A Virtual Restaurant is a restaurant that comprises a full menu but lacks its own space. These menus only appear on websites like Grubhub and solely for delivery. Virtual Restaurants often share a kitchen with another business to cook their food. These are primarily partnerships, but nowadays, more and more restaurants themselves want to search for new vibrant flavors, creating a whole new menu only made available online and cooking the food in the same space.

One of the best examples is the local mom-and-pop Italian restaurant–Antonio’s–whose chef, Antonio, makes the most delicious Korean-infused tacos. Antonio might create a virtual restaurant online to sell off those delightful and juicy tacos under Korean Kimchi Tacos.

A virtual restaurant order is also set in various buildings, such as a physical restaurant (i.e., Antonio’s) producing a different, virtual concept. A refectory area that’s not a restaurant, just a production kitchen, is a converted warehouse or an undistinguished building. These may also be called Ghost Kitchens, Pop-Up Kitchens, Pop-Up Virtual Restaurants, Cloud Kitchens, Shared Kitchens, etc.



If you get an order for a virtual restaurant, the order will have the name of the virtual restaurant on the order receipt, but there will be absolutely no sign projecting outside of a restaurant with this name, nor is it likely to be on a map. And so you need to look for the directions or read the pickup instructions carefully. These instructions will only tell you exactly where to pick up the food, and if you don’t look through it carefully, you will search all day long.

There have been non-stop attempts by today’s generations to uplift and improve the dining experience. But there is a question that remains constant:

Can new technologies like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality create the dining experience better?

You will get the answer by the end of this article. These two technologies, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality took almost everything from Multinational companies to small entrepreneurship.

The Food Industry is one of those where Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are making massive progress in defining a procedure for themselves. Nowadays, Virtual Reality is no longer a fantasy and not at all costly to experience. 

Let’s take an insight into some ideas that have been launched to date.

  • These days, Virtual Reality headset has transformed both the dining and restaurant experience. You can carry yourself to a very different location, like a flower garden. You can easily switch to an underwater scene wherein fish and sea creatures swim around you. Moreover, the idea of imagining an exotic location will be excellent as long as it doesn’t lead to simulated drowning. 
  • This is a meal solely based upon many sensory inputs drawn from the visuals, scents, textures, flavors, auditory, and food consistency we all consume. These flavors and surfaces are coupled with virtual reality to bring the Virtual Dining Experience with auditory sensation and aromatic diffusion. One aspect to consider is that we can’t see the table we eat with a Virtual Reality Headset. This may lead to specific difficulties.


Virtual Reality Restaurant is a highly-priced novelty. It costs as much as $2,000 — however it does have the possibility of creating a new form of food experience. If VR technology is embraced more openly, it will become a better part of developing memorable and profitable food experiences and a tech-based supply of addressing health or fitness issues in society. As the coronavirus creates a global “social distancing” phenomenon, which includes developed countries with more aged populations, and a more significant number of men and women turning to food delivery, VR could end up helping tackle isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

For many years Virtual Reality (VR) has belonged strictly in the future. We would study the technology in books, find out it’s doable in futuristic movies, and wonder at scientific articles about its possible applications. This all changed in the previous few years, as Oculus VR developed its VR headset and launched it in March 2016. Even though technology has slowly entered our day-to-day lives, we can now use it for games, academic purposes, or even scientific purposes such as PTSD therapy. As the technology is often primarily based on developing visuals, in the previous few years, human beings have questioned if it can be adopted in the food and drink industry, one place where senses such as taste, smell, and touch are of integral importance. As it turns out, it is viable, and these agencies are leading the way of innovation.



One of the most exciting uses of virtual reality for the food industry is creating culinary experiences, currently championed by Project Nourishing. Using cutting-edge technology, the Los Angeles-based company can recreate the dining experience by stealing sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch, thereby fooling your senses. People make them believe that the “fake” food they eat is a good meal. It works by combining an aroma diffuser, a VR headset, and a bone conduction transducer (a device that mimics chewing sounds transmitted from a diner’s mouth to the eardrum through soft tissues and bones). A 3D-printed gyro and tasteless food. Essentially, restaurants will enjoy any meal of their choice at any location they choose, such as sushi in Japan or steak in Argentina. 



