How Fast Food Chains Can Use Web3 To Drive Growth

Hannah Scherwatzky

Several fast food chains have launched NFT campaigns since they first got popular in early 2021. Some were successful, some were flops, some are still ongoing. Let’s dissect a few case studies of fast food NFT drops, and see how the web2→web3 world can learn from them.

1. Taco Bell

Taco Bell was one of the first big brands to launch NFTs back with Rarible back in March 2021. Their 25-piece collection is focused on creative illustrations of its menu staples like the crunchy taco. All revenue generated from the drop was donated to its Live Más Scholarship through the Taco Bell Foundation.

One user spent as much as 10 Ether for the goodie bag. Original owners of the official Taco Bell NFT were also granted access to a $500 electronic Taco Bell gift card.

Taco Bell was early to the game, and for that we thank them. I love the concept of attaching electronic gift cards to NFTs. It would be interesting to have the NFT smart contract address represent a perpetual identification number for a gift card that you can replenish over time, so when people buy or sell your NFT, it has a $$ value on the gift card.

Then you can play around with perks and benefits for card holders. So many ways to engage.

2. Burger King

Burger King took their web3 strategy a little deeper. They placed QR codes on their Keep It Real Meals, and customers received collectible game pieces.

Each box contained one of three NFT game pieces, and when a customer successfully collected all three, they programmatically received a fourth NFT that included a special prize. The prize ranged from something as simple as a 3D digital collectible or as exciting as free Whopper sandwiches for a year or autographed merch.

I think having small to grand prizes is a great way to attract a mass audience. You want to offer something really special for a low entry price in the same way a lottery attracts millions of participants. Only with NFTs, you get to keep your ticket on-chain.

3. McDonald’s

Mickey D’s allowed its China branch to release 188 NFTs last year as part of a giveaway. The “Big Mac Rubik’s Cube” NFT was a bit unique due to the nature of Chinese regulations. It was built on the Conflux Network blockchain.

Admittedly, this is only a half-commitment from McDonald’s and their venture into NFTs. We’d love to see McDonald’s dabble a little deeper with their iconic Big Mac and notorious McRib.

4. Starbucks

Boasting one of the most popular customer loyalty cards in the world, Starbucks incorporated NFTs into its reward program this month. Starbucks will be one of the first major loyalty programs to launch a web3 campaign at scale. The hope is that it will allow new ways for customers to engage with members and partners.

I am really excited about the Starbucks NFT play because it shows the evolution of the space into legitimate real-world use cases, one of the biggest criticisms of NFTs today.

Would Love to See An NFT From Popeyes

Popeyes Chicken Sandwich.0

Popeyes signature chicken sandwich has been a fan favorite for over three years now. And despite its parent company Burger King launching an NFT project in 2021, Popeyes showed no interest in dropping an NFT tweeting “WE’RE NOT ON THAT WAVE”.

Still, it wouldn’t be the first time a major brand or artist turned their nose up at NFTs and ended up launching one. So I’m going to say it anyway: I would love to see the famed Popeyes chicken sandwich memorialized on the blockchain.

If I were Popeyes, I would snapshot all existing app users and email them with a free chicken sandwich NFT backed by a QR code. Customers would then go to the store to show their QR code and get their free sandwich.

After using the QR code and claiming their sandwich, users would be able to reveal their NFT art. Break up the art into 12 tiers. Tier 12 = one free sandwich a year, Tier 1 = one free sandwich a month. Get it?

Just like how Uber Eats partnered with American Express to allow $10 credit that refreshes every month (if you don’t lose you lose it), Popeyes could allow NFT holders to claim their free sandwich using the app and claiming ownership of different NFT tiers.

And guess what? Literally anyone who knows how to use mobile apps and emails would be able to participate. You wouldn’t even have to call it an NFT, it could just be one. And that seems to be where the technology is headed anyway.

Main Takeaways on Fast Food NFTs

A lot of fast food brands are dabbling in the web3, but very few (if any) have really gone all-out to include NFTs as a key component of their marketing strategy. The latest move by Starbucks is probably the loudest campaign we’ve seen so far. Time will tell if it pays off.

We’re excited to see how more brands will continue to use web3 as the novelty of the terminology and technology itself fades away. I think it will become even more powerful when brands stop obsessing with launching NFTs for the sake of it, and rather find new and creative ways to provide value for the customers that make their business profitability possible.

The core tenet of web3 is to level the playing field and create give-and-take relationships with your customers beyond just money for products and services. NFTs were never intended to be a new revenue stream on their own. It should create deeper, longer-lasting relationships with customers that can lead to more revenue in the medium-to-long term.

But it shouldn’t be a short-sighted money grab. Even if your intentions are clear, it is much more difficult to captivate the market this way. Looking forward to seeing how more brands will leverage NFTs without saying NFTs in the future.

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