The word metaverse barged into our daily lives a year ago and managed to become one of the most popular words of 2021. And then it’s all a blur — Decentraland, The Sandbox, Fortnite, Roblox, Star Atlas and many more virtual environments, metaverse real estate priced at tens of thousands of dollars, fashion shows with virtual avatars, Oculus Quest 2, HoloLens. The rapid development of the metaverse and the growing consumption of immersive tech make every business owner ask themself, “How can we be integrated into this changing world?” and “Do we have to do it?”
As the founder and CEO of a technology company working with AR for eight years, I’d like to discuss augmented reality technology from the point of view of business applicability. I have created a series of materials to share in-depth experiences, inspiring examples and useful insights in the spheres where the application of augmented reality is not so obvious at this point.
In this article, I’ll focus on the restaurant business, where I regularly see excellent AR projects launched. I’d like to expand the list of existing ideas, projects and possibilities that we may see in three, five or 10 years in the hopes of giving inspiration to daring restaurant owners.
Experiences That Can Be Launched Today
It is not necessary to wait for the launch of mass production of augmented reality glasses in order to realize these ideas. The possibilities of modern smartphones allow you to run AR wherever there is internet. You can use thousands of apps with AR or create your own projects.
• Interactive AR Menu: Modern restaurants can surprise their customers with an AR menu. The menu can be easily translated into any language. Meals on the menu can be previewed life-size in 3-D, and customers may see them from every angle or even break them down into individual ingredients.
• AR Nutritionist: With this feature, the customers can not only be delighted to see their meal before they order it but also learn about its ingredients, nutrients and allergy warnings.
• AR Assistant: A 3-D model of a waiter, chef or restaurant mascot will come to life in front of your customers to present them with the meals on the menu and help them pick something to their taste.
Experiences After The Launch Of Mass Market Augmented Reality Glasses
Start thinking now about what you would be able to offer your guests tomorrow. This is an unbelievable time — the infrastructure for the future use of AR is actively being built, and people are developing a habit of using new immersive technologies. You can prepare now by running simple functionality with AR, so when the AR glasses come in, you already have a project ready. And most importantly, your guests would already be used to it.
• AR Companion: Now, any historical or fictional character can become your companion. They can tell you a joke, share some wisdom, tell you about the best deals or give you a weather forecast for the weekend.
• AR Show: It’s not always possible to see your favorite band play live, but it is possible to create their digital copy and enjoy the show from the comfort of your home. Back in the day, only the richest people could afford to invite celebrities into their homes. Now you can do it too!
Creative Possibilities For The Restaurant Industry
• A Cooking Session With The Chef: Get rid of the language barriers, borders and questionable workshops. Cook like a real master of the culinary arts. This feature may be used not only to entertain customers but also to train restaurant employees.
• Culinary Arts Museum: Create your own culinary arts museum in augmented reality to share exciting stories and legends with your customers, let them see 3-D replicas of famous meals, interactive display items and much more.
The Show Must Go On
Restaurants are not just about delicious food. They are also about the atmosphere, the socializing, the status and traditions. They’re about feeling new emotions and experiences. They’re about show. That’s why it’s important to surprise and inspire guests.
You can already use AR technology not only to set the mood but also to help your customers. Use it for marketing by adding the necessary information such as links to your website and your social media, as well as an interactive entertainment experience to all of your materials — from leaflets and brochures to branded tissues and cups.
Facing Obstacles In AR
In this article, I’ve showcased only some applications of augmented reality for the restaurant business. Many of these ideas can be applied today. However, I would emphasize the fact that many people don’t know the full functionality of augmented reality today. Some people are waiting for the launch of a production model of augmented reality glasses for it to really “take off,” others have faced high prices from development studios and still believe that AR is only for big and established brands.
When Tomorrow Will Become Reality
We often tend to forget an important thing — the future is already here.
This new world doesn’t yet have laws or rules limiting your creativity and business activity. There may be little competition now, but I expect it will grow. And when it does, it won’t be the strongest one who wins. It will be the one who manages to get the client’s attention and give them new emotions first.
Be inventive. Be smart. Be daring. Let the new technology help you find new ways and solutions.
Image generated by DEVAR neural network