With buzzwords like Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, NFTs, and the metaverse becoming part of everyday vernacular, everyone from large corporations to entrepreneurs to the general public is starting to take notice. NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which are one-of-a-kind blockchain assets often connected to a form of digital art, have particularly grown in popularity over the past year. According to DappRadar, which collects data on several different blockchains, NFT sales reached $24.9 billion in 2021up from $94.9 million in 2020. As NFTs infiltrate every industry from art to music to real estate, it was only a matter of time before they disrupted the food and beverage sector. hospitality.
In December 2021, celebrity chef Tom Colicchio announced via Twitter that he would be entering the NFT space alongside “Top Chef” Spike Mendelsohn with CHFTY Pizzas, a pizza-themed release of 8,888 NFTs valued at around $200 each. Other celebrity chefs capitalizing on the NFT craze include Food Network’s Christian Petroni.
Some restaurants are taking the concept a step further, offering token holders exclusive memberships and perks as part of their NFT ownership. For example, in 2021, entrepreneurs David Rodolitz, Gary Vaynerchuk, and chef Josh Capon announced their next venture, fly fishing club, dubbed the world’s first NFT restaurant. A Flyfish Club NFT grants the owner unlimited access to a members-only private dining room in New York City along with a number of exclusive digital and in-person special events. Although the exact location of the club, which is scheduled to open sometime in 2023, has yet to be determined, the 1,500 NFTs released to the public sold out within minutes. Starting prices for NFTs ranged from around $8,000 (entry level) to $14,000 (premium level), though their current resale values are nearly double those amounts.
But let’s say you’re looking for a profitable NFT at a restaurant that’s already open. In that case, you’re in luck: Matethe pioneering global Nikkei dining destination with locations in London, Toronto, and Miami Beach (and upcoming outposts in Doha, Riyadh, San Francisco, and Beverly Hills), recently announced it would launch its first NFT this April.
Dubbed “The Founder,” the NFT will be a one-off collectible chip card that grants its owner exclusive membership access to a variety of personalized benefits redeemable around the world. Never-before-seen benefits include personal invitations to every Chotto Matte restaurant opening around the world, plus first-class flights and five-star accommodations; an annual visit to the premium distillery, vineyards and estates; Invitation to New Year’s Eve dinner for six at any Chotto Matte location; an exclusive experience at home with the restaurant’s executive chef; two tickets to a major sporting event per year (FIFA, F1, boxing, etc.); and more!
The Founder NFT benefits were designed to reflect the benefits accessed by Chotto Matte founder and owner Kurt Zdesar, a restaurateur with more than 30 years of experience in global hospitality.
“Innovation is a pillar of the Chotto Matte brand; from menu to design, we are always looking to push the limits,” says Zdesar. “After great successes in the US, Europe and Canada, the crypto space is another market I want to explore. It is the future, and there is still much to do!”
The Founder will be a digital wallet of the Chotto Matte brand that the owner can access through a portal that contains the list of its benefits. When the owner wants to redeem a benefit, they simply click on the event and a member of the Chotto Matte team will contact them to coordinate it. Only one Founder NFT will be produced, and it is currently the only Chotto Matte membership available, adding to its exclusivity. However, as Zdesar explains, “This exclusive membership represents our first jump into the metaverse, but not our last.”
The Founder NFT will be available for purchase from OpenSea for $1 million. To celebrate, Chotto Matte will host a special launch event at its Miami Beach location on April 5. The event aligns with Miami NFT Week and the Bitcoin 2022 | Miami beach conference, which is expected to welcome thousands of crypto enthusiasts from around the world.
The launch event will celebrate the restaurant’s entry into the metaverse with crypto-inspired live performances. Conference attendees will be able to show off their Whale or Industry Passes to unlock a secret curated menu showcasing the most opulent Nikkei dishes (available to purchase in Bitcoin only). “It’s guaranteed to leave you starry-eyed,” adds Zdesar.
The launch event will celebrate the restaurant’s entry into the metaverse with crypto-inspired live performances. Conference attendees will be able to show off their Whale or Industry Pass to unlock a secret curated menu showcasing the most opulent Nikkei dishes (available to purchase in Bitcoin only). “It’s guaranteed to leave you starry-eyed,” adds Zdesar.
Back in New York City, the popular Brooklyn Court House of restaurateurs Robert “Don Pooh” Cummins and Stratis Morfogen is also getting into the crypto game. On March 14, the steakhouse opened its much-anticipated five-story, 25,000-square-foot venue in Times Square that features six private dining rooms, three bars and a rooftop bar called “Brooklyn Beach House.” The space also includes an intimate basement that, beginning in May, will only be accessible to guests who have purchased a special NFT membership. According to the New York PostStarting price for the basic membership is around $8,000, though more expensive tiers, ranging from $20,000 to $1 million, will offer even more exclusive benefits.
As the popularity of cryptocurrency and the metaverse continues to grow, we are bound to see more chefs and restaurants try the NFT space. The only question remains: are the rest of us willing to take a bite?