By Zane Tailor

The Impact of Virtual Reality

One of the great accomplishments to come out of the Information Technology boom is the ability to create worlds that can challenge reality and put the user at the center of it all. Since its advent, “Virtual Reality” or VR has come a long way and today, it truly showcases the graphical processing power of the modern computers. They have been able to produce immersive environments that are not only capable of mimicking reality itself but bring our imagination to life as well. It has mostly remained associated with standard applications, especially in the world of entertainment and research, but it has emerged to be prove to be a useful asset in other fields as well. One such field is the use of virtual reality in restaurants. To understand further how virtual reality can play a part in the restaurant industry, let’s explore its role from different perspectives.

How does it Benefit the Customer?

The biggest winner with use of VR is the customer as it would have the greatest impact on their experience. The customer is provided a more immersive experience that can allow them to get the best value out of every visit. A common complaint of the customer is that restaurants, at times, fail to replicate dishes as shown on pictures on the menu cards. With VR menus, they can actually see how any particular dish looks like in prepared form. They would also be able to view what variants of a particular dish is possible and how to best make use of add-ons to make the dining experience better. This is especially useful when trying something new and exotic as you may not be entirely aware of the best method of its consumption. Moreover, the access to the menu itself would become more dynamic and a customer can view their dishes of their choice with much more ease. Often, the customer finds it tedious to turn through each page of the menu card in search of their preferred type of cuisine. This is quite frequent in the scenario when there are a lot of options to choose from. With VR, the customer can avoid the hassle and can interact with the options in an efficient way.

“The biggest winner with use of VR is the customer”

Other Uses – Marketing

The presence of virtual reality is not purely restricted to improving the customer experience within the restaurant but can prove to be a great tool in spreading the word about a restaurant to the outside world as well. VR has the potential to be a great marketing tool for restaurants. It has been used by top brands such as Coca Cola to increase the outreach of their product and create the necessary buzz to capture the attention of their target audience. Restaurants can achieve a similar purpose as well. For instance, VR can be used to provide potential customers extensive virtual tours of the restaurant. They can get a vivid idea of the ambience of the restaurant along with familiarizing themselves with the ordering process. This way the customer has a clear expectation of what kind of environment and service they can expect. In general, VR can be used to create interactive online advertisements. Whether it is highlighting a particular dish or simply spreading the name of the restaurant itself, it can prove to be a viable choice for increasing the exposure to a larger audience.

Follow the links to view a sample VR Menu

VR Menu 1

VR Menu 2

Virtual reality can also prove to be beneficial for improving the standard of service within a restaurant. Virtual reality can be a valuable tool in training the staff of a particular restaurant. The new employee can be placed into an environment that they can expect to encounter on ta daily basis. Through VR, they can be given prompts and instructions by visually highlighting the next step and the functionality of the tools at hand. This can allow both the restaurant and the trainee to go through the learning process without creating any hindrance in regular operation. Both the customer and the restaurant would not have deal in the drop in efficiency of service as the new employee, after going through the VR training would be much better equipped to perform at the level expected of them. It has been noted that employees who went through VR training have much better retention of the process and face a smaller learning curve when they are being integrated with the staff.  This is a win-win situation for all parties involved and in the long run, can be highly beneficial for the restaurant industry as a whole.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to note that VR Videos do not have to be viewed through a headset. Restaurants can choose to give customers the option of choosing to opt in by headset or view through a smart device instead. Although the experience won’t be fully immersive, this will be beneficial for customers who are not yet comfortable with VR technology.

Looking ahead, VR can truly be a great asset for increasing the number customers for restaurants and the food industry collectively. The customer experience would completely change for the better by increasing their participation in the process. We can continue to expect new ways of implementing VR in restaurants especially when the results yielded back up the benefits. All in all, VR technology is truly capable of ushering a new era of how we view and interact with restaurants.