As some restaurant brands look to get into virtual reality early, others are keeping their focus on a virtual community that already has a wide user base: Twitch. On Wednesday (Aug. 17), CKE, the parent company of quick-service restaurant (QSR) brands Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, announced a collaboration with the platform to enable Twitch streamers and viewers to create custom menu items.
“Although innovative collaborations are not new for our brands, we’re taking it to the next level with this fan-forward joint effort with Twitch,” CKE Restaurants Chief Brand Officer Chad Crawford said in a statement. “From our recent market transformation updates to new limited-time menu items, we’re always looking to hear from our guests on what to offer next. Now, we can instantly hear from them through the magic of the Twitch service.”
The news comes just days after Kellogg Co. announced its own food-centric Twitch effort Monday (Aug. 15), making the Frosted Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger a streamer on the platform.
Gaming and streaming platforms like Twitch, which already have a wide user base, may be a safer bet for food brands than some of their metaverse plays, which rely largely on the future of the technology. According to Twitch’s web portal for advertisers, the site has 31 million average daily visitors. In contrast, in February, Meta’s Horizon Worlds, home to QSR chain Wendy’s metaverse plays, confirmed to The Verge that it had 300,000 monthly users. The company has not offered a public update on the platform’s user base since.
Twitch also has the advantage of linking to many of consumers’ other digital routines through the platform’s parent company, Amazon. Consumers can make in-app purchases through their Amazon accounts, the same accounts through which they may make retail purchases, stream movies and TV shows and more.
On the other hand, there is certainly potential when it comes to the metaverse. According to data from the July edition of PYMNTS’ Digital Divide study, “Digital Divide: The Move to the Metaverse, created in collaboration with Paytronix, which drew from a May survey of roughly 2,700 United States consumers, nearly one in four have already used the metaverse or reported high interest in doing so.
Moreover, 54% of consumers who have already used the metaverse or have a high interest in doing so were “very or extremely interested” in integrating restaurant purchases into their metaverse experiences, and another 19% were somewhat interested.
On the restaurants’ side, interest in the metaverse is not dissimilar to their interest in other virtual communities. In fact, Wendy’s metaverse plays have been inspired by what the brand has seen on gaming and streaming platforms.
“While other brands may enter spaces and unnecessarily distract, disrupt or detract from the experience, we listen, learn and prepare to make sure we always show up to enhance and add value to every interaction with our fans,” Jimmy Bennett, vice president of media and social at The Wendy’s Company, told PYMNTS in an interview. “As we’ve seen this community rapidly expand on platforms like Twitch, Discord, TikTok and across multiple gaming verticals, we’re right there with them.”