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Eat, Drink, and NFT: How F&B Businesses Are Using NFTs

Mintology Admin Dec 2, 2022 12:42:26 PM

Food and dining will never be the same as restaurants, fast food chains, and world-acclaimed chefs launch thousands of NFTs to create a new digital experience.

Emerging Web3 and NFT technologies is taking the $6.2 trillion global food and beverage industry by storm. They are currently transforming dining experiences and food brands all over the world with virtual spaces and digital assets. 

Restaurants, food chains, and liquor brands, just to name a few, are starting to see the seemingly limitless potential NFTs bring to the table. 

For those that don’t know what NFTs are yet, they are non-fungible tokens and non-exchangeable digital assets that also act as certificates of ownership. Built on blockchain technology, each token can store data across a decentralized network of computers that are hard to delete, change, or modify in perpetuity. 

With NFTs, digital tokenization can make a huge impact in all food and beverage-related industries. It can address and resolve current industry issues such as authentication, food safety, customer engagement, retention, reach, and the list goes on. NFTs can also help businesses introduce more rewarding loyalty programs and innovative customer experiences fresh out of the oven. 

Even in its infancy, restaurants, food product manufacturers, and even billion-dollar brands are using digital collectibles and tokens to diversify their revenue streams and expand their serviceable market. 

More and more foodies and F&B brands are growing curious to know more about what’s cooking in the industry right now. 

Keep on reading and find out how food and beverage businesses are already using NFTs:

8 NFT Use Cases In The F&B Industry

Quick Summary:

  1. Food safety, quality, and supply chains
  2. Food NFTs and recipes
  3. Marketing and brand awareness
  4. Loyalty programs and memberships
  5. Virtual dining
  6. Wines, alcohol, and luxury
  7. Trademarks and branding
  8. Fundraising

1 Food Safety and Improving Supply Chains

What’s worse than bad food? Expired, unsafe, and faked food. The ones that make you sick and spend hours in the washroom.

Many of F&B’s biggest challenges today have something to do with food safety and product authentication. There is a growing consumer concern about knowing where their food comes from and how they are made. With counterfeit products only getting more identical to the original ones, product labels are no longer giving consumers the same assurance they did before.

So, what can we do to make sure the food we eat is safe, healthy, and original?

NFTs are impossible to duplicate at the code level. In fact, fake NFTs are easy to verify with blockchain explorers. If food and beverage businesses can apply NFT technology to their supply chains, they can make almost every single process from manufacturing to distribution and into the hands of their consumer as transparent as possible.

Attaching NFTs to each food product can make it possible for both manufacturers and consumers to trace how the products are made and where they come from. Each food item will contain traceable information about its product history, provenance, and item details such as freshness, type, weight, and status. This way consumers can confirm food ingredients, best-before dates, and product origins. 

If businesses find anomalies in their supply chain, they can immediately track and recall items to maintain the quality of their food and keep their consumers safe. This also makes it convenient to resolve manufacturing errors. 

Not to mention, businesses can use NFTs for proving the legitimacy of their business documents and compliance with food administrations and audits. Non-fungible documents such as business registration, licenses, and certificates can be easy to verify with NFTs. 

Indeed, the digital tokenization of food items can significantly improve quality standards, processing, distribution, and authentication in current food supply chains. Say goodbye to spoiled food!

2 Food NFTs and Recipes

Original signature recipes mean a lot to a chef as much as masterpieces are to a painter. Unless a chef published their own recipe book, it is typically hard to trace back a dish and credit it to whoever came up with the recipe. Until today, no one even knows for sure who invented French fries or our all-time favorite pizza!

For restaurants that want to stand out, getting recognized for cooking never-before-tasted dishes is a huge deal. Through NFTs, independent chefs and restaurants can immortalize their recipes and the ingredients they use in digital tokens. Proud culinary inventors can now credit secret recipes back to them forever. And, food connoisseurs will immediately know who it comes from.

Recipe NFTs can allow culinary teams and professionals to unleash their creativity and set their businesses apart from the competition. They can also open doors for licensing and copyrighting as well as interacting with food communities all over the world. Raising awareness and attracting recognition for their business in the process.

In 2021, Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio launched 8,888 NFT art pizzas with his collection CHFTY Pizzas. Fellow celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson also turned his signature Fried Yardbird recipe into an NFT together with Belgian beer brand Stella Artois and auctioned it off for charity. 

