Restaurants serve NFTs to diners. Here’s why.

Restaurants have something new on their menus: NFTs. And no, you can’t eat them. Instead, restaurateurs use the non-fungible tokens to act like memberships, in a sense, allowing holders access to exclusive benefits and experiences.

Chefs Tom Colicchio and Spike Mendelsohn recently launched Pizza CHFTY, 8,888 pizza-themed NFTs that grant users access to exclusive events and products. NFT holders at The Brooklyn Chop House’s new Times Square location have access to an “intimate cellar area.” And restaurant chain Chotto Matte has launched a unique NFT called “The Founder” that gives the holder access to future restaurant openings, winery and distillery tours, a private experience with the restaurant’s executive chef, New Year’s reservations for six people, and even sports tickets.

“At Chotto Matte, it is important that we continue to evolve and push the boundaries and vision of the restaurant industry; that’s why it made sense for us to enter the market,” said Kurt Zdesarfounder and owner of Chotto Matte, the global dining destination serving Nikkei (Japanese and Peruvian) cuisine, with locations in London, Toronto and Miami.

“Everything about this NFT exemplifies the boundaries we are pushing for creativity,” he added. “The founder [which was purchased this past spring] allows us to create an exclusive membership club, with never-before-seen benefits such as personal invitations, luxury accommodations, curated dining experiences, and more. Not to mention that this is a one-of-a-kind membership, which elevates its exclusivity.”

While much of Web3 revolves around democratizing the internet, these restaurant-related NFTs don’t come cheap. Brooklyn Chop House NFTs start at $8,000, with more expensive tiers offering even more exclusive perks. The Founder NFT by Chotto Matte cost $1 million.

In April, Chotto Matte held a launch event at its Miami Beach location, in conjunction with the Bitcoin Miami Conference and Miami NFT Week. Conference attendees were able to unlock a secret menu of opulent dishes, available for purchase only in Bitcoin, as well as a limited-edition Bitcoin-inspired cocktail, 10/31, which was made with Japanese whiskey. and topped with a flammable dollar bill that revealed a bitcoin coin.

A limited-edition Bitcoin-inspired cocktail made with Japanese whiskey and garnished with a flammable dollar bill that revealed a Bitcoin coin was served at Chotto Matte’s The Founder NFT launch party.Photo: Courtesy of Chotto MatteEarlier this month, facade of the house, a curation of exclusive restaurant-related digital collectibles, launched in the New York market, with the goal of bringing the hospitality and independent dining space into the Web3 world. The platform provides its partners, which currently include Dame, Wildair and Emmett’s on Grove, with 80% of collectable digital profits, helping restaurants create new revenue streams outside of the dining room. Digital collectibles consist of one-of-a-kind digital art combined with offline experiences.

“During the pandemic and, honestly, even before, the costs of running a restaurant skyrocketed. Coming from a restaurant background, we saw an opportunity for restaurants to find a whole new revenue stream with little to no upfront costs using their IP,” explained Colin Camacco-founder of facade of the house, about the decision to launch the platform. “We also see it as an opportunity for them to take their first steps into the world of Web3 and interact with their guests in a whole new way.”

For example, Emmett’s Supper Club collectibles (priced at $300 each) give owners access to special reservations, pizza nights, exclusive merchandise, and more. Front of House’s next release will be with Hanoi House, and upcoming partners include One White Street, Rosella, Niche Niche and Tokyo Record Bar, and The Sussman’s.

Camac said the benefit for restaurants offering digital collectibles like these is that they’re able to develop an “additional, low-friction revenue stream that isn’t dependent on diners physically settling into seats that can help make the business more resilient and profitable”. It also offers the “opportunity to build a community around people who are genuinely interested in what the restaurant offers. It’s a whole new way for restaurants to keep their best customers engaged in their world.

Kevin Seo, co-founder of Bored & Hungry, the world’s first NFT-branded burger, located in Long Beach, California, which uses a pattern inspired by the Bored Ape Yacht Club, one of the largest NFT collections currently in circulation , echoed that sentiment.

“It’s an amazing way to engage communities that want to support you, and in turn, it brings utility to the community through different access points and discounts,” he said. “It’s a way to engage more with those who enjoy your food.”

Along with Andy Nguyen, co-founder of Bored & Hungry, Seo also launched Food Fighters Universe, an NFT collection that will help grow an NFT-backed restaurant group. NFT Food Fighters give members access to special events (including group food and music festival passes), rewards and perks (like free food) on Web3 and IRL, as well as guided shared governance, allowing NFT holders to influence the location, menu and design of future restaurants. The group is also currently developing an “immersive retail dessert experience” called Dr. Bombay’s Sweet Exploration. with NFT enthusiast Snoop Dogg.

Bored & Hungry, the world's first NFT-branded hamburger restaurant, located in Long Beach, CA, features a design inspired by the Bored Ape Yacht Club, one of the largest NFT collections currently in circulation.Bored & Hungry, the world’s first NFT-branded hamburger restaurant, located in Long Beach, CA, features a design inspired by the Bored Ape Yacht Club, one of the largest NFT collections currently in circulation.Photo: Calvin HangWhile the Food Fighters universe aims to merge the existing NFT community with food, other upcoming properties hope to infuse the dining experience with technology. Chef Josh Capon teams up with entrepreneurs David Rodolitz and Gary Vaynerchuk to launch the Fly fishing club, which has been dubbed the “first-ever NFT restaurant.” NFT holders will have unlimited access to a private dining room in New York City when the property opens next year, as well as a series of exclusive digital and in-person special events. The seafood-inspired restaurant will also include a private room that can be reserved by members for events.

Although the exact location of the venue is TBD, the 1,500 NFTs released to the public sold out within minutes, with prices ranging from around $8,000 to $14,000; current resale values ​​are nearly double those amounts.

“Diners are drawn to this concept because it’s the first of its kind – a lot of people love exclusivity and believe in social currency,” explained Rodolitz, founder and CEO of VCR Group, the hospitality company behind Flyfish Club. “They’re in the community to look and be part of something new and innovative with like-minded people, and they actually own their membership, which gives them complete control over it.”

“It's an amazing way to engage communities that want to support you, and in turn, it brings utility to the community through different access points and discounts.  It's a way to engage more with those who enjoy your food,” said Kevin Seo, co-founder of Bored & Hungry.“It’s an amazing way to engage communities that want to support you, and in turn, it brings utility to the community through different access points and discounts. It’s a way to engage more with those who enjoy your food,” said Kevin Seo, co-founder of Bored & Hungry.Photo: Calvin HangHe added that “through NFTs, we are building a very loyal and strong community. Our members own their memberships rather than renting their memberships. It’s their asset to do with it what they want.

Rodolitz also highlighted why the concept makes economic sense for a volatile industry like restaurants. “It creates a more secure financial model for our business, as we have a few more ways to generate revenue, rather than just relying on restaurant operations. The hospitality industry is very tough, so having a few additional ways to generate revenue income, we can focus on being more hospitable and less transactional with our members.

Of course, there’s also a cool, edgy factor that attracts both diners and restaurateurs to these digestible NFTs. “Besides the exclusivity and uniqueness that NFTs bring to the restaurant industry, we believe this is a great opportunity to create something that inspires customers,” Zdesar said. “The possibilities in this market are endless, and NFTs give us the opportunity to express our creativity and curate an eclectic and elevated dining experience in the restaurant scene.”

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