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Do you remember when brands launched their first products in Second Life, or Fortnite? We’re at one of those moments again as Chipotle Mexican Grill is launching a new menu item for the first time in the metaverse.
The Newport Beach, California-based restaurant chain is making its Garlic Guajillo Steak available exclusively to Chipotle Rewards members and Roblox users to try in real life (IRL). The new protein will be available at participating restaurants in the U.S. and Canada starting tomorrow.
The new Chipotle Grill Simulator on Roblox featuring Chipotle’s head chef Nevielle Panthaky guides Roblox users through the authentic cooking techniques and unique framework of ingredients required to make Garlic Guajillo Steak. Users grill Garlic Guajillo Steak following Chipotle’s exact culinary process and then virtually taste the new menu item’s robust flavors.
While Roblox has 55 million daily active users, the tastes of the gamers don’t always synchronize with how brands see things. If they perceive that a brand is not authentic, they won’t return. Yet McKinsey forecasts that the metaverse will have a value of $5 trillion by 2030. So brands like Chipotle have a lot at stake in the metaverse.
Why The Metaverse?
The fun, in-depth introduction to Garlic Guajillo Steak in the metaverse is designed to educate guests on Garlic Guajillo Steak’s various cooking techniques and flavor profiles thereby enhancing their experience when trying the new menu item IRL.
Chipotle has been at this kind of thing for a while.
“We want to be relevant in culture. That is one of the things when kind of the new marketing team showed up in 2018, that we made sure we wanted to be more visible, we wanted to be more relevant, and we wanted to be more loved,” said Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer at Chipotle, in a recent interview with GamesBeat. “Chipotle is different from most people in our category. We’re a real restaurant. A lot of people in our categories are reheating things. And because we’re a real restaurant with real ingredients, and classic culinary techniques, we want to show up in places that are different.”
Millions of people have engaged with Chipotle’s efforts in Roblox so far.
“It’s clearly an experimental space for us, and so far, so good,” Brandt said. “We view it as a social platform that is more immersive, and we use it to drive social engagement.”
Cook To earn
Chipotle is also giving users who successfully cook and taste Garlic Guajillo Steak on Roblox a chance to try the new menu innovation IRL for free. On September 13 and 14, Chipotle will drop 25,000 free entrée codes at 7 a.m. Pacific and 3 p.m. Pacific for a total of 100,000 codes. The free entrée codes can only be accessed by Chipotle Rewards members in the U.S. and Canada on the Chipotle app, Chipotle.com and Chipotle.ca.
“We looked at the metaverse as just an opportunity to explore the other part of this brand that we love is our desire to be innovative and to try new things,” Brandt said. “Our team saw Roblox has so many daily active users already, it has amazing scale, and it just kept popping up in our conversations.”
He added, “We have a number of team members have young kids and they were on Roblox. We started working on things in Halloween in 2021 on an immersive Chipotle experience.”
Users who complete the game will earn Burrito Bucks2, the brand’s in-experience currency, and can unlock new exclusive virtual items inspired by Garlic Guajillo Steak, including Chipotle’s iconic Chef Coat, the Nom Nom Aura, and a Gwaa-hee-oh Tee.
How It Works: Chipotle Grill Simulator
Chipotle Grill Simulator is a new experience located within Chipotle’s Burrito Builder world. Roblox users meet Chef Nevielle and select from a variety of Chipotle uniforms.
Users are teleported into Chipotle’s kitchen to cook Garlic Guajillo Steak. The experience starts at the plancha where visitors will need to perfectly grill and season as many steaks as they can before time runs out. Users will then race against the clock to cut as many steaks as they can into tender strips.
Finally, chefs in training will need to mix the savory protein with lime and cilantro until they fill the progress bar. After successfully preparing Garlic Guajillo Steak, users will be able to virtually taste the menu innovation with Chipotle’s iconic black fork. A flavor aura will appear, highlighting Garlic Guajillo Steak’s dynamic flavor profile.
Users who successfully complete the experience will earn virtual Burrito Bucks and can unlock new exclusive virtual items. The first 25,000 Roblox users who finish the Chipotle Grill Simulator will earn a free entrée code that can be used on the Chipotle app, Chipotle.com or Chipotle.ca to try Garlic Guajillo Steak in real life.
“We’re listening to our guests’ requests for intriguing new flavors,” said Nevielle Panthaky, vice president of culinary, in a statement. “Garlic Guajillo Steak pairs the familiar craveability of garlic with the allure of guajillo into an awesome protein with a slight kick.”
Starting September 14, Garlic Guajillo Steak will be available alongside all permanent menu items for in-restaurant, online, mobile, and delivery orders in the U.S. and Canada for a limited time.
Chipotle is offering a free delivery fee offer on all Garlic Guajillo Steak orders placed through the Chipotle app, Chipotle.com and Chipotle.ca from September 17 through September 25. It’s all while supplies last.
“The metaverse is a bit of a wild wild west. Nobody knows where it’s going to go. But I think what we do know is that it’s going to be in some form or fashion. It’s here to stay,” Brandt said. “And we’d like to be leading in that place. And we want to experiment so that we have a little bit of an advantage of what works and what doesn’t.”
It’s all about going where the eyeballs are and making it easy for people to buy the product, either in person or virtually.
“We are a multibillion-dollar brand. And we have a lot of different consumers across all kinds of different demographics,” Brandt said. “But one of the things we want to do is continue to be relevant with young people, as long as we’re continuing to be relevant with people in their teens and 20s. We think those people are the people who define what’s cool and culture, whether it’s sports, or whether it’s the metaverse or whether it’s fashion, or food or whatever. And so this metaverse strategy is all part of being relevant with the next generation. That’s important for building our business for tomorrow.”
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