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Daily news and analysis about the food tech revolution
Over the past year, we’ve seen a rush of enthusiastic entrepreneurs and restaurant-adjacent operators announce initiatives to help onboard the world of dining into the world of web3.
How’s it going so far? Let’s just say it may take some time.
I decided to check in on some of the early efforts and see how things are going. Here’s what I found.
FriesDAO flew out of the gate, pooling $5.4 million through an NFT sale that the DAO hoped to use to buy or invest in a fast food restaurant. How are they doing?
Things look to be slow-going. Reviewing some of the announcements made via the DAO’s Discord, the group began exploring potentially working with Bored & Hungry to open a second location in June. Those talks don’t seem to have progressed very far. The group also began exploring potential deals to acquire or start a new franchise with a few franchise operators, including a Jersey Mike’s owner. In early August, the FriesDAO admin team announced that the Jersey Mike’s owner they had been in conversation with is no longer looking to sell.
Bored & Hungry
And what about Bored & Hungry, the crypto-centric restaurant that launched in April of this year after restaurant operator Andy Nguyen decided to create a Bored Apes-themed restaurant using one of his Apes (Bored Ape #6184) as the central character?
After garnering lots of early buzz, the restaurant continues to plug along even after the late spring/early summer crypto crash. While there were some reports that the restaurant had stopped accepting crypto as payments, Nguyen called the reports ‘fake news’ and the restaurant continues to do brisk business (with even the occasional Snoop Dog sighting).
Late last year, BurgerDAO launched with the hopes of starting a completely Web3-centric burger franchise from scratch. The idea was to raise funds via an NFT drop and partner with a ghost kitchen operator to launch the BurgerDAO initially as a virtual restaurant, with long-term plans to create an IRL physical BurgerDAO location.
Big plans, but according to BurgerDAO founder Al Chen, real life has gotten in the way. On April 1st, Chen sent a message on Discord letting the community know the founders have run into more roadblocks than expected and are also pretty busy with their regular lives.
“…life just got in the way. We both have full-time jobs, families, and all the same shit you all deal with on a day-to-day basis. Long story short, we haven’t had as much time as earlier in the year to devote to pushing things forward on the project.”
Chen made it clear that they haven’t given up on the idea and are optimistic about BurgerDAO, but at this point, hasn’t made any additional announcements.
Devour isn’t a restaurant concept itself but instead a collection of different platforms that aim to help bring the world of restaurants into Web3. The group is creating its own blockchain token called DevourPAY, which it hopes will become the preferred token of the restaurant industry, and has launched a series of membership NFTs called the Industry Collection. They’ve launched their initial token offering through an ILO (initial liquidity offering) this week and are planning to launch a web3 food marketplace called DevourGO in September.
At this point, it’s too soon to tell how things are going with Devour, but they certainly look busy as they ramp up a bunch of different interlocking components of what they call an ecosystem. The group has something like 5 or 6 different websites, and for a restaurant operator not really accustomed to the world of web3, I have to wonder if the sheer amount of various offerings Devour is throwing out there is a bit overwhelming and confusing.
Brightloom’s Web3 Services
Adam Brotman, CEO of Brightloom, brings some digital payment street cred to the table as the guy who’s credited as the driving force behind Starbucks’ digital ordering initiative. So it wasn’t all that surprising when the company announced they were creating a web3 consulting business to help restaurant operators ease into the world of web3, especially after Brotman started making the rounds early this year talking about the potential of web3 for restaurants.
The announcement came after The Spoon had uncovered that Starbucks had brought Brotman in to advise on their move into NFTs (Brightloom has been careful not to make any announcements about being involved with Starbucks’ effort). At this point, it isn’t clear how much of the web3 push from Brightloom is simply Brotman pushing his own consulting services (he has a separate consulting group called Forum3 on his Linkedin) vs Brightloom trying to become a key player for restaurant web3.
So what do I think after checking in on some web3 restaurant initiatives? Mainly that things are going kinda slow. The crypto crash no doubt took some steam out of web3’s food service sails, but I also think that the world of dining just isn’t quite ready for this transition.
Everyday diners just want to eat and probably are confused by any mention of NFTs or a DAO. The same can probably be said for the vast majority of restaurant operators. And while platform-builders like Devour and Brightloom (and others who have made noise like Lunchbox and Nextbite) are building tools to make things easier for everyone, the reality is infrastructure building is arduous and time-consuming.
Bottom line: The world of web3 may eventually merge with restaurant dining, but don’t expect it to happen quickly.

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