Over 50,000 pairs of cardboard goggles will be handed out across the group’s 100 UK sites, which work by holding a smartphone to customers’ eyes. Carluccio's said the idea is to allow customers to ‘travel’ to Taormina in Sicily via a special YouTube video, and feel as though they are eating by the sea.
The new menu – which the group describes as its biggest change since it opened in 1999, and which has been created in partnership with co-founder Antonio Carluccio ‒ will incorporate 50 updates to familiar and new dishes, in a bid to keep current with consumers’ changing tastes, and to complement the imminent rollout of the ‘new generation’ of Carluccio’s stores and brand.
The announcements come after the first new look store opened in London’s Spitalfields in May this year, and at the same time as the flagship Covent Garden site is revamped this month.
Sites at Derby’s Intu Centre and at Southampton’s West Quay, are to follow, with a further 10 sites expected to receive the new look in the next year.
Neil Wickers, Carluccio’s chief executive, called the moves a 'monumental step in Carluccio’s evolution'.
He said: “Our approach to eating out has changed dramatically since the inception of the brand 17 years ago and is no longer just about the food. Today, diners are looking for an experience above all else and by embracing new technologies such as VR, we are confident that Carluccio’s will remain as relevant today as the brand was in 1999.”
Carluccio’s is the latest national restaurant group to introduce a VR experience for its diners, after TGI Friday’s launched a Christmas dog sledding film in November last year, via what it called ‘fully-immersive 360-degree headsets’.
The concept of virtual reality – most often seen in video gaming ‒ has become more common in recent years.
Although cheaper versions simply incorporate smartphones within external headsets, genuine VR experiences include the Playstation VR, launched this month, alongside other major players such as the HTC Vive and the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift.