Crypto might be in winter, but blockchain technology in the hospitality space keeps growing and evolving. There is an increasing number of opportunities that blockchain technology provides the hospitality industry — notably the restaurant world.
Blockchain and NFTs could revolutionize supply chain transparency. There are companies, like EZ Labs, that only focus on blockchain solutions — with no cryptocurrency — that give ways of tracking the exact origin of sourced parts in the supply chain to offer security in the finished project. This is tracked on the blockchain so it can’t be falsified. Penfolds is already using this technology for its export of wine to China; wine can be traced on the VeChain blockchain platform. EZ Labs is another example of a blockchain wine-tracking company.
Almost like a certificate of authenticity (but one that can’t be faked), blockchain technology can track and monitor every part of the process, from when it’s picked, bottled and shipped to when it arrives. The touchpoints it moves through are all followed on the blockchain. This is a way of really making sure that the process is secure every step of the way. With 25.8 percent of bottles suggested to be fake according to the Euromonitor 2018 global study on illicit alcohol,it is even more important than ever to make sure the product is genuine. But I think this can go even further.
There are some areas of wine investment that are still woefully behind the times in terms of systems and processes. Legacy systems tend to remain very old-school with big companies doing trading for you. Your wine holding really only exists on paper with faith to the holder. Blockchain technology could give individuals more transparency on their holding and help reduce the risk of fraud.
Blockchain could also help with modernizing the collecting and trading of fine wine, opening it up to those with less capital like what we have seen in the investing world with apps. At the moment, most of the places in which you’re gonna invest require you to put between $5,000 and $8,000 before you even start investing. A lot of them only focus on the biggest brand names, many well over $1,000 a bottle price. If top-end wine and spirit bottles and barrels could be tokenized as NFTs, people could buy and trade far more freely without the need for a wine investment firm. They could trade openly on digital platforms.
For those brands that are selling wines and spirits, this is something that could really revolutionize the process. This could give you a direct line to those customers able to drop tokens for new wines as rewards. This can help with brand loyalty: Think of the airdrops that we see in the crypto space already. It could provide brands with new ways to raise capital directly from those customers who buy its products.
For restaurants, NFTs could replace the way tables are booked. We have already seen many top restaurants like the Fat Duck (Bray, Berkshire, England), Clove Club (London) and Alina (Chicago) sell tickets as prepaid seats. No-shows are currently a major issue for restaurants. The restaurant I work at, Restaurant Story, only has 10 tables; if two do not show, that’s 20 percent down on covers. If tickets were digital, secure NFTs, they could be sold and then traded with ease so that those people who can not make their bookings can sell them on an open market or gift them to friends or family with no hassle.
The main downside here is that there could then be a premium with people reselling. But then again, that’s where the function of the percentage of the resale of the NFT is paid to the restaurant. This means the restaurant does not lose out on the benefit of being so sought-after that people are willing to pay four times the value for the restaurant booking.
The combination of blockchain technology running alongside physical products and services has a whole range of possibilities that are only just being explored.