Back when we first heard that Starbucks was heading into the NFT business, I suspected a company helping them get there was a startup called Brightloom.
The reasons were pretty straightforward: Not only is Brightloom effectively a carveout of Starbucks former digital business AND Brightloom’s CEO Adam Brotman is the former of head Starbucks digital, but there’s also the fact that Howard Schultz namechecked Brotman at the employee town hall where the subject first came up.
But if there’s any remaining doubt, I think it was put to rest this week when Starbucks published a memo co-authored by Starbucks Chief Marketing Officer Brady Brewer and Adam Brotman (who, on the piece, is titled a “consultant”) about NFTs last week in which the company detailed its plans. Titled We’re creating the digital Third Place, the memo describes how Starbucks sees NFTs as ushering in a “shared ownership model” for loyalty and sees them as digital “access passes” for experiences and rewards.
In some ways, Brotman and Weber’s memo echoes many of the same ideas we’ve heard Brotman speak about when asked about his thoughts on Web3. When I interviewed him in March, Brotman talked about how NFTs can be tickets to unique experiences for a restaurant’s most loyal customers.
Restaurants “know who their best customers are, either by name or some loyalty program,’” Brotman said. “And they give them an NFT. Say, ‘here’s a code to claim your free NFT. And by the way, we’re only giving there’s only ever going to be 300 customers that can own the NFT.”
And at last week’s SimulATE Food Web3 summit, Brotman talked about why he became fascinated with Web3. “Why I’m so turned on by the Web3 space is the idea that there’s this concept of owning a digital collectible that also doubles as an access pass.”
Brotman also discussed how the Web3-powered ownership could be a gamechanger for loyalty programs. “If you don’t understand NFTs or you don’t understand crypto, you don’t need to,” Brotman said. “If any of you ever either invested in a company, or had your own company, or had a stamp collection or a card collection, what they all have in common is that you have some skin in the game and you feel like you’re a co-owner.”
All of this may seem a bit inside baseball. Still, I think it’s newsworthy since there is a small but growing cohort of digital restaurant platformers like Brightloom, NextBite, and Lunchbox jockeying to position themselves as the restaurant onramp to Web3. And so, if Brightloom has indeed locked up the bluest of blue-chip customers (and it looks like they have), they will have established themselves as the early leader in Web3 platform horserace.
If you’d like to watch Adam Brotman talk Web3 (along with Chef Spike Mendelsohn and LA Eats’ Perrin Davidson), you can watch their session on Web3 and restaurants below.