If you thought the romance between the culinary world and NFTs was a quick spring fling, I have some news for you: This relationship looks set for the long haul.
The latest evidence of an embrace of non-fungible tokens by restaurants comes in the form of new promotion launches over the past few weeks by both Burger King and Dave & Buster’s.
The Burger King NFT promotion is part of an effort to raise awareness around the company’s Keep It Real campaign, a marketing initiative in which it is eliminating 120 artificial ingredients from its menu. Here’s how the program, which is powered by the Sweet NFT platform, is described in Restaurant Dive:
“Guests can scan a QR code on each Keep It Real Meal box to receive one of three collective NFT game pieces, according to details shared with Marketing Dive. When the full set is collected, guests are programmatically provided a fourth NFT, a reward that could be a 3D digital collectible, free Whopper sandwiches for a year, autographed merchandise or a call with one of the campaign’s celebrity ambassadors.
In short, the burger chain is creating a loyalty program that entices consumers with real-world rewards like burgers. In other words, a modern equivalent of the old McDonald’s Monopoly game, only built on the blockchain.
Much like Burger King’s effort, Dave & Buster’s is an NFT powered loyalty program that promises prizes, even if the odds are longer and prizes are essentially just more game tokens. The program, which also uses Sweet’s NFT platform, offers digital cards and tokens in exchange for tickets won by customers playing games in the restaurant. According to the announcement, each location will offer a unique game card and coin, and the first customer to collect all the locations will win a “1 of 1 Super Master NFT and a $10,000 Dave & Buster’s Power Card.”
Beyond these efforts by the big chains, NFTs are also making their way into higher-end cuisine. In July, chef Marcus Samuelsson turned his chicken recipe into an NFT and threw in the opportunity to eat at the chef’s restaurant. In August, food critic Agnes Chee Yan-Wei announced she’s collaborating with NOIZchain.com to create an NFT marketplace for chefs. And then there’s Gary Vaynerchuk’s NFT restaurant, where he plans to offer exclusive membership dining privileges for owners of one of the restaurant’s NFTs.
While much of the early forays into the NFT trend seemed a bit forced, the latest efforts are encouraging for a few reasons:
These NFTs offer real-world rewards, not just digital art. Digital art isn’t a bad thing, but the reality is if NFTs are ever to become mainstream, they need to translate to tangible rewards. Burger King is offering free food, while Buster & Dave’s offers the promise of free gameplay.
The rewards are available to everyone. Sweet, whose NFT platform underlies both Burger King and Dave & Buster’s offerings, call their approach “broad-scale”. What this means is there’s more than just one single copy of a digital asset everyone bids up to the stratosphere, and instead the programs offer rewards that are seemingly within reach and have similar odds to other more traditional game contests.
For those that want it: exclusive real-world experiences. For those who want to pay the price for membership, NFTs can also be a blockchain-powered ticket to exclusive real-world experiences. Vaynerchuk’s NFT restaurant and Chef Samuelsson’s NFT offer tangible but exclusive things high-end foodies would be excited about, like actual food.
So while early efforts to capitalize on NFTs may have been slightly cringe-inducing, the world of food is beginning to fine-tune their crypto offerings into something that real-world consumers might actually want.