Across industries, brands are trying to replicate the physical experience, virtually. Pepsi pipes up with a virtual eatery, Pep’s Place, in an effort to create a digitally distinct experience of its own.
Launched earlier this week, the virtual restaurant bets on beverages as the focal point for which customers can then choose food. The beverage-first approach flips the typical picking process in a bid to put the spotlight on Pepsi’s “Better with Pepsi” national campaign. As such, the reverse concept features Pepsi’s full line up of flavors, original and funky, to be selected first and then paired with classic favorites like burgers, ribs, potato chips (Lay’s, of course), and mac and cheese, all available for digital order and delivery.
During the pandemic, food and beverage brands were forced to think creatively about how to capture consumer attention in the already-crowded space, as observed in Gartner’s report on the topic. As such, Pepsi’s foray into food reflects the growing ghost kitchen trend that restaurants like Applebee’s have been dipping into recently. Still, the tactic is relatively new, making Pepsi’s decision to dive into it all the more daring, and yet, on-brand for the label that pushed Peeps-flavored pop this past Easter. It also points to the continued importance of food delivery, even after the pandemic concludes. Finally, and perhaps most notably, the initiative signifies thickening competition in the food and beverages world. The only other question is: what will Coca-Cola do to compete?