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Big changes are coming at Starbucks. Or at least, to Starbucks’ virtual platforms. The coffee chain is just the latest of many big brands to hop on the NFT bandwagon. Coca-Cola, Addidas, Gucci, and Nike have already jumped into the NFT waters, according to the International Business Times. Not to mention that Maker’s Mark just jumped on the NFT bandwagon. NFTs are non-fungible tokens that can stand in for real objects like buildings and which can’t be reproduced (via Investopedia). In the food sphere, they’re being picked up increasingly by chain restaurants as an add-on to their existing loyalty programs (as per The Spoon).
Where restaurants are concerned, NFTs are often used to access special privileges or unique experiences (via NFT Evening). That being said, the NFT can be a unique experience itself, as they are considered digital collectibles. When bought out of pocket, NFTs can be a pretty pricey collectible. Canadian singer and apparent artist Grimes sold a collection of NFTs on blockchain platform Nifty Gateway for $5.8 million early last year (via Business Insider). That being so, playing up restaurant loyalty programs and fast food NFT drops may be the best way for most of us to engage in this new hobby. And Starbucks is hoping people will want to do just that.

The exact date when Starbucks’ PSL will return in 2022 is no longer the only thing for Starbucks fans to get excited about this September. On September 13, Starbs will be unveiling the details of its new NFT-based rewards program. The announcement will be made at the company’s annual Investor Day. Based on statements made by Starbucks founder and interim CEO Howard Schultz during a recent quarterly earnings call with investors, it seems, more accurately, that Starbucks will be using NFTs to build on its existing loyalty program (via TechCrunch).
This would not be the first instance of a restaurant chain turning NFTs into customer perks. Restaurant Business reports that Applebee’s launched a “Metaverse Mondays” campaign that included the sale of digital art. For $25, the owner not only got a technicolor burger but a $1,300 gift card. According to Quartz, Taco bell and Domino’s also hope to turn NFTs into loyalty points.
Schultz stated that Starbucks expects the new NFT-revamped rewards to “attract new customers,” and “expand our digital third place community,” under the auspice that collecting these Starbucks-branded digital collectibles and the real-world privileges some may represent will foster a virtual community. In addition to virtual merch, the new NFT revamp is intended to “[offer] a broader set of rewards, including one-of-a-kind experiences.” While the full plan will be revealed next month, there’s no word yet on when it will go into effect in the (virtual) real world.


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