As NFTs continue to gain momentum as new avenues of revenue for the hospitality industry, it was only a matter of time before a digital assets marketplace built for restaurants popped up. New York City-based Front of House claims to be the first NFT marketplace for independent restaurants.
At launch, Front of House has eight operator partners, selling NFTs that do everything from offering “skip the line” passes to allowing the NFT holder to pre-order doughnuts. Unlike many other notable NFTs in the restaurant industry, Front of House’s partners appear to be targeting a less wealthy demographic than Brooklyn Chop House’s lounge selling NFT memberships for thousands of dollars each. On the Front of House marketplace, digital artwork is more likely to cost $100-$200 each.
“We’re trying to frame it as more as a digital collectible and get away from the ‘get rich quick’ mentality and make it more about capturing the digital experience of being a regular at your favorite restaurant,” Front of House cofounder Phil Toronto said.
Here’s how it works: it’s free for restaurants to list their NFTs on the marketplace, but it’s an 80/20 profit sharing partnership, where Front of House gets 20% of the profits on NFTs sold. Each NFT is different and while restaurant operators can choose to upload their own designs, Front of House works with designers that can create an image to represent the NFT. Toronto said that overall, he wants to be a resource to operators, not just a typical listing site.
"We'll help them with every aspect of it that they want help with,” he said. “We’re not a faceless marketplace. We want to help them and say things like, ‘hey, have you thought about doing a pre order for sweatshirts?’”
Toronto thinks the NFT marketplace is a unique opportunity for restaurant brands to cash in on their recognizable IP and make extra revenue that doesn’t just come from customers coming in to order a meal.
“This is a much more cost-effective way to kind of discover some found money, which is especially useful in a post-COVID world,” he said.
Launch partner restaurants include Wildair (an American style restaurant that will be attaching the doughnut pre-order feature to its NFT) and Dame (and English seafood restaurant that is offering the skip the line feature for NFT-holders). Other upcoming partners include Rosella, Niche Niche and Tokyo Record Bar, Emmett’s on Grove, Hanoi House, and The Sussman’s.
In the future Front of House NFTs hopes to expand to more locales beyond New York City, and possibly open up their own restaurant one day.
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