Set to open in 2023, Flyfish Club, or FFC, is eschewing traditional capital fundraising efforts and instead turning to the blockchain to find investors for a new restaurant and members-only club concept. Inspired by the success of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), of which Vaynerchuk is a “minting member,” holding Bored Apes #1452, #7912 and #8106, Flyfish Club is taking a similar tack to membership and breaking away from familiar restaurant economic models to sell FFC memberships solely as non-fungible tokens. Following a small pre-sale in December 2021, a little over a thousand Flyfish Club NFTs were made available in January 2022 on the Ethereum blockchain. Each FFC token grants the NFT holder a membership in the restaurant-club-community space. The first run of membership-NFTs sold out in under a minute on the OpenSea marketplace, raising, combined with the December sale, a total of $14 million.
New York-based VCR Group is behind the NFT-fueled private dining initiative, and VCR Group will earn royalties each time the membership tokens are traded, transferred, bought, sold and even leased on either the primary or secondary market. Given that the Flyfish Club won’t open until 2023, there will likely be a decent amount of resale and speculation on OpenSea, all adding to the capital base the Flyfish Club team can draw from when realizing their vision, which is still just in the letter-of-intent phase as they shop around Manhattan for the perfect space.
VCR Group, which bills itself as differentiated restaurant and hospitality concept operator, is made up of chairman Gary Vaynerchuk, restaurateur David Rodolitz who serves as CEO and was also the founding partner of Empellon Restaurant Group, and chief culinary officer chef and television personality Josh Capon. The group takes its name from the first letter of each of the founders’ last names, and also operates Ito in TriBeCa, an omakase style restaurant led by Michelin Star chef Masa Ito and Kevin Kim.
Flyfish Club, as one might expect given the name, will be a seafood-focused restaurant with globally influenced cuisine. The restaurant will just be one part of the planned 10,000-square-foot dining club. The space will also offer members a cocktail bar, outdoor space, private dining and an exclusive omakase room that will require a separate and even more limited Flyfish Omakase NFT to access. Masa Ito, from VCR’s other restaurant concept, will serve as the sushi master at Flyfish Club as well.
Unlike most other member clubs, FFC doesn’t have a recurring annual membership fee, simply the upfront cost of purchasing a Flyfish NFT is enough to secure and maintain membership and authenticate ownership. VCR Group hopes to create a members community focused around food and beverage, wrapped in cryptocurrency. To keep NFT holders engaged with the project while the group sources and develops the eventual location, Flyfish club will be hosting a year of both digital and IRL events for its token-holders.
This article originally appeared in the PSFK report, Growing the Value of Customer Communities.