3 Marketing and Brand Awareness

Of course, when it comes to marketing through innovation, industry giants never seem to miss out on jumping on the bandwagon. 

Popular fast food chains like Papa John’s are launching NFT collections to promote new campaigns. In their latest Papa X Cheddar campaign, they released over 19,000 pizza delivery bag-inspired digital collectible handbags from their Hot Bags collection. By using NFTs, they repositioned their brand to appeal to a younger audience and highlighted their innovative outlook. 

Dave & Buster’s also launched an immersive digital collectible program for their NFT collector audience. Other brands such as Burger King and Taco Bell are also using NFTs to promote new products on their menu and boost brand awareness.

NFTs can be an excellent way for fast-food chains, restaurants, and bakeries, among many others, to market their brand and boost customer engagement, loyalty, and awareness. Not to mention, keep up with a younger audience that’s more likely to dabble in crypto.

Right now, there is a great need to capture customers online and lead them to physical locations now that more people are working remotely or staying at home. NFTs can help stimulate and boost customer engagement. From there, they can build customer relationships by rewarding loyal diners with exclusive perks and benefits, and even memberships recognized by NFTs. 

4 NFT Loyalty Programs and Memberships

Speaking of memberships, NFTs can also help with cultivating a membership community and introducing exclusive experiences. They can be used to validate loyalty memberships, vouchers, coupons, subscriptions, and event tickets. Digital tokens can use the features of blockchain technology to create membership structures with more capability. 

With NFTs, restaurants can reward returning customers through loyalty programs. They can act as both loyalty cards and incentives for such programs. Businesses can gift their customers special and exclusive NFTs for early bird, bulk, or repeat orders, and event participation. Customers can use their accumulated NFT reward collection for public displays or more loyalty awards in the future. 

On top of that, they can reward members with exclusive or early access to special events. And because of their newfound digital reach, they can incentivize customer engagement and grow organic social media marketing through integration. Most of all, this increases the value of customer interaction and of the brand itself.

There are already a couple of restaurants creating exclusive loyalty programs for their NFT holders. 

In 2021, Lure Fishbar chef Josh Capon introduced a new NFT restaurant called Flyfish Club. It is an NFT-driven restaurant that grants Flyfish Club NFT holders exclusive access to private dining experiences and member-only spaces. 

Bored Breakfast Club, an NFT coffee subscription inspired by the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection joins coffee producer Yes Plz Coffee in delivering coffee orders and exclusive experiences to their subscribers.

Today, NFT marketplaces like Mintology are helping chefs and restaurants start enterprise-level campaigns and new aftersales revenue streams including NFT loyalty membership programs.

5 Foodverse & Virtual Dining

With the advent of AR and VR technology, NFTs are either joining or opening up virtual dining scenes. Branching off the highly talked about metaverse, restaurants, fast food chains, and F&B projects are creating the food metaverse or better known as the ‘foodverse.’ This is where many of the NFT use cases we discussed in this article come together. 

The foodverse is essentially a whole new digital world where restaurants, food brands, and chefs can share food NFTs including recipes, and interact with foodies and customers in virtual settings. Want to experience fine dining overlooking a beachside cliff with a food NFT invented by a chef 500 miles away from you? As crazy as that sounds, it is possible in the food metaverse – minus the actual eating. 

Although there is a high barrier to entry to get in the foodverse because of how expensive VR headsets and equipment are. Yet, in anticipation of its growth, NFT technology will have a key presence in making this virtual world both possible and better. 

For example, virtual restaurants will use NFTs to represent food items in their menu that are exchangeable for real-world counterparts of these goods. So if you purchase an NFT for a rare wagyu steak that’s only available in a Japanese restaurant, when the time comes you actually visit the place you can show the NFT to prove you actually made the purchase.

NFT technology can give restaurants and food businesses immediate access to the world. As a result, this can boost brand awareness, increase their reach, and expand revenue streams unexplored with a limited local customer base.

In November 2021, Chipotle started its own virtual restaurant in the popular sandbox game Roblox to give away 100,000 free burritos. Although they did not launch any NFTs to make this happen, it is clear major food brands are immersing themselves in the crypto space. 

Chipotle or another restaurant could even take this to the next level with special NFT burritos with unique perks such as unlimited burritos. Who knows? 

6 Wines, Alcohol, and Luxury

Alright, enough about food. Time to wash down our palate. Wines and alcoholic beverages can also find similar opportunities and more with NFTs.

