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PizzaExpress launches augmented reality football game

Italian restaurant chain PizzaExpress has launched an augmented reality football game for customers to play during meals

PizzaExpress has launched an augmented reality (AR) extension to its existing mobile application, which allows customers to use their smartphones to play a semi-virtual football game.

The game, Table Foot(Dough)ball, uses the restaurant’s smartphone app paired with smartphone cameras to incorporate real-life elements into the virtual football match.

The restaurant made the game in partnership with creative agency Holdens. The senior marketing manager of PizzaExpress, Timothy Love, said it was part of the chain’s goal to constantly improve the customer experience.

“For some, technology at the table has become a mealtime feature, so instead of families spending time hunched over their phones, with Doughball everyone can get involved in a 60-second ‘flick-about’ before the main event – eating pizza – kicks off,” he said.

Developing a good customer experience has become one of the main goals of current retailers as wide-scale technology adoption increases the consumer expectation of a brand.

Table Foot(Dough)ball uses some of the items from the PizzaExpress menu as part of the game’s experience. The restaurant has developed several games including other parts of its brand over the past year, which consumers could play using Facebook Messenger.

Smartphone apps are becoming a huge part of how customers interact with brands, and many consumers have said they would prefer to collect loyalty points from brands on their mobile phone, rather than with a physical card.

Many younger consumers have also said they prefer to get their information about a retailer and its products online as opposed to in store, and some restaurants have begun using smartphones to make the ordering and payment experience easier for consumers.

George Bennett, project lead at Holdens, said: “The latest developments in AR technology have allowed us to create more engaging and accessible apps that can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike, while adding value to the overall brand experience.”

PizzaExpress said this is one of many AR updates it plans to make to its smartphone application. The game is free to play on its smartphone app, which can be downloaded for iPhone and Android.

The restaurant is not the first food brand to experiment with using AR technology to improve customer experience, with Just Eat showcasing a demo of an AR menu as part of its future of food ordering demo day.

AR and virtual reality (VR) technologies are becoming more mainstream as the technology becomes more developed, such as watching the World Cup or training firefighters.

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