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How Restaurant Chains Are Using NFTs in 2022

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As NFTs continue to move into the mainstream, more restaurant chains are finding ways to integrate non-fungible tokens into their marketing strategies. 

What was once an approach used primarily by fashion brands, like Gucci, Adidas, and Louis Vuitton, is now being adapted for the restaurant industry. Fast food giants like McDonald’s are using NFTs to energize their social media followers, while other restaurant chains are allowing investors to use NFTs to buy shares in brand franchise fees and adding virtual ordering and online delivery to their metaverse presence.

With limitless opportunities to utilize NFTs within a broader marketing strategy, restaurant marketers are being given free reign to explore. Here are five examples of ways that restaurant chains are using NFTs right now.

How Restaurant Chains Use NFTs

1. Papa John’s: Targeting Younger Customer Demographics

Papa John’s is using NFTs to generate awareness of its promotional fashion line — one part of a larger marketing push to bring new life to the established brand. The pizza restaurant chain released its first collection of NFTs in March, featuring a series of handbag designs inspired by pizza delivery bags. The NFT release is aimed at promoting Papa Johns X Cheddar, a line of merchandise the company released last year. The NFT collection includes more than 19,000 items.

2. McDonald’s: Generating Social Media Buzz

McDonald’s was one of the first fast food chains to jump on the NFT bandwagon late last year, when the company created limited-edition NFTs to commemorate the McRib’s annual return. McDonald’s billed its McRib NFTs as “digital versions of the fan favorite sandwich.” Rather than selling its NFTs outright, McDonald’s used them as part of a sweepstakes that it held on social media. The contest helped to reinvigorate the company’s social media presence and led to an increase in social engagement.

3. Flyfish Club: NFT-Based Memberships

Flyfish Club is being billed as the newest members-only status spot in New York City. To become a member at the private dining club, guests are required to purchase a Flyfish NFT. The company has released more than 1,500 tokens so far. Tokens on the secondary market are reportedly selling for roughly $13,600 each. Flyfish Club is developed by VCR Group, a hospitality group that includes Resy founder Gary Vaynerchuk. The company’s founders say Flyfish Club is a better investment than other club memberships because members can sell their tokens or lease them to other people.

4. Yum! Brands: Raising Funds for Charity

Taco Bell made headlines when it released a set of taco-themed NFTs on the Rarible marketplace. Profits earned from the sale were donated to Taco Bell Foundation, Inc. Although the highest bid reached just 0.4 wETH, or $700, the strategy generated numerous headlines and online buzz. The fast food giant’s parent company, Yum! Brands, also has NFT trademarks for KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, so the company can sell virtual F&B products, as well as downloadable multimedia files containing artwork, text, audio and video. The proposed trademarks also cover downloadable virtual goods, such as digital tokens, downloadable loyalty cards, and downloadable video game software featuring NFTs.

5. Food Fighters Universe: Building an NFT-Backed Restaurant Group

Food Fighters Universe, or FFU, is billing itself as the world’s first NFT-backed restaurant group. FFU is a collection of 10,000 NFTs minted in the Ethereum blockchain. Funds from the sale of FFU’s NFTs are being used to develop the group. FFU’s founders say they plan to build real-life gathering places as well as virtual meeting spots in the metaverse. People who purchase FFU’s NFTs will reportedly have access to food festivals and semi-secret restaurants, with locations still to-be-determined. They’ll also get food rewards, like specials at different restaurants around Southern California.

​​Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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