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Panera, restaurants to step into the metaverse

Panera Bread announced its plans to join the metaverse with a virtual restaurant that takes orders for real-life delivery. The bakery submitted a trademark application for “Paneraverse” to prepare for its virtual restaurant and café openings, trademark attorney Josh Gerben shared on social media. Orders can be placed via food delivery apps using nun-fungible tokens (NFTs) as virtual currency.

Panera Bread’s Chief Digital Officer George Hanson told The Block that “Panera is always working to be at the forefront of tech advancement — as a brand we are consistently looking for new ways to better our guest experience, whether in our cafes or in the metaverse.”

McDonalds is also headed in this direction. The QSR restaurant recently unveiled its first NFT to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the McRib. These are limited-edition digital collectibles featuring the sandwich that are given away to select fans beginning Nov. 1, as the McRib returns to participating restaurants throughout the US. McDonalds also submitted a trademark application with a similar strategy to Panera’s, to “operate a virtual restaurant featuring actual and virtual goods, operating a virtual restaurant online featuring home delivery,” Gerben quoted the request.

Products are already joining the NFT trend as well: an exclusive donut NFT was designed as digital art at the initiative of Ströck bakery in Vienna in cooperation with the advertising agency Ogilvy Vienna and the culture project CryptoWiener. The NFTs, which are limited to 30 pieces, are now being raffled off as part of a competition on thefluffykrapfenclub. Any fee income goes to the SOS Children’s Village. Ströck had submitted the application for an Austrian donut emoji 2020 to the US Unicode Consortium.