Restaurants Are Now Entering the Metaverse

Plus, Gen Z overwhelmingly prefers to shop via augmented reality.

April 11, 2022

Chipotle Metaverse Burrito Builder

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Restaurants are testing the waters of the metaverse, reports the Wall Street Journal, while 92% of Gen Zers want to use augmented reality to purchase products.

Last year, Chipotle built a restaurant on Roblox’s gaming platform for a Halloween promotion, and the fast-casual restaurant is now launching a game and new virtual restaurant on the same platform. The restaurant looks like Chipotle’s original restaurant in Denver, and up to 100,000 players who successfully roll a virtual burrito in the game will earn “Burrito Bucks” good for real food at Chipotle restaurants in the real world.

Chipotle loyalty program members also can trade in their reward points for Roblox gift cards on Chipotle’s app or website, plus Chipotle is making a special burrito available for order in the app that includes ingredients voted on by Roblox users and others in a Twitter poll.

“This is a place we want to play,” said Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer at Chipotle, told the Journal. “We want to remain a leader here and we’ll continue to experiment without a doubt.”

Wendy’s recently opened a virtual restaurant in Horizon Worlds, the virtual reality game from Meta. Although user can’t buy virtual food there (or real food), they can play a basketball-themed game located near the restaurant. McDonald’s has reportedly filed patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that would allow it to open a virtual restaurant in the metaverse that would deliver food online and in person.

Ninety-two percent of Gen Z consumers want to shop for products via augmented reality (AR), according to a Snapchat survey, and more than half of Gen Z say they’d be more likely to pay attention to an ad that incorporates AR.

“This is part of a more general trend Gen Z is leading, where shopping is not only becoming more digital but also more interactive and personal,” reads the Snapchat report on the survey.

Gen Zers are more likely than millennials and Gen X to buy a product that they first experienced using AR, and 63% of Gen Z say that AR is going to make life easier. More than half of Gen Zers (60%) said that AR experiences feel more personal.

IRI research finds that Gen Z is 20% more likely to try new products and compare them with the brands or products they were currently using, and they’re faster to try new products and adopt them than other generations.

Here are Instagram’s predictions on what trends are up next for 2022, as defined by Gen Z.