VR and AR technology have a myriad of uses in industries that you may not expect. While you may be thinking “why would I put on a VR headset while having dinner with my family?”, the food industry has many interesting consumer- and employee-facing applications. Let’s get into 3 areas with a lot of potential:
Interior design is an industry ripe for a VR takeover. Visualizing interiors through a headset is a lot easier than using your imagination, as well as being way more convenient than building physical models. Also, showing a customer or stakeholder a drawing or floorplan is very different from showing them the a simulation of the interior in VR.
The restaurant business is fairly difficult to succeed in, so nailing aspects of the business such as design, layout, space, and employee efficiency is important. Rapid prototyping, design changes, and color testing is much easier and cheaper to do through VR headsets and software than it is to get new furniture for something as simple as a color change. With these increases in convenience and decreases in cost, your restaurant can optimize minute details of the interior with little issue. If you decide to do market research or if you want to focus group floor plans and table designs, there is no better way than using VR.
ShopperMX is an example of this idea in a retail or grocery store setting. Users can move around furniture, fixtures and change the color and design of various elements.
Training is a high-demand segment of VR, with many companies already investing in their own programs. Whether showing employees their workplace and culture, or training them on fairly complicated tasks, companies have been using VR to great effect.
The restaurant industry has extremely high turnover; second among all industries. With retention being such an issue, using VR training games has helped chains like Honeygrow keep their employees, and appear more advanced than the competition. VR has huge potential in educating employees on the culture, keeping them interested and satisfied with their employers, while also having improvements in knowledge retention as compared to traditional training.
VR training has been shown to be significantly more effective than traditional training while being cheaper. Some of the earliest uses of VR training were in the medical field where instead of performing surgeries on real or makeshift subjects, students could practice virtually. This and many other similar VR studies have shown that workers have improved performance. Right now, the uses of VR training at have ranged from educating KFC employees on the chicken frying process, to training aircraft engineers on putting together airplane parts in the correct order.
With such a wide variety of training applications, VR can be used to train many disparate roles in restaurants. For example, line order cooks can learn the steps of cooking items, while servers can learn how to interact with customers in difficult circumstances.
KFC uses a VR app called “The Hard Way” to teach employees about the process of making KFC chicken.
As an example of more advanced training, EON Reality is one of many companies to create a VR flight maintenance training and simulation program. Made with subject matter experts, users have the same pre-flight checklists as real flight maintenance engineers. In addition, this can be done with several different models of plane, significantly reducing the cost of training employees on different types of planes.
Several companies have experimented with using AR to engage and excite customers. When inside a restaurant, companies like Culver’s have customers play AR games for an entry into their holiday sweepstakes. During the promotion, Culver’s app downloads increased by 435%. Outside of a restaurant, apps like KabaQ allow customers to visualize meal items on a table to see both the aesthetic appearance, as well as the size of the item. Both of these methods improve customer engagement, and make them more likely to return to the restaurant.
Further than that however, these apps and promotions make your brand more playful and fun. When it comes to engaging both customers and employees, AR games can allow everyone to join in the fun, for little cost to the company beyond creating the app.
Using KabaQ you can visualize the size and look of food items easily through your smartphone.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt introduced a mobile app that brought coloring pages to life in AR. This app resulted in hundreds of fans engaging with the brand as well as raising over $17,000 for charity.
As seen in the examples, VR and AR content can be used to improve many aspects of a business, from training to design. These come with the dual benefit of being fun and interesting, as well as being a cost saver in many respects. If you’re looking to improve your restaurant metrics, then look into incorporating VR and AR into your business.