Currently, it can take several weeks to register an account on crypto platforms used to purchase, sell, and trade NFTs. Eck says this waiting period is a major hurdle for those wanting to break into the space, and that’s part of the reason why The Halal Guys initial venture into the metaverse is mostly experimental.
“It’s going to be a unique challenge,” he says of blending the restaurant world with the metaverse. “This initial introduction of the NFT will be exploratory to help us better understand how our guests, how are fans received the NFT. But I think the possibilities in the future are essentially endless. As more and more people find and use this technology and have an interest in it, it will become more accessible. I think the utility and value to us as marketers is only going to increase.”
Eck sees NFTs acting as keys to unlock access to special offerings from brands, like secret menu items. He adds there is room for owners to become ambassadors and use NFTs to promote brands on social media.
Perhaps most importantly, Eck feels NFTs reach a younger demographic, and that is always a major goal of marketing campaigns. The executive says promoting a “cool factor” goes a long way when trying to engage millennial and Gen Z consumers.
“It keeps people talking about the concept and keeps you top of mind where an immediate competitor hasn’t stepped into the space,” he says. “I could definitely see [NFTs] as being a competitive advantage for a brand that’s competing with other concepts that have a younger consumer base.”
In the immediate future, Eck says NFTs will continue to be used as marketing tools and not forms of payment because it would require a major overhaul of accounting systems. However, younger, more tech-centric brands might attempt such a feat.
“I think some of the more progressive, forward thinking concepts will likely find unique ways to innovate and become more involved in that world,” he says. “However, I don’t see there being a ton of acceptance in the next two to three years outside of the marketing side.”
Still, Eck and the team at The Halal Guys have their ears to the (meta)ground and are monitoring the space to make sure they don’t miss out on the next digital craze.
“Members on my team have a pretty strong interest in the space,” he says. “There has been a fair amount of due diligence on that side to better understand it … I wouldn’t say that we’re far enough down the path just yet, but I would say everything is imminent.”