Wendy’s initial metaverse efforts have yielded positive results for the quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain, given that the company is stepping up its virtual efforts.
The company announced an expansion of this initiative Wednesday (June 15), a new branded experience in Meta’s Horizon Worlds called Sunrise City. According to a statement from the brand published in The Drum, the virtual space is designed as “a breakfast-lover’s playground, complete with a breakfast-themed obstacle course.”
“New world just dropped on Horizon Worlds,” the QSR tweeted Wednesday. “Get a free breakfast sandwich with any purchase and hop into Sunrise City.”
The brand’s first two Horizon Worlds metaverse spaces debuted in early April, collectively dubbed The Wendyverse. The offerings included Wendyverse Town Square Central, which includes a virtual restaurant space and an outdoor area, and the Wendyverse Partnership Plaza, which offers a virtual basketball court at “The Buck BiscuitDome.”
Related news: Wendy’s Opens Virtual Restaurant in Meta’s Metaverse
“After driving thousands of Meta Horizon Worlds’ users online to shoot some virtual biscuit hoops and generating more than 650 million media impressions, it’s safe to say we successfully broke through with ‘Wendyverse,’” Carl Loredo, Chief Marketing Officer at Wendy’s, said in an interview posted on Meta’s blog Friday (June 10) spotted by Nation’s Restaurant News.
Kraft Plans Metaverse Restaurant(s) for Seven of Its Food Brands
Wendy’s is far from the only major food and beverage (F&B) business looking to make its offerings available to diners in the metaverse.
Kraft Foods filed a series of trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) earlier in the month, covering a range of digital assets for seven of its food brands—Kraft, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, Velveeta, Lunchables, Oscar Meyer and Philadelphia — as was highlighted by USPTO licensed trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis on Twitter on Sunday (June 12).
All seven trademark applications included in their description the provision of “online virtual restaurants and food and drink items for use in virtual environments,” “online virtual restaurant where users can earn reward points and virtual currency which may be used to purchase food and beverages in the real or virtual world,” “online actual and virtual events,” “online video games” and “online non-downloadable software featuring non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other virtual goods.”
Research from the May/June edition of PYMNTS’ and Paytronix’s Digital Divide series, The Digital Divide: Technology, The Metaverse And The Future Of Dining Out, reveals that 18% of restaurant customers have participated in a metaverse environment.
Additionally, the study, which drew from an April survey of nearly 2,500 U.S. adults who regularly purchase food from restaurants, notes that 38% of restaurant customers reported that they are “very” or “extremely” interested in integrating restaurant purchases into the metaverse.
DoorDash Boosts Discovery and Ratings Features to Drive Engagement
As food aggregators compete to set their marketplaces apart, DoorDash announced Monday (June 13) the launch of new features meant to improve the restaurant-finding experience. These features include “most liked” tags for menu items, the option to write and read customer reviews, curated top 10 lists and a “Most Loved All Stars” list for the most popular restaurants.
“We’re always thinking about how we can make the shopping experience even more frictionless and relevant for our customers,” Helena Seo, Head of Design at DoorDash, said in a statement. “With the launch of the Most Liked Items feature, we’re saving consumers over 400,000 hours annually, reducing decision fatigue when deciding what to order. We’re excited for consumers to find the delight in discovering new restaurants and dishes, trusted and loved by locals.”
Almost one in four consumers purchases from DoorDash each month, according to research from the March/April edition of PYMNTS’ Digital Divide series, “The Digital Divide: Regional Variations in U.S. Food Ordering Trends and Digital Adoption,” which drew from a survey of more than 2,500 United States adults in February. The study found that 32% had used an aggregator in the previous 30 days, and of those, 71% had purchased from DoorDash, suggesting that 23% of consumers order from the aggregator in a given month.
Subway Tests Out Vending Machines
As restaurants struggle with a challenging labor market, the vending machine model is one trend that is gaining popularity for its ability to drive sales without requiring a human server.
Quick-service restaurant (QSR) sandwich giant Subway, for its part, is testing grab-and-go coolers from which consumers can purchase ready-made sandwiches, as Trevor Haynes, president of Subway’s North American operations, told Restaurant Business in an interview for the outlet’s “A Deeper Dive” podcast.
“There is business to be had there,” he said.
Reddit users have been posting videos of these vending machines already in operation, Mashed observed, one in Singapore and another in an unnamed location.