As more restaurant brands stake a claim in the metaverse, a new survey indicates the customers most likely to deal on the emerging platform are younger than typical and especially interesting in grab-and-go purchases.
About 18% of restaurant customers already participate in the metaverse, according to an April survey of 2,496 consumers, and 38% of those who already participate in the metaverse — or are interested in it — would be willing to integrate restaurant purchases into the virtual reality environment, including a majority of grab-and-go customers.
Newton, Mass.-based Paytronix Systems Inc. and Boston-based PYMNTS conducted the survey of U.S. consumers April 6-12, and produced a downloadable report, “The Digital Divide: Technology, The Metaverse and the Future of Dining Out.” The companies said respondents’ average age was 48, 52% were female and 36% earned more than $100,000 a year.
The survey, which examined consumer relationships with restaurant technologies and views, attitudes toward digital food ordering trends and virtual reality in the restaurant context, also found:
- 20% of restaurant consumers are familiar with the metaverse.
- 34% of Millennials (aged 26-41 and born between 1981-1996) and 27% of Gen Z (aged 10-25 and born between 1997 and 2012) have already participated in the metaverse.
- 38% of consumers who already participate in the metaverse would be willing to integrate restaurant purchases into the environment.
“The media landscape is already scattered, creating a massive fight for attention,” said Michelle Tempesta, Paytronix chief marketing officer, in a statement. “Brands are vying for spots on Google search, in Facebook feeds, on Apple screens and on any of dozens of different social sites. The metaverse represents the next battleground.”
Restaurant brands ranging from Newport Beach, Calif.-based Chipotle Mexican Grill to Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy’s Co. have staked real estate in metaverse properties.
“Loyalty programs open a direct line of communication between brands and customers that only continues to grow in importance,” Tempesta added. “Customers want to maintain a strong relationship with their favorite brands, regardless of where that happens.”
For brick-and-mortar locations, the survey indicated a majority of current customers found a friendly waitstaff and staff continuity at their favorite eateries remained some of the most important factors that keep them returning. More than 33% of consumers said that friendliness is the most important thing a restaurant can provide, and nearly 75% said that seeing the same staff every time they visit a restaurant positively influenced their experience.
Regarding the metaverse specifically, the survey found:
- 33% of grab-and-go customers were very or extremely familiar with the metaverse, more than double the share of either dine-in or either-or customers.
- 40% of Gen Z respondents said they were very familiar with the metaverse, although they did not lead all generations in metaverse participation.
- 34% of Millennials had participated in a metaverse environment. Paytronix said this may have to do with the generation’s spending power, as consumers who earn more than $100,000 annually were more likely than those of other income brackets to have participated in a metaverse environment.
- The 21% of consumers who said they were not interested in buying food in the metaverse were either not interested because they were unfamiliar or believed the metaverse was complicated.
Paytronix provides software-as-a-service customer experience management solutions for restaurants and convenience stores. It integrates with point-of-sale systems and works with more than 1,800 brands across 34,000 locations.
Update June 22, 2022: This story has been edited to correct the spelling of Paytronix.
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