Multi-brand restaurant retailer brings bitcoin to loyalty space

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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An operator of numerous restaurant chains is integrating bitcoin into its loyalty offering.

The operator of restaurant banners including Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Rainforest Café is launching a bitcoin loyalty rewards program.

Landry’s Inc. is partnering with bitcoin company NYDig to provide a bitcoin offering for members of the company’s Landry’s Select Club loyalty rewards program. This partnership will allow Landry's Select Club members to earn bitcoin points when dining at any of its 500 locations nationwide, with the potential benefit for participating members to obtain higher value for their points based on bitcoin appreciation over time. The offering will be supported by NYDig’s secure, regulated, full-stack cryptocurrency platform.

The Landry's Select Club program currently offers one point back for every $1 spent, with 250 points translating to a $25 reward. Customers that opt into the new bitcoin loyalty program can receive points that track the value of bitcoin and can be redeemed in $25 reward increments, based on the market price of bitcoin at the time they redeem. All bitcoin loyalty points may only be redeemed for Landry's Select Club rewards and will not be transferrable outside of the program.

To support the program, Landry's will invest in bitcoin through NYDig's custody solution. Beyond managing the program, Landry's also said it plans to hold a portion of its treasury reserves in bitcoin through NYDig. The partnership extends an existing relationship between NYDig and Landry’s owner Tilman J. Fertitta, following the launch of bitcoin-backed loans at his Houston-based automobile dealership, Post Oak Motor Cars.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are increasingly becoming an accepted form of retail payment, although Landry’s is adding a new dimension by integrating bitcoin into its loyalty program. Mastercard recently collaborated with digital asset platform Bakkt to enable crypto-as-a-service, which will enable any retailer on its network to take payments in the form of bitcoin.

Meanwhile, Pacsun recently became the first major brand in the fashion and retail space to accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies using blockchain payment provider BitPay. And retailers including Newegg and Camping World also partner with BitPay to engage in cryptocurrency transactions. Sheetz is the first convenience store retailer to accept payments via bitcoin, utilizing technology from NCR and Flexa.

"Hospitality is the core of what we do, and offering great new options is an essential component of hospitality.  We view bitcoin as a good choice for a portion of our own treasury, so we want to offer that choice to our customers as well," said Trey Zeluff, director of digital asset strategy at Landry's. "We're proud to pioneer this concept for the hospitality industry in partnership with NYDig." 

"We are thrilled to partner again with the Fertitta family to bring our bold vision to life," said Patrick Sells, CIO at NYDig. "Fundamentally, this partnership represents a huge milestone towards making Bitcoin more accessible to all and allows for everyone to benefit from this asset class in more ways."

Houston-based Landry's restaurants include over 500 locations of more than 60 brands, including Landry’s Seafood, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Rainforest Café, Chart House, Mitchell's Fish Market Restaurants, The Oceanaire, McCormick & Schmick's Seafood, Aquarium Restaurants, Morton's The Steakhouse, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Claim Jumper, and Mastro's Restaurants. Wholly owned by Tilman J. Fertitta, Landry’s parent company is Golden Nugget LLC.