Dave & Buster’s Enters ‘NFT’ Craze With New Digital Image Prize Offer

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Restaurant and entertainment chain Dave & Buster’s announced Wednesday (June 9) that its new Digital Collectibles Prize program will allow customers to redeem tickets won for non-fungible token (NFT) collectible coin and card designs.

“The world is becoming more digital. We’ve seen it in all facets of life — digital disruption is happening everywhere,” Pete Thornfield, vice president of brand marketing at Dave & Buster’s, told PYMNTS in an interview. “So as we think about this, the collectibles marketplace has benefited from this disruption through the NFT technology … We’re excited to be on the forefront of offering NFT digital collectibles in our WIN! prize store. So we’ll be among the first to do this if not the first to do it.”

The NFT launch is part of Dave & Buster’s “Summer of DING DING DING” campaign, kicking off as the majority of Americans have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and with many looking to return to indoor experiences that will satisfy their pent-up demand for excitement and connection.

The NFT Opportunity

At the start of 2021, the phrase “NFT” was just a combination of letters. Now, non-fungible tokens are popping up all over the internet, implemented by businesses ranging from eBay to Sotheby’s.

NFTs of course remain a fairly new tool, one that most consumers may still need to have explained to them by teenage relatives and “Saturday Night Live” sketches. However, Thornfield points out that consumers are already adopting these digital collectibles in certain areas. He cites the NBA’s Top Shot NFT marketplace as an example. For Dave & Buster’s, the NFTs will “be gamified,” and they will “potentially have trade value.”

“We’re really looking towards the mainstream aspect of where we think digital collectibles are going,” said Thornfield. “It’s something that’s early in the process, but we think consumers are going there, and we feel good about our offering and being at the forefront of it.”

The collectibles will be acquired and sold through NFT platform Sweet, which, Thornfield explained, “has a bit of a vision to make NFT collectibles more mainstream.”

Digitally-Enabled Restaurant Experiences

In addition to adding new digital prizes, the chain is also focused on integrating connected technologies throughout the restaurant experience. Thornfield noted that the new digital menu, also announced Wednesday, will be “visually appealing,” “easy to navigate,” and will “lea[d] to an enhanced experience.” He also noted that the company is “leveraging digital marketing channels in much better ways than in the past.”

“David & Buster’s is a great place to come get that winning feeling, and that winning feeling revolves around a social experience,” said Thornfield. “So our digital experiences are designed to … help us deliver that elevated guest experience.”

Returning And Reconnecting

The summer campaign also features new arcade games, many of which went live Monday (June 7), as well as dozens of new menu items and a cross-channel content suite. The launch comes as many local legislatures are lifting indoor restrictions, with some major markets already back to full capacity and others well on their way. New York City, for instance, has been back up to full capacity for weeks, while California is lifting capacity restrictions and social distancing measures on June 15.

Thornfield believes that Dave & Buster’s is “very well positioned with where the guests are headed” and with what they value.

“This past year was a time for a lot of people reset the priorities,” he said, “and I think family, friends, and social experiences are more valued than ever.”

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