There’s a whole mountain of opportunities ahead of the F&B sector in adopting AR and VR.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have taken over almost every industry from large multinational corporations like IKEA and Walmart to startups like Avametric and VirtualSpaces. Businesses are utilizing AR and VR for employee training, delivering rich customer experience, and of course, marketing and advertising.
The food industry is one such industry where AR and VR are in progress to make their way through. It has been quite some time that the F&B sector has known the potential of these emerging technologies and understood how it would affect their business.
But since the initial development costs are higher, only a few companies and restaurants have been successfully utilizing Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to boost their business.
So far, the concentration of Augmented and Virtual Reality development has been seen in three major areas i.e., customer experiences, human resources, and food product display. But there is still a mountain of opportunities ahead for the F&B industry in adopting AR and VR in their business.
Human training has become one of the key applications of Virtual Reality. VR is leveraged by medical institutions to train students, manufacturers to train their staff, enterprises to train their employees, and more. Similarly, food service providers can use Virtual Reality to train their employees so that they can work more effectively in their “to-be” job. For example, it can help chefs to cook your distinctive cuisine, or help the staff to operate complex machines.
On the other hand, Augmented Reality can be used to provide support to employees. For example, AR can help employees to estimate the portion sizes. AR headsets help equipment maintenance technicians to disassemble and reassemble various equipment that is being used in a restaurant.
Small businesses aren’t yet implementing these techniques, but as the technology grows the implementation will become cheaper, and the owners will be ready to take the risk.
Let's face it; everyone hates to wait at the restaurant. It is indeed the number one reason why a customer will not revisit your restaurant. Putting a VR headset on every table, which would allow customers to dive into another world while their food is being prepared, can immensely increase the customer experience.
But if you don't have a budget, you can also develop an app that will help you engage with your customers by delivering an AR experience.
The whole idea behind “Experiential Marketing” was to make customers “Experience” the product that they are going to buy. There was a time when a tagline used to define a brand such as “RedBull - It gives you wings!.”
Gunn Beer provides its visitors with an immersive view via VR headsets while customers taste its beer. Patron tequila uses 360-degree VR to showcase its making process. Even restaurants such as Baptise and Bottle in Chicago allow a customer to dine at virtually anywhere in the world using a VR headset.
Because of increased health risks, the customers are becoming more and more health-conscious. Today, a customer wants to know everything about a dish rather than merely its name, for example, its calorie content, ingredients, etc.
If you have a considerable number of cuisines to offer your customers, it is impossible to show all this information using a traditional menu. An augmented reality-based menu can surely help. Using an AR app, a customer can go through all the information related to a dish by selecting it.
Companies who sell daily foods such as cereals can create a great communication channel for their brand. Nestle printed AR-based markers on its cereal boxes, which would enable customers to play an AR game featuring characters from the movie “Rio.” In this game, the players have to feed the bird by using their hands to fill the bowl.
Retail giant Walmart and grocery giant Kraft joined hands to create AR-based labels. By scanning these labels, customers will get various recipes and tips to cook food using Kraft products. NYC-based burger chain Bareburger and a bakery named Magnolia have partnered with an AR startup Kabaq to transform their traditional menu into 3D models of their product.
The AR-based menu has helped them achieve customer success. Two of the leading beverage giants Coca-Cola and Treasury Wine Estates have also implemented AR to engage with their customers.
AR is still at a beginner stage in the F&B sector. Faster the customers adopt AR and VR, the quicker its roots grow in this industry. Similar to how social media marketing has become a "must-have" for any business, Virtual and Augmented Reality mobile app development will also have the same fate.
But that isn't going to happen overnight; it will require the support of developers, managers, marketers, and content creators to make AR and VR accessible for every individual in the world.