Restaurants Canada, a national not-for-profit association that aims to advance the potential of Canada’s foodservice industry through member programs, research, advocacy, resources, and events, has announced it is developing the first metaverse marketplace for Canada’s foodservice industry.
The association has partnered with Toronto, ON-based augmented reality (AR), metaverse, and communications technology company Nextech AR Solutions to build 365 Marketplace. The platform creates a hybrid blend of virtual event space and international marketplace, with up to 5,000 virtual vendor profiles serving over 30,000 members. It aims to be a centre for e-commerce, using 3D augmented reality technology to showcase products, allowing members to interact at a higher level, noted Restaurants Canada.
“The 365 Marketplace brings the restaurant industry into the metaverse, providing a completely digital marketplace where 3D models and AR experiences, including holograms, can be utilized to connect buyers and sellers and provide a much more interactive experience than a traditional online marketplace,” said Paul Duffy, president and chairman of Nextech AR Solutions. “By partnering with Nextech, and employing Nextech’s ground-breaking technology, Restaurants Canada is showing they are pioneers in the Restaurant Industry and are setting the stage for how business will be conducted going forward and in the future. These are truly exciting times for the Canadian Food and Beverage Industry, and I am excited to see it all unfold.”
A major step forward for the foodservice and hospitality industry, the 365 Marketplace will be a global destination for food and restaurant professionals looking to connect and do business virtually with local and international sellers. The metaverse will be launched internationally at the RC Show 2022, a Canadian food service and hospitality event, taking place May 9-11, 2022.
“The 365 Marketplace offers a one-stop-resource for international communities to connect with the Canadian foodservice market, and vice-versa,” said Roy Little, interim president and chief executive officer, Restaurants Canada. “Our partnership with Nextech AR Solutions offers industry professionals the tools they need to help better serve the Canadian market and establish global connections. We look forward to bringing the virtual 365 Marketplace platform to the industry, to break down barriers and encourage business across borders as the global foodservice industry revives post-pandemic.”
In addition to, and complementing the 365 Marketplace, Restaurants Canada has also announced a content partnership with Toronto-based global market research agency, event organization, and innovation consultancy Trend Hunter, which will give access to insights, and research for the industry.
As part of the partnership, the platform will also host the first ‘Innovator Exchange,’ a program that brings together a select group of industry thought leaders within a think tank led by Trend Hunter. The program will tackle some of the issues impacting food service in Canada, highlight global trends, and provide tangible takeaways that will enable these leaders to create a positive and lasting impact on the restaurant industry, explained Restaurants Canada.