Wherein we consider how restaurants and guests could both benefit by following Friend.tech's lead
Introducing a pricing curve for memberships would bring on lots of second order effects. When money is involved people will inevitably try to game the system. As we see with friend.tech, there will be bots that will instantly snap up keys once they come online. Additionally, allowing speculation will inevitably lead to bubbles where people will lose money and get a bad taste from the experience (see most NFT projects).
Gertrude's selling 60k in memberships with no ability or promise to resell is a nice proof of concept for customer demand. People love their local restaurants and value status when they go there. How to best reward and incentivize these people is an interesting question.
Really interesting thought piece. From the user perspective you can incentivize early adopters, provide a way for loyal users to invest in the growing success of a restaurant, and get insider benefits, but from a restaurant perspective, there's a fair amount of risk to consider.
Restaurants are already riding on thin-margins, the additional overhead of understanding these curves and managing the downside risk of speculation and dumps could be over the heads of most dining entities. When things are going well, they go well until they don't. Perhaps this is a new role in this crazy world (digital revenue mgmt).
Maybe approaching it from the restaurant's north star could inform the outcome better. Does this technology fundamentally allow restaurants to better serve their patrons and fans? Just like how you guys kicked off with Gertrude, we can only know better with experimentation.
Judging from the Empire podcast with Ben it seems like all these ideas around giving consumers ownership of the memberships have been shelved. I understand some of the risks with letting them into the open market, but kind of lame how "your" NFT is essentially just something Blackbird shows you in the app with none of the novel use cases and composability possible.
Fascinating take. I think it would be important to ensure that restaurants are protected from the downside. I remember reading about the SHŌ Restaurant in SF and their ultimate demise. It appears that you’re more focused on augmenting existing restaurants which I firmly believe is a better approach.
Ultimately the use case for such technology provides immense opportunities. I currently live on the same block as my favorite restaurant - I’d buy their NFT in a heartbeat and will remain an avid supporter. For all the Berkeley folks reading this - imagine owning a Top Dog NFT that lets you get access to hotdogs faster at 2am by bypassing that line…
Building on what Frank said, building revenue in a loyalty program is not new. Airlines are notorious for having thin (often times negative) margin yet the loyalty membership component remains a cash cow. It would be amazing to see this mechanism adopted for restaurants.
P.S Hey Frank! We should’ve gotten coffee last week. Next time :)