USA – McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast-food restaurant chain, has applied for trademarks for virtual restaurants in the metaverse in preparation for a possible launch in the near future.  

The word Meta word was first coined in a dystopian 1992 novel and is today used to describe a “virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users”.  

As consumers move online, analysts at consultancy giant EY believe the metaverse has the potential to disrupt ‘almost everything in human life that has not yet already been disrupted’. 

This potential makes it an important consideration even by food companies whose products are tangible and require a physical interaction. 

“The buzzword of 2022 is going to be the metaverse,” said Jon Copestake, a senior analyst at EY’s Global Consumer group.  

“From an innovative technology perspective, food brands need to change the way they engage with consumers,” he explained. 

People ‘can’t eat digitally’, of course, but the metaverse opens up new channels of engagement which food companies can leverage to continue growing their  direct-to-consumer business model. 

McDonald’s, which has more than 39,000 locations in about 100 countries, wants to leverage that opportunity to deliver food in person and online.  

“You are hanging out in the metaverse and get hungry. You walk into a McDonald’s and place an order. It arrives at your door a little while later,” trademark lawyer Josh Gerben, tweeted together with descriptions of the trademarks. 

Trademarks for Virtual Restaurants

To secure its virtual reality presence, McDonald’s has  filed 10 applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office for the McDonald’s brand and McCafe. 

The trademarks show they are for “virtual food and beverage products”. Another describes it as “operating a virtual restaurant online featuring home delivery”.  

Other brand offshoots such as entertainment and events using the McDonald’s and McCafe names have been trademarked and include “online actual and virtual concerts”, the report said.  

Gerben in an interview with Forbes said that McDonald’s application was just the start and that he expected Gerben told Forbes “every brand that you can think of make these filings within the next 12 months.” 

“I don’t think anyone wants to be the next Blockbuster and just completely ignore a new technology that’s coming,” Gerben added.

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