaurants Canada has launched a Metaverse Marketplace for its industry, a partnership of trend scouts to revitalize the foodservice industry. It will launch in May. We expect other chains to follow in the coming months.

However, it is not yet clear how the metaverse will change in our lives or how restaurants will be able to make money by virtually selling food. It can come and go, like many other things in life.

However, the potential crossover between the real world of food and a virtual world in the metaverse can help companies view the market differently. Think about how employees are trained or how chains are testing new menu items. Experiences can be changed in ways they cannot today.

The metaverse is also a reason why so many people talk about cryptocurrencies. Many expect the two to rely heavily on each other as they develop. For example, Crypto Baristas aims to bridge the gap between the physical and virtual worlds for coffee lovers. Not only does it bring coffee fans together in the metaverse, but the project funds an actual New York City cafe called Coffee Bros., which works with coffee growers around the world. Everything is done in cryptocurrencies.

Most Canadians may not buy this metaverse concept. Food is food, and you order it from a restaurant or cook it yourself. And let’s face it, wearing VR headsets can be painful and look ridiculous.

The online world is different than it was before in the pandemic, especially in the food industry. There’s more business and more traffic, so converting some of that traffic into a virtual world isn’t as difficult as it was two years ago.

It’s not expensive for restaurants to join the metaverse, and the possibilities are interesting. If it can help the restaurant industry bounce back, all the power is in their hands.

CS

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is Senior Director of the Agrifood Analysis Laboratory and Professor of Food Distribution and Policy at Dalhousie University. Troy Media

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