Luxury is sometimes synonymous with the global wine and liquor industry. Some of the rarest bottles could fetch more than $1 million. You can even find bottles in your local grocery store that can cost more than a whole pizza.

But, how do buyers know it’s the real deal? 

In the liquor industry, verifying authenticity is a major challenge when the current method to check if a prized drink is original is through opening the bottle and tasting and consuming it, rendering it less valuable.

With NFTs, luxury liquor brands can attach unique and immutable tokens to the bottles and drinks they sell to make confirming authenticity possible without ruining the product. Information such as provenance, rarity, and quality can also be indicated in these tokens. This will elevate today’s luxury alcohol market to a new level of exclusivity that can also cripple the growth of counterfeit products and services.

Many popular liquor brands are already doing the exact same thing with Bacardi being a prime example. In August 2021, they released the first of their 2021-2025 NFT series with their limited edition Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask Finish and an accompanying digital collectible. But, they didn’t stop there. Two months later, Bacardi launched another NFT campaign together with Caribbean producer Boi-1da to support Bacardi’s Music Liberates Music program.

Popular alcohol brands such as Glenfiddich, Hennessy, and Johnnie Walker are also launching limited-edition bottle collections with NFTs.

Family-owned Chateau Angelus, a highly respected Bordeaux brand, also sold an NFT to own a 225-liter Angelus 2020 barrel plus an exclusive tasting with their CEO, VIP experiences, and a personal tour during their harvest season.

NFTs can also support the exclusivity of luxury dining experiences and premium dishes in top-level restaurants.

7 Trademarks and Branding

Because of their unforgeable and hard-to-duplicate nature, NFTs are also being used to protect brands and their digital assets from trademark infringement. 

McDonald’s is one of those brands. Just recently, they filed for ten trademarks for their “soon to be in the metaverse” virtual services. This includes trademarks for McCafe, an online event hosting space, and McDelivery, a virtual restaurant that delivers orders in the real world, similar to what we talked about earlier.

Panera Bread is also another food brand applying trademarks for their virtual restaurants and NFTs for virtual food products.

By extension, NFTs can support branding changes in the food and beverage industry. Besides boosting marketing and engagement, restaurants can also use digital collectibles to establish a new brand identity that adapts to emerging blockchain technology including NFTs.

8 Fundraising and Charity

NFTs can also help raise funds for charitable causes and soft openings. Because of a highly saturated food and business market, fundraising for new restaurants and food chains can be relatively hard. 

Going back to the Flyfish Club, NFTs have helped the restaurant raise $14 million from their NFT membership program and acquire financial backing from entrepreneur and NFT advocate, Gary Vaynerchuk. 

This goes to show that NFTs are an excellent fundraising tool for upcoming food brands should consider when starting their business. It can also help speed up the customer acquisition process by incentivizing membership. Right off the bat, there’s already an attractive benefit that makes customers want to interact.

For already established food and beverage businesses who want to take part in something bigger, they can use NFTs for charitable causes.

Charitable NFT projects include Rare Pizzas, which collaborated with over 300 artists across the world to create and sell 10,000 pizza NFTs. Sales from the project bought free pizza for people all over the world for Bitcoin Pizza Day. 

In the coffee space, Crypto Baristas started a fundraising event to establish their first cafe. Crypto Barista NFT holders are given exclusive cafe perks in all their locations now and in the future. Fifteen percent of their revenue goes to charity.

NFTs can also be used to support social causes and movements. Dumpling Mafia launched 88 dumpling NFTs to raise funds for the #StopAsianHate movement. NFT holders get invited to all Dumpling Mafia events both in the real world and the metaverse.

How Food and Beverage Businesses Can Use and Benefit From NFTs

Adopting non-fungible tokens for your food or restaurant business strategy can be both a promising and intimidating idea. The entrepreneurial hunger to get a slice of the NFT pie will also come with a side of important questions. 

Interested F&B business owners will need to identify practical areas they can use NFTs. And, explore reliable minting platforms that will help them find success in the long run. Where and how you start will be both influential driving factors when it comes to launching your NFT strategy.

With more and more brands using NFTs, the opportunities for how they can be used will also grow. Right now, food and beverage businesses can use digital collectibles for boosting their brand awareness and engagement. 

Food manufacturers can use the technology to optimize their supply chains and improve food safety and quality. 

Restaurants can use claimable NFTs for introducing loyalty membership programs as well as new virtual experiences.

Want to explore real-world NFT use cases for your business? Send us a message to discover how to use NFTs to scale your brand.