This Restaurant Will Let You Paint With Sauces in VR

Zaxby’s is taking an interactive HTC VIVE experience on tour to tailgaters across the country.

With over 700 locations across 17 states, quick service chicken restaurant Zaxby’s is giving college football fans a taste of something new while tailgating this season. The “Zaxby’s Fanz of Flavor” tour is hitting the road with a full-sized wooden barn where you can get your hands on the HTC VIVE and a few custom interactive VR experiences.


Even though VR experiences weren’t the only tailgate activities available in this mobile barn that was designed to mirror the look of actual Zaxby’s establishments — the VIVE was the hit. Especially for fans who’ve never experienced room-scale immersion before.

The custom “Zaxby’s Fanz of Flavor” VR experience begins with you standing in a newly designed flagship Zaxby’s restaurant, but soon a Big Z mascot emerges from the floor, enticing you to get creative with your hand-controllers. Reminiscent of Tilt Brush, you are challenged to dip into Zaxby’s sauces that double as paint, tracing your own Big Z in 3D space. Just like the creative freedom you’re afforded in Tilt Brush, you can also skip the tracing and go nuts making a mess and painting whatever you want. When your masterpiece is complete, you can save an in-game video of your custom creation on Facebook right there.


This Unity-based VR application was built from the ground up just for this activation, with the style and details matching the Zaxby’s environment. The large custom-built structure was designed and built by My Friend’s Nephew, an Atlanta-based creative advertising and design studio.

“Our objective was to give people the chance to engage in an experience that goes beyond the typical swag,” said Josh Robinson, executive creative director and principal at My Friend’s Nephew. “We hope that everyone, from those who are hearing the Zaxby’s name for the first time to long-time fanatics, will discover that flavor and fun are at the heart of the brand.”


Through a partnership with IMG, the brand is taking their interactive tailgate experience on the road to 12 games, with its first one having already kicked off September 4 in Austin for the University of Texas vs. Notre Dame matchup. The activation opens four hours before kickoff.

For many of college students, this will be their first time in VR. And what better way for the chicken chain to stay top of mind with target consumers than by letting them dip their fingers into a virtual world that is not only memorable but also creative.

Tours stops include:

  • Sept. 4 – University of Texas vs. Notre Dame
  • Sept. 10 – TCU vs. Arkansas
  • Sept. 17 – Arkansas vs. Texas State
  • Sept. 24 – Western Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt
  • Oct. 1 – FSU vs. UNC
  • Oct. 8 – University of Texas vs. Oklahoma
  • Oct. 15 – Georgia Tech vs. Georgia Southern
  • Oct. 29 – South Carolina vs. Tennessee
  • Nov. 5 – Ole Miss vs. Georgia Southern
  • Nov. 10 – Duke vs. UNC
  • Nov. 19 – Tennessee vs. Missouri
  • Nov. 26 – Virginia Tech vs. Virginia

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder of VRScout.

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