Dragonfly will launch a new twist on NFT as loyalty club

The founder of a multi-concept restaurant in New Jersey is launching an NFT project with an innovative spin on the loyalty club trend.

Dragonfly Brands, headquartered in Linden, NJ, operated two units of the Asian comfort dining concept Dragonfly for nearly a decade, until the pandemic forced restaurants to close and the company to rethink the model.

“This was our chance to say okay, we’re on the verge of failure. But now is the time to try,” said founder Ching Ho.

And the experiment they did.

First, the company has completely overhauled the concept of seating and tiered in six to eight additional menus that can both be ordered at the restaurant or exist as independent virtual brands for same-kitchen delivery.

New brands include Hibachi Express, Voodoo Burger, Poke Express, Monster Mac Factory (mac and cheese), and others, including tacos and barbecue products.

But because operating up to eight brands under one roof is a complex process, the next step is to streamline and reduce labor costs, Ho said.

Dragonfly Brands has automated on a number of fronts and brought cute cat-themed robots into dining rooms to assist with hosting, running meals, transporting buses and other tasks. For example, robotics assist the frying process in the kitchen.

These moves have allowed restaurants to roughly double their sales, Ho said. Dragonfly and sister concept Dragonfly Kitchen in nearby Woodbridge, NJ, were making about $2 million to $2.5 million each before the pandemic. He said they now have $10 million to $11 million in volume together and the company is looking to spend more places.

The next step is the Dragonfly NFT project, which is currently on pre-sale as the company prepares for a public launch.

The company’s 250 Dragonfly tokens (worth about $1,945 on Wednesday), currently available for 1 Ethereum, offer entry to a kind of loyalty club where members get $100 monthly credits to the company’s restaurants and virtual brands. A higher tier Supper Club token gives you exclusive access to real-life special events, in addition to monthly credits.

The model looks like a private dining club membership offered by New York City venue Flyfish Club, which is expected to open next year. “However, instead of an unbuilt Flyfish Club, you can use it today,” Ho said.

A consumer purchasing Dragonfly tokens will still suffer in about two years, assuming they use their $100 monthly credit – this shouldn’t be hard with 14 brands and two physical locations available for delivery.

“You build up a very loyal customer that will come back more than once a month,” Ho said.

Selling NFTs, of course, adds another layer of revenue, generating revenue for restaurants. And an NFT holder can resell the token, which also generates royalties.

After testing with their own brands, Dragonfly plans to reach out to other restaurant companies to see if they’d like to join, giving Dragonfly NFT owners access to more brands beyond the 14 within the group.

“If we add 10 more restaurants or even grocery stores, the value of the token will increase,” Ho said.

Dragonfly also plans to develop the community aspect of NFTs with a Discord community for token holders to interact with on this platform.

The past few weeks have been a volatile time for cryptocurrency holders, where Ethereum has lost nearly half of its value.

Ho sees this as a bubble that is about to burst, leaving it “to drive out bad operators and scammers”, leaving “those who try to use technology as intended”.

In the restaurant world, he predicts more companies will turn to more benefit-based NFT offerings like this one. “This is not vaporware,” he said. “Most NFTs out there are pretty scammers.”

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @livetodineout

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