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TGI Fridays becomes the first restaurant in the UK to offer virtual reality

TGI Fridays has launched the UK’s first virtual reality restaurant experience for this year’s festive season, ensuring a Christmas party like no other.

Published: December 1, 2015

The fully-immersive 360 degree experience transports guests to the incredible snow-covered Lapland Province for 90 seconds of pure winter wonderland. Guests at Fridays will be able to take the reins of a dog sled pulled by ten huskies which weaves through a snow-capped Lapland landscape at breakneck speeds, as the tree branches pass overhead and the scenery whizzes past.

The award-winning restaurant chain created this experience further to carrying out research to investigate what Brits look forward to the most in the build-up to Christmas, or as Fridays puts it – the #JingleEffect. The research revealed that dog sledding was the Christmas activity adults in Edinburgh would like to try above anything else. It also discovered that Lapland is Scots’ dream Christmas location, and that a white Christmas would be a ‘festive wish’ for a third of Scots (32 per cent). Fridays then brought all this to life in the virtual experience.

The trial has already been piloted at TGI Fridays Westfield Stratford in London and is set to make further visits at selected restaurants across the country throughout December. The experience uses the new Galaxy Gear VR headset, released just this month, and is powered by the cutting edge Galaxy S6 generation of smartphone and Oculus virtual reality technology.

The content was shot using six pro-grade Go-Pro Heros, and then stitched together to create a seamless ‘sphere’ of video content. The Oculus software converts this into a format that places users right in the middle of the action when using a headset, filling the user’s entire field of vision and tracking head movements with a gyroscope, orientation sensor and accelerometer.

All this comes together to create the illusion of reality and trick the user’s brain into feeling like they really are in the virtual reality world. The content was filmed in temperatures of -17C on location in the town of Kiruna, 85 miles north of the Arctic Circle in the Province of Lapland.

Fridays guests can enjoy their world-first virtual dog-sledding experience whilst feasting on the brand’s first-ever Christmas menu, including the unique Stuck in the Chimney Stack Burger which mixes traditional Christmas favourites and Fridays classics together – a 7oz beef burger piled high with Jack Daniel’s sage and onion stuffing, a chicken breast, Swiss cheese and caramelised onions, served with a side of fries and Jack Daniel’s gravy for dipping.

Rachel McDowell, Marketing Manager, TGI Fridays UK said: “We always pull out all the stops for Christmas at Fridays, like our UK-first mistletoe drone last year. We thought long and hard about how to top that this year for guests as part of our Jingle Effect campaign and we couldn’t think of a better way of doing that than making people’s Christmas dreams come true virtually at Fridays.
“The experience, powered by cutting-edge Oculus technology, is truly incredible, giving guests 100% freedom of vision to explore the stunning, magical snow-scape – and they can even enjoy our new Christmas menu as they do it! It will undoubtedly be the talking point of any Christmas party at Fridays – we hope guests have as much fun experiencing it as we did creating it!”

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