Starting in April, if you cruise through Long Beach, California, you may notice a disaffected simian staring back at you from a glowing restaurant sign. The primate is part of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, which is arguably the best-known project in its industry. It has become so famous that it is now inspiring an eatery called Bored & Hungry, which is coming soon to Southern California.
The brains behind this operation belong to Andy Nguyen, a restauranteur with a knack for viral marketing. After observing the chaotic secondary market created by the Bored Ape collection, Nguyen “finally jumped in” and purchased a primate for himself. On Opensea, prices for Bored Apes range between $200,000 and $300,000.
Nguyen’s digital collectible will be his “in” to the exclusive community of Bored Ape buyers, and he will use Bored & Hungry to give back to those enthusiasts. Bored Ape holders will be invited to dine at the restaurant’s opening night, and Nguyen wants to put a crypto ATM into the store. However, for now, patrons won’t be able to buy their burgers with cryptocurrencies, so make sure to bring cash or card if you pay Bored & Hungry a visit.
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Ultimately, Nguyen appears to be most interested in the marketing benefits of NFT ownership. He will sell items from his other restaurants, including the multi-patty Trill Burger and the plant-based Beleaf Better Burger, out of his new storefront.
“It’s a pop culture phenomenon right now, the Bored Ape Yacht Club,” Nguyen said. “You could be anywhere in the world, and people will still know what a Bored Ape is. I think this is a brand that has proven in a short amount of time that they will be a strong brand for a very long time.”
Digital media is forming close ties with the food and drink industry, as indicated by the trend of influencer-led dining concepts. NFTs breed large internet communities that create social media buzz, but the tokens also engender an air of exclusivity that can be appealing to restauranteurs. An upcoming seafood spot in Manhattan will require patrons to hold NFTs if they want to enter, and that gated entry will give the restaurant a “dinner club” feel.
So there’s a lot you can do with NFTs in the food biz, and Nguyen figures to be at the forefront of that innovation. He said his purchase of a Bored Ape is “only the beginning” of his Web3 ambition.