Metaverse: What it means for restaurants

Metaverse is the next evolution of social media, virtual reality, and the virtual world.

Facebook has now been rebranded to the name, “Meta,” and is creating a virtual world through the metaverse. Meta’s (Facebook) founder, Mark Zuckerberg intends for metaverse to be a 3D, virtual space in which people can socialize, learn, and collab with one another.1 Zuckerberg explains that Metaverse will be a unified space in which “mingles digital and physical reality.”Zuckerberg claims that Metaverse will be “more natural and vivid” which is unlike the addictive social media targets such as Instagram and Facebook.

These virtual reality worlds have been a thing since 2014-2019. Devices such as the Oculus VR allows users to have a digital and physical reality while they play video games with their friends and chat online. Depending on how quickly this concept evolves, some say that people may even be allowed to physically feel whatever it is they are touching in the Metaverse world using different devices.

Sneak Peek into VR and Virtual Worlds

According to Steve Simoni, Chipotle has created a virtual restaurant inside the online game platform, named Roblox, to give away $1 million in free burritos.3 This meant that gamers who logged into Roblox was able to enter the restaurant virtually and get a free promo code for a free burrito to use in the real world. Virtual reality will change the landscape for many restaurants in this generation of quick, evolving technology.

There are many virtual and gaming platforms restaurants can use to reach their fans and a larger target audience. For example, Ariana Grande hosted a concert in a game called Fortnite. She was able to interact with her fans and give them a cool virtual concert experience.

Since many restaurants use Instagram and Facebook to their advantage, restaurants can now interact with their customers online using the Metaverse.

Meta Restaurants

Metaverse was designed to be the future of e-commerce, gaming, remote work, fitness and even interpersonal relationships.”It serves as virtual and augmented reality which expands possibilities for businesses to be innovative and differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Here are a few different restaurants from around the world that have used AR and VR worlds to their full advantage.

Sublimotion in Ibiza, Spain

In addition, Sublimotion is a restaurant located in Ibiza, Spain which is ran by a Michelin 2-star chef, Paco Roncero. Roncero “utilizes molecular gastronomy in cooking.”5 The restaurant opened in 2014 and was awarded Best Innovation Food & Beverage.

The dining experience at Sublimotion has a more futuristic feel than any other restaurant in the world. Roncero cooks his meals using a Samsung Gear which helps him “choreograph” his meals for his guests. 12 customers can feast on a high-tech interactive space called a “capsule” at the restaurant. Architects and designers have joined forces with engineers, illusionists, and screenwriters to craft immersive audio/visual experiences to accompany Sublimotion’s Sci-Fi cuisine.”6

In the capsules, these diners are taken through a journey of feasting through different times and places. For example, diners can eat their dinner from the bottom of the ocean or in space. For the complete experience, diners are given a Samsung Gear VR headset which immerses them in a fantasy world during their meal.7

Tree by Naked in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo’s Tree by Naked opened in July of 2017. It was an idea started by Muramatsu, a visual artist who is famous for his films and global installations in Japan.8

For one course, diners are to wear virtual reality headsets. VR headsets give diners the full VR experience as it brings them on a journey of a farm, surrounded by farm animals dressed in dapper clothing.9 Diners can experience illuminated fish swimming across their plate and wagyu beef being made in front of them while they are in space.

Restaurants and Virtual Reality

“Virtual reality dining is still a pricey novelty — costing as much as $2,000 — but it does have the potential to create a new kind of food experience.”10

Mark Zuckerberg presented a “feast for your eyes” presentation to explain how brands could use this method seamlessly into their restaurants. To expand, “feast for your eyes” allows diners to swipe through a VR menu, which allows diners to explore options such as discovering ingredients, and they are able to watch the preparation and cooking process of the menu items.11 Zuckerberg also claims that restaurants could even allow guests to order directly from the virtual menu while they dine-in or order for delivery.12

Restaurants can also include a world in Metaverse that allows their customers to experience the restaurant virtually with their friends, or potentially have a virtual reality date. This will give them the experience of a real restaurant while staying inside the comfort of their own homes.

Is Metaverse and VR the future for restaurants?

While virtual reality is not a new concept or a new type of technology, it is currently an expensive proposition for restaurants to implement. There is also a lot of controversy of how VR is taking away the real experience of restaurants because everything is done virtually.

However, even if that is true, there are different ways restaurants can use virtual reality to give their customers a sensory feel without taking away from the actual restaurant experience. For example, diners are given VR headsets or menus to observe how their meal is prepped and what ingredients are used. In addition, restaurants can use VR to allow their customers to experience a futuristic journey in space while their meal is made.

When it comes to evolving technology and applications, the opportunities are limitless, and restaurants have full control on what they choose to do as the meta world continues to grow.

References:
  1. https://about.facebook.com/meta?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=paid-search&utm_campaign=metaverse&utm_content=post-launch
  2. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/infinite-scroll/we-already-live-in-facebooks-metaverse
  3. https://thespoon.tech/restaurants-welcome-to-the-metaverse/
  4. https://www.mghus.com/blog/restaurant-marketing-in-metas-metaverse
  5. https://findwords.info/term/sublimotion
  6. https://veebrant.com/sublimotion-ibiza/
  7. https://veebrant.com/sublimotion-ibiza/
  8. https://www.foodandwine.com/travel/restaurants/virtual-reality-tree-by-naked-tokyo-japan
  9. https://www.foodandwine.com/travel/restaurants/virtual-reality-tree-by-naked-tokyo-japan
  10. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/21/virtual-reality-dining-explained.html
  11. https://www.mghus.com/blog/restaurant-marketing-in-metas-metaverse
  12. https://www.mghus.com/blog/restaurant-marketing-in-metas-metaverse

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