By combining the physics of molecular gastronomy with virtual reality, Project Nourishing allows diners to enjoy any food they want in a whole new way. Since “fake” foods can be prepared without calories, allergens, or unique ingredients, the experience doesn’t need to be concerned with calories or related health problems or needs. As a result, the technology has many exciting applications, ranging from weight loss, food therapy, allergy and diabetes management, childhood food addiction, alternative reality food services, and virtual food tourism. It could even be used as a food substitute for astronauts or individuals on spacecraft, allowing them to enjoy different cuisines while traveling in space without preparing or ever cooking.

Another company working on the development of virtual reality food experiences is Perception Fixe, 


It is billed as the first virtual reality food blog. Traditional users will be able to interact with food through 3D modeling, and those with VR headsets will enjoy a much more immersive experience. 

The company hopes its technology can take people to isolated restaurants that have been booked in the next few months or learn how to cook a dish live. In doing so, Fixed Perception now focuses only on visual images and not on other senses, such as taste or smell, or feel.

 VR headsets


Another approach is taken by a research project led by researchers from Japan and the University of Singapore, who tested how electrical and thermal probes can simulate the authentic taste and trick the brain into thinking that tasting food is not there. 

  • The scientists experimented with excitatory neurons that respond to temperature to see how it affects human tastes. For some people, quickly heating and cooling the tip of their tongue produces sweetness, while for others, it produces a spicy or minty taste. 
  • Scientists have also experimented with electric currents to create a salty, sour, or bitter taste in someone’s mouth. As technology improves and researchers can recreate flavor combinations that reflect the ingredients of a particular dish, it creates an incredible virtual experience when combined with Virtual Reality.


Another utility of Virtual Reality in the food and drinks industry is marketing or advertising, as it presents a particular way for groups to engage and connect with their customers. Rather than just feeding visuals to the customers to promote their products and increase their sales. Businesses can plan virtual experiences and put across the values they signify and, as a consequence, convey the brand message powerfully and convincingly.



Patron is one of the businesses that decided to adopt this strategy and created a digital fact experience, which conveys the manufacturing technique of their tequila from the viewpoint of a bee. It starts from the pollination of the cactus to the final levels of production. By creating such a rich and appealing experience, Patron now commands the trust of all its customers and partners. It has a genuine interest in its products. A virtual reality experience leaves a long-lasting effect on its customers and allows the business to connect and engage more often with them successfully than by using ordinary advertising and marketing tools and techniques.



Another example is a Virtual Reality campaign designed by Wolf in Motion for Glenfiddich. As described through an article posted on The Drum, “The Virtual reality experience will make sure users are transported to Glenfiddich’s Warehouse 8 in Dufftown, Scotland and on reaching there, they will be surrounded with the aid of casks and stand in the front of three Solera Vats. 

Users will be able to choose a vat and enter the world of that expression, where they can write their notes in the air, with the brushes they write with a ribbon impact that fits the colorations and aesthetic.” This whole trip allows Glenfiddich to engage and connect with its clients uniquely and memorably and provide them a way to pour out their emotions and impressions about the whiskey in a new way.



As Virtual Reality solutions for the food and drink enterprise usually are still in the development phase, Augmented Reality (AR) ones have already been delivered to our plates. As its title suggests, in contrast to VR, AR does not alter the actuality; however, it adds an extra flavor to a computer-generated layer to what already exists, such as sounds, imagery, or GPS records.

Although Augmented Reality can’t be used as extensively as Virtual Reality to create immersive experiences, it can be used for restaurant and bar marketing to beautify client experience.



It’s an app that lets customers see digital 3D food on their desk in-restaurant when ordering their food. In addition to the imagery, the app additionally contains statistics about the component size, ingredients, and calories, ensuring patron satisfaction. 

The agency adds that the app also affords an “exceptional up-sell opportunity for displaying most important dishes served along with drinks, aspect dishes, and dessert combinations,” encouraging the restaurant and bar clients to entire their order.

 A comparable science is used in London’s City Social; guests order a drink, scan the barcode on their glow-in-the-dark coaster, and wait a few seconds to see animated creatures leap out from at the back of a virtual glass or artwork to appear in the background.



Augmented Reality technology has also been adopted by many websites and companies wanting to provide an exclusive and appealing experience to their customers. Other websites which rely on Augmented reality experience are Yelp or TimeOut, which uses a combination of the smartphone’s camera, geolocation, and compass to convey facts to its users. For instance, the TimeOut Bar Guide compiles data about bars with drink specials and offers them on a map, helping clients to layout their evenings.


