NFTs Meet CRE: Florida Restaurateurs Tap Tokens For Brick-And-Mortar Ventures
Florida restaurateurs are getting in on the NFT action.
A Miami chef is the latest with plans to sell nonfungible tokens as membership passes to an exclusive club, and a Fort Lauderdale fast-casual chain is using NFTs to represent investments in franchises.
Miami chef Piyarat "Chef Bee" Arreeratn, who owns Oishi Thai, is teaming up with Canadian businessman Simon Librati to open a venue called Piya, according to Miami New Times. It will include a restaurant, a private omakase dining room and a fast-casual area where NFT holders will meet for private events.
"The idea is to create a space where members can come to learn about NFTs, crypto trading, and these various new markets," Librati told the newspaper.
The partners were working with FanVerse and Cere Network to mint the NFT and sell it on a platform that lets people pay using a traditional credit card, rather than needing to have a wallet with cryptocurrency. Early sales of the NFT could be used to build out the new restaurant.
Late last year, VCR Group — founded by investor Gary Vaynerchuk, restaurateur David Rodolitz and chef Josh Capon — announced they would be opening Flyfish Club, the world’s first NFT restaurant/social club, in New York City.
A person would need to use the Ethereum cryptocurrency to buy the Flyfish Club NFT, which represents a membership. With that one-time purchase, they will be granted future access to the restaurant and cocktail bar. As opposed to standard country clubs or social clubs that have monthly fees and offer no equity, Flyfish club lets people sell their memberships on the secondary market, via Opensea.io.
A token holder would also be able to "lease" their token to a non-token holder on a monthly basis. The NFTs went on sale in January and raised $14M. Some of those have already been resold for a collective $21M, according to Bloomberg.
"Our NFTs allow you to actually own your membership,” Rodolitz explained on FOX Business. “So it changes a membership into an asset, which you can sell, you can use, you can transfer, you could gift or you could lease if you’re not in town and won’t be available to use it over the time period." Payment for meals, though, would be in traditional U.S. dollars.
Rodolitz said the founders were looking for an “iconic location” to build out and the restaurant would open next year. The menu would be seafood-based.
Bloomberg also reported on a bar opening in July called Maxwell Tribeca, modeled after txokos, or small Spanish clubs made up of friends who meet for home-cooked meals. At Maxwell Tribeca, members will have their own liquor lockers and can make their own drinks. It will offer memberships starting at $1K with a monthly fee of $250.
According to Nation’s Restaurant New, Fort Lauderdale-based fast-casual chain Chick’nCone, which sells chicken tenders in waffle cones, has already begun selling NFTs that amount to an ownership stake in the business. For $14,500 apiece, the chain is selling “Chick’nCoins” that entitle owners to profits in a certain geographical region.
For each region, 50% of initial franchise fees plus 2% of sales in the territory for six years would be set aside as profits for the coin holders. A limited number of tokens would be available for each area.
A Chick’nCone’s franchise fee is $45K, and most of the regions can accommodate three to five franchises. However, it’s possible no franchise could ever open in a coin holder’s region.
In other restaurant NFT news, a company called Lunchbox created a "virtual restaurant" — an animated rendering of a restaurant — and sold it to a business partner. Other companies like McDonald's and Taco Bell have experimented with using NFTs in rewards programs, similar to collectible baseball cards.