The Gift Becomes an Experience (Podcast)

On this episode of The Main Course, host Barbara Castiglia learns how the gift card experience is being modernized and personalized using augmented reality (AR). Guests Jack Serfass, CEO, Uptown Network, and Patrick Johnson, CEO, Rock Paper Reality explained its applicability to restaurants. 

“Essentially, it’s a fusion of the digital and physical world,” said Johnson. “It’s an overlay of virtual information on the physical environment. You can make 3-D models of meals and the restaurant.”

Serfass, whose background includes launching software companies and owning a restaurant, said the company launched its digital menu platform pre-pandemic, which supported restaurants. Still, the company wanted to do more to help clients generate revenue in the gift card space. “Gift cards are old, so we were thinking of how to reimagine it, and AR was capable of doing that.”

Instead of sending that dull plastic card, consumers can virtually gift an actual item, personalizing the experience. The two companies began working together to revitalize this revenue stream.

“We built out the AR portion and integrated it into the Uptown app. It’s a direct increase to the bottom line. There are also intangible benefits like virality and using the images on social medial or websites,” Johnson said.

A new episode of The Main Course, our podcast series with MarketScale, is served up every Tuesday and Thursday.