Why NFTs make perfect sense for restaurant industry

NFTs for restaurants could create: 1. Market liquidity for reservations 2. Dynamic pricing 3. Potential sentimental value

NFTs may actually make a lot of sense for the restaurant industry (thread)
One emerging use case for NFTs is (an evolution of) ticketing Buying an NFT can get often the owner backstage access at concerts, an invite to a party, or VIP treatment – all essentially forms of tickets
Reservations are a lot like tickets: 1. There are marketplaces for these “tickets” (OpenTable :: Ticketmaster) 2. There’s often a limited number of spots
Yet reservations are different from tickets in that most currently don’t require any sort of upfront payment and there’s very little differentiation in pricing (e.g., Saturday night vs. Friday midday) But what if reservations were more like concert tickets? NFTs could help…
NFTs for restaurants could create: 1. Market liquidity for reservations 2. Dynamic pricing 3. Potential sentimental value
Benefit #1: Market liquidity How many times have you made a reservation, only to cancel last minute? It’s annoying for both you and the restaurant. And if you had to put down a deposit, that’s money down the drain
NFTs might fix this. NFT-ing reservations creates a re-sellable ticket, which enables: 1. The restaurant to more easily charge an upfront deposit (i.e., secure some cash flows from the spot) 2. Reserving parties to avoid losses if they aren’t able to attend
This is great for customers Ever been in a city (say, NYC) on a Saturday night and wanted to go out to dinner, but no restaurants had spots? That doesn’t mean every spot was full – some parties could have canceled last minute, but the restaurant wouldn’t have known ahead of time
Now imagine a party had listed their NFT for sale earlier in the day, knowing there was little chance they’d make it to dinner. The two customer groups – the buyers + the sellers – could both benefit: one recoups their deposit and the other gets a last-minute spot. Win-win
Benefit #2: Dynamic pricing, which ties into market liquidity Restaurants probably know a Saturday night dinner reservation is more popular than a Tuesday lunch reservation. But how much more popular is hard to quantify
By making seats biddable, NFTs enable restaurants to see how much customers value a table at a given time/day
Benefit #3: Sentimental value After dining, the NFT could transform into a POAP – a token of the experience, in the same way one might save a cork from a bottle of wine shared with friends Regular reservations can’t do this, but NFTs can
Whenever my sister and I came home from college, there was a Mexican restaurant in our town we would always go to. It was a tradition for us. I’d value having a digital record/display of every time we visited – it’s about the memories more than it is about the tech
“But doesn’t this just add to the total cost of going out to eat?” Well, it doesn’t have to. The amount paid for the NFT could be used as a credit toward the meal. The only time the customer loses money is if they buy the NFT (reservation) and then don’t attend
These NFTs don’t have to be expensive – they could easily go for $20, not $2k. (Importantly, that means gas costs would have to be negligible – so either built on a low-fee blockchain OR wait until eth L2s are ready)
Admittedly, suggesting this is a good use case for NFTs might be a hammer looking for a nail But it could actually be a good idea, for all of the reasons above (certainty for the restaurant, dynamic pricing, a market for unused reservations, sentimental value, etc.)
This is also an area a third-party could provide a lot of value-add by designing, aggregating, and listing reservation NFTs. Services that help restaurants with the logistics (like OpenTable) and let restaurants focus on being restaurants can be incredibly useful
Finally, if you liked this thread, please let me know! I’ve been thinking a lot about how NFTs can be used as new business models (beyond art & music) and would be happy to write more if people seem interested

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