June 25, 2020
Coronavirus has, no doubt, made socializing much harder, but what will the food and restaurant industry look like in the coming months? So far, restaurants have moved towards having limited seating and outdoor options continuously available in hopes that they can keep the virus from spreading at a higher rate. This seems like a simple solution but with states like Texas and Florida opening and that leading to a larger number of cases, it is clear that more things have to be done in order to promise the safety of consumers at their favorite dining spots.
Menus are undoubtedly one of the largest risks in the restaurant environment. While disposable menus are far and wide, they don’t do much to help the world’s environmental efforts. Recyclable paper menus are also quite wasteful when it can be assumed that most, if not all adults visiting restaurants have a mobile device. These options are not only wasteful, in terms of the environment, but are wasteful in terms of money. If a restaurant has WiFi open to the public, why not give them a reason to use it while also keeping people safe.
Quick Response (QR) code menu are being seen as one of the best ways to reduce risks and cross contamination among restaurant visitors. This is probably why the interest in QR codes is making a comeback. All it requires is a smartphone that is capable of reading QR codes or an app on the smartphone that allows for that. The user would point their phone at the code printed on a paper — possibly one attached as a sticker to the table and the phone would open to a specific link programmed in by the creator. In the case of restaurants, the QR code would simply take the user to the menu, but the possibilities of this can be pushed. The rising interest in QR Codes means that there is an overall interest in using technology as a resource and tool to interact with our current world in a safer and more convenient manner.
The usage of QR codes can be used in more than a few ways, one being a way to enter a site that can display not only the images of the food, but actually augment the food on the table. One of the larger issues in some of the most popular restaurants is that customers sometimes feel like they don’t know what they’re ordering or that the image of the food was misleading. This could be a huge advantage for a restaurant that decides to take those first steps. It opens the doors to restaurants who value honesty and being public with their decisions from fair-trade goods to responsibly sourced meat.
One of the easiest ways to implement Augmented Reality in the food industry is to find a company that offers augmented reality and virtual reality services, set up a food image database with the names and ingredients of the food, and get it rolling. ARSOME Technology is a good example of a company that has the ability to create a site like this. Past work by ARSOME include bringing characters to life (like the students of Tolerance Tykes), a cross-platform educational game app, and even an augmented reality scavenger hunt.
Example of real food being brought to life by ARSOME Technology
An Augmented/virtual reality company that has a diverse portfolio is the best option because it allows the restaurant owner to not only be specific about wants, but it allows for complex updates to be included, or even the building of an app specifically tied to that restaurant. AR can also go past popping food up in front of you. It can make waiting at the table a better experience due to interactive games, and even keep fussy kids preoccupied on a rough night.
Augmented reality can also bring the marketing of your restaurant to the next level. If possible customers have a realistic way to view the food before buying it, they’ll be more inclined to buy it. You may wonder why not just look at images online for the food, and again it comes down to trust. If a consumer can’t trust your restaurant, starting with some of your images, they will not eat there. This is a larger issue for ordering take-out or delivery where sometimes customers are just taking a gamble after looking through reviews and loosely dispersed images on Grubhub, Yelp, or whatever site they choose to order from. If they order and it’s not what they want, doesn’t look appetizing, and was made off a feeling, chances are they won’t order from that restaurant again.
When our gut feelings are wrong, it’s fair to say we avoid having those feelings again and therefore avoid whatever brought on those feelings. By getting your customers closer to your food, and possibly even your messaging through Augmented Reality, you give customers a fun experience, and build a trustworthy environment centered on your business. At the end of the day, restaurant owners need to make a decision on what they value more — being trustworthy or ‘looking’ perfect.
Interested in bringing Augmented Reality to your restaurant or food business? Visit ARSOME.com and schedule a consultation to discuss the options.
ARSOME Technology is an Augmented & Virtual Reality company based in Manchester, Connecticut. ARSOME Technology is a highly established and driven company that works for and with companies interested in bringing an AR, VR, or Mixed Reality experience to their businesses.