Starbucks Is Leaving The Metaverse

Odyssey, Starbucks' foray into Web3 virtual reality and NFTs, is coming to an end.

For some time, it seemed the metaverse was the digital frontier that many consumer brands, not just fast food chains, needed to conquer to reach more customers. But the hype of this digital universe appears to have subsided—or at least for Starbucks it has. Restaurant Business reports that the coffee chain will be puling out of the metaverse at the end of this month.

In an announcement to customers, Starbucks said it will officially be ending its Starbucks Odyssey Beta program on March 31. Users will have until March 25 to complete any activities, or "Journeys," within the program. Starbucks Odyssey was first launched in 2022 and was an offshoot of existing Starbucks loyalty program.

What is Starbucks Odyssey?

Under this program, customers would earn a stamp or NFT for completing "Journeys" in the metaverse. Those NFTs consisted of artwork created by Starbucks workers or other artists, and they could be bought or sold. Earning the stamps also unlocked additional benefits and interactive experiences for Rewards members. In its sunsetting of this program, Starbucks noted in its announcement that it's looking for other ways to allow its Rewards customers to communicate with each other.

Advertisement

Of course, Starbucks was not the only brand attempting to establish itself in the metaverse back in 2022. A number of restaurant chains, including Wendy's and Chipotle, set up digital camps in the metaverse as well. Wendy's created a Wendyverse in which participants could go to a virtual Wendy's restaurant, enjoy virtual food, and play minigames. The only real-world tie-in is that those who download the Wendy's app can get a free 10-piece order of nuggets IRL.

As for Chipotle, two years in a row the chain offered the opportunity to snag a free burrito on Roblox, the online game platform. In 2022, the deal required fans to build a virtual burrito at a virtual Chipotle location; doing so earned some players a coupon code for a free entree from an actual Chipotle in real life.

Advertisement

Other restaurant chains such as Taco Bell and Jimmy John's held space in the metaverse for a limited time with limited promotions, but did not make a home there for very long. Wao Bao continues to offer a similar rewards system to Starbucks Odyssey involving NFTs. The chain's Hot Buns Club offers new members Digital CollectaBaos and other benefits.

On its FAQ page regarding the closing of Odyssey, Starbucks notes the program is ending so that the company can prepare for "what comes next as we continue to evolve the program." Maybe loyalty rewards are best enjoyed in the real world after all.

Recommended

Advertisement