Since most virtual reality solutions for the food and beverage industry are still under development, no one can predict 100% of how people consume and interact with food and beverages will change. In their current form, these technologies have brought great hope to the industry, businesses, and companies in accessible, innovative, and revolutionary solutions that will change the way individuals interact with food. All we can do now is patiently wait a bit to see where Virtual Reality takes us. 


The restaurant industry is increasingly using augmented reality to complement and enhance the dining experience. In addition to allowing foreign travelers to order meals with confidence, AR applications are also reshaping all aspects of the restaurant industry. From the ordering process, employee training to entertainment activities, augmented reality, making the food world much more exciting and better.


Throughout the world, restaurants are using virtual demonstrations to attract new customers, engage with targeted customers, promote menus and sell other products.

The fast and casual burger chain Bareburger is an example. They partnered with a technology startup called QReal, formerly known as Kabaq, to redesign their menus and create unique experiences. 

Alper Guler, the founder of QReal, discovered the need for Augmented Reality in the restaurant industry when he was dating a friend who was not familiar with Turkish cuisine. Since then, he has realized the potential of 3D technology to create ultra-realistic menus for such guests. 


QReal created a Snapchat filter to show customers an immersive virtual experience of their dishes, thus enhancing the Bareburger menu. Diners only need to scan the QR code with Snapchat to see the virtual menu. From there, guests can rotate to improve menu items and have a good understanding of the appearance of the dishes. 

The menu with realistic 3D food images will undoubtedly enhance the guest experience and improve the flow of meals. However, this is not the only part of the catering business that can benefit from augmented reality features. Ordering takeout is another matter. For some people, ordering takeout takes some guesswork. However, with the help of augmented reality technology, consumers can begin to make better purchasing decisions. 



Niantic’s “Pokémon Go” demonstrates how much people love to play virtual scavenger hunts in the real world. Perhaps the catering industry can one day use this advantage to create a new source of income for enterprises. Tablet, computers, and board games in restaurant environments are nothing new. Many people do this in casual restaurants. 

For example, Chipotle has an app called The Scarecrow, which was developed to entertain customers and educate them on how to get ingredients. Of course, they reward the guests who complete the level. Today, restaurants are using augmented reality to take the customer experience to a whole new level. AR helps them improve the brand experience and promote their claims to consumers. 


  • Like any other industry, restaurants can use augmented reality technology to train employees effectively. AR-based training programs allow employees to integrate theory and applications. 
  • By using AR-enabled devices, employees can view their training materials and put them into practice. This makes the learning curve smoother and shorter. Embracing augmented reality will help brands reduce some training costs and focus on delivering the best quality training. 
  • Augmented reality will change our perception of restaurants. As the world increasingly adapts to this technology, we should see more people requesting this technology at their favorite restaurants. There is still a lot to do and explore before AR takes over the restaurant. Currently, all we can do is wait and hope that tech-savvy restaurant owners can use this technology. 

AR/VR Challenges in the Catering Industry 

If there is no challenge, there will be no victory! However, AR\/VR has some challenges in the catering industry, and these challenges will be solved over time. Immersive technologies are prevalent in business, healthcare, and manufacturing, although every sector faces small challenges in implementing them. However, it will take 5 to 10 years for this technology to mature. The story is the same for the catering industry, and it will take some time to enter the catering industry fully. 


First of all, the biggest challenge for restaurants to adopt technology is to design the user experience properly. Famous restaurateurs can afford it, although it is a bit expensive for many small and medium-sized restaurateurs. 



Another challenge is the lack of skills, and there are very few people who master this design skill. Since this technology is new, you will face this problem after some time. 


Although AR\/VR is available to consumers, and they can purchase through Sony PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR, and other devices, to name a few, some essential elements still need to be combined. They are; 

Convenience and control

Convenience: Convenience is related to two things: one is usability and accessibility. Because of the high cost and complex functions of restaurant employees’ free operation, people cannot make many decisions and cannot get them. People who visit the restaurant should be trained on how to operate. Some people may know the use of technology, while others need help. 

Control: Control is directed at the agent. This means that not all virtual reality devices can provide everything that virtual reality expects. For example, some methods lack movement and gesture control. For restaurant departments that require functions, it may cause noise for some customers.

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