Which came first, the restaurant franchise or the technology that built the franchise? At Chick’nCone, it’s about as hard to crack as the mystery of the chicken and the egg.
Jonathan Almanzar is the CEO and co-founder of Chick’nCone, a restaurant chain with dozens of locations around the world. He sees his restaurant as a “tech company that sells chicken” and his innovative tech ideas are transforming the restaurant industry.
“Technology is simply about using scientific knowledge for practical purposes,” he explains. “In the restaurant industry, we are harnessing the power of NFTs to engage our customer base and facilitate franchise growth.”
Behind the “tech company” serving chicken
Almanzar started Chick’nCone in 2014 as a family business where his children and community could work. “I grew up in Crowley, Colorado, one of the poorest counties in the United States,” says Almanzar. “Until you Google Crowley County or visit it yourself, you have no idea what that means. I believe the cosmos does a great job of distributing talent so on the planet, but not such a good job of spreading opportunities evenly.We tried to close that gap at Chick’nCone by hiring the majority of our corporate team from Crowley.
Chick’nCone’s menu is tantalizingly simple: crispy chicken tenderloins tossed with savory sauces such as Kick’n Ranch, Yella BBQ and Cinna-Maple, all served in hand-rolled waffle cones. This delicious combination is unique in the restaurant space and is gaining notoriety. The growing chain appeared on The Food Network’s The best thing I’ve ever eaten and Carnival Eats. It has also been featured on The Weather Channel, Buzzfeed and Fox News. Most recently, Chick’nCone was included on the QSR 40/40 list for 2022 as a brand that is poised to be “the next big thing”.
Despite the growing popularity of the franchise, Almanzar does not rely solely on delicious recipes. “We’re competing with every franchise concept on the planet,” he notes. “What differentiates us from others is our willingness to take risks by embracing technology and innovation.”
Almanzar first took notice of NFTs as the NBA and Top Shots teamed up to drop a series of digital tokens with exclusive fan benefits in October 2020. “I couldn’t help but notice the buzz surrounding the possibilities of NFTs right now,” he said. “I loved the idea of being able to own something existing on the blockchain, and it got me thinking about ways to bring the technology to Chick’nCone.”
After intense brainstorming, the Chick’nCone team designed a series of digital tokens called Chick’nCoin. Each of the 862 tokens represents a geographic region where a Chick’nCone franchise currently operates or may soon open. Anyone who holds a Chick’nCoin earns 50% of the franchise fee when a Chick’nCone is opened in their area. They also collect 2% of sales from this region for the first six years.
The current cost of opening a franchise with Chick’nCone is around $45,000. Almanzar says most areas can accommodate up to five restaurants. If the Chick’nCoin represents a region that already has a restaurant in operation, token holders start receiving 2% of that location’s monthly sales.
Chick’ncoin is available for purchase on the restaurant’s website and on OpenSea. The cost to mint a Chick’nCoin is 3.5 ETH, and each mint gives the buyer a Chick’nCoin representing a randomly chosen geographic region. If buyers want to choose their region specifically, the cost is $19,500. For a 10% fee, Chick’nCoin holders can sell their tokens on the OpenSea marketplace at any time.
As hundreds of restaurants closed due to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, like most in the fast food category, Chick’nCone opened 26 new locations.
This concept incorporates all the elements that attract investors and entrepreneurs to the future of a blockchain economy. “The project re-engaged us with our community,” says Almanzar. “These NFTs are an incredible opportunity. We are already developing other NFT projects with different kinds of utilities and benefits for our customers. We will post more as we prepare them. “