A Hooters Franchisee Announced a ‘Cryptocurrency Rewards Program’ and Its Stock Skyrocketed

Ah, cryptocurrency. Man of the hour. Word of the moment. Append “blockchain” to pretty much any phrase of your choosing and you may be anticipating a bounty of capital coming your way. It happened to Long Blockchain,née Long Island Iced Tea, in the middle of last month; the company’s stock doubled upon re-branding.

And it’s precisely what happened to Chanticleer, a Charlotte-based franchisee of nine Hooters locations (as well as a wealth of other burger joints across the country). As reported by Bloomberg on Wednesday, Chanticleer’s stocks soared by a whopping 41 percent on Tuesday following its announcement of its first cryptocurrency-based rewards program for restaurants.

Chanticleer partnered with commerce platform Mobivity Holdings Corp. to create a plan to reward customers with “Mobivity Merit” tokens. “Eating a burger is now a way to mine for cryptocoins!” declared Mobivity CEO Dennis Becker in a press release on Tuesday. “Every meal enjoyed at any Chanticleer Holdings brand will accrue currency for the consumer that can be used for future meals or traded with other consumers. It transforms traditional consumer rewards into something that the consumer can control.”

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It’s a system that allows, as Chanticleer CEO Michael Pruitt explains later on the press release, patrons to exchange cryptocurrency like kids would Pokemon cards—hypothetically, you could trade the “merit” you’d gained after eating at Little Big Burger with a vegan friend who’s dying to gorge on a BGR veggie burger. The companies will begin mounting this in the middle of 2018, and they’re hoping to standardize it across all Chanticleer brands by the end of 2018.

“Two of our brands do not currently have any loyalty program, let alone one that can be utilized between all,” Chanticleer CEO Mike Pruitt wrote MUNCHIES over email on Thursday when asked what this loyalty program offers to patrons of Chanticleer-controlled restaurants that it didn’t before. “We look forward to working with Mobivity in driving revenue.”

Hooters did not respond to immediate request for comment from MUNCHIES on Thursday. “Restaurants, as with most businesses, thrive based on repeat business from existing customers and the slow addition of new customers,” Corey O’Donnell, Mobivity’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, wrote MUNCHIES over email Friday morning. “Typically, restaurants make people aware of their existence through general marketing and advertising, entice visits with coupons or promotional offers, and try to keep you coming back through a loyalty or rewards program. Implementing an open rewards model based on cryptocurrency principles can enhance all three.”

In any event, Chanticleer owns a small sliver of Hooters’ 400 locations in the United States, so it’s not terribly likely to change your dining experience at Hooters at any point soon. Besides, as Grub Street notes, Hooters’ very own existing rewardsprogram seems incompatible with this new blockchain rewards model. The future may be here, but mind the kinks.