Cryptocurrency payments are making their way into the restaurant industry

As the use of cryptocurrency gains steam, some Tampa Bay restaurants have started accepting the form of payment.

As the crypto scene gains traction in Florida, more industries are cashing in on the hype. Here in Tampa Bay, some restaurants have already future-proofed their businesses by accepting payments in the form of virtual coins. Among the restaurants are Gabe Schmitz and Tina Yeung’s 3 Keys Brewing, and two of Nick Pappas’ Oldsmar establishments, Beachwood Seafood Kitchen & Bar and Flamestone American Grill.

But first: why cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies designed to prevent counterfeiting and fraud. Crypto comes with a built-in ledger system, a database called the blockchain, which stores a record of every currency transaction ever made. Records on the blockchain are accessible to everyone, which allows crypto users to track the movement of any money they spend. Popular mainstream cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin.

Aside from secure transactions, there are other benefits for both the merchant and the consumer. For one, transaction fees on crypto payments tend to be cheaper than banking fees. They can also make your establishment more accessible to consumers who have cryptocurrencies. Say for instance you want to cater to younger diners, like millennials. Yahoo! Finance points out that 49% of this particular generation (people aged between 25 and 40), already own cryptocurrency, which is more than any other generation. You can attract this target market, or accommodate their preferences, by providing them with the option of paying with crypto.

In fact, many restaurant groups are already leveraging crypto payments, such as Yum Brands, which operates fast food chains KFC and Taco Bell. And the following Tampa Bay restaurants are also jumping on the bandwagon, too:

3 Keys Brewery and Eatery

Tampa Bay breweries know how to change with the times. Our article on how ‘Tampa Bay Craft Breweries Show Resilience’ celebrates the ways local breweries have managed to stay strong despite the current economic struggles. 3 Keys Brewing started accepting payments in Dogecoin last April to try to appeal to new demographics.

As explained by personal finance website AskMoney, Dogecoin has become a very popular cryptocurrency. Although Dogecoin was originally pitched as a joke currency, the sheer number of people willing to back the coin caused its popularity — and subsequently, its value — to skyrocket. With celebrities like Guy Fieri, Snoop Dogg, and Elon Musk endorsing it, Dogecoin has become one of the most competitive cryptocurrencies in the market.

At 3 Keys Brewing, customers can scan a QR code to use Dogecoin as payment for drinks and meals. According to the establishment’s general manager, Tom Desiato, this additional payment method has helped the restaurant adapt to the current economic times.

FlameStone American Grill and Beachwood Seafood Kitchen & Bar

When it comes to cryptocurrencies, Nick Pappas is ahead of the curve. The Oldsmar-based entrepreneur started accepting crypto in his restaurants back in 2014, when his restaurant FlameStone American Grill started accepting Bitcoin. FlameStone American Grill recently started accepting Ethereum and Dogecoin, too. Its newer sister restaurant, also owned by Pappas, started to accept cryptocurrencies as well.

Customers can make their payments through the mobile cryptocurrency app BitPay. This app converts all cryptocurrencies deposited to the restaurant into Bitcoin, which allows FlameStone to accept different types of payments while still keeping a single currency. Most of the restaurant’s digital assets never get converted to cash. According to Pappas, this is so they can normalize using crypto as payment. Many of their vendors are beginning to accept virtual currencies as well; so paying for supplies with Bitcoin means they stay within a digital eco-system, which is helping to drive their business and day-to-day transactions.

Although cryptocurrencies have their own set of risks, the general populace is beginning to help improve the currency’s stability. With big establishments like Tesla showing their support for virtual currencies, their popularity will only continue to grow, thus allowing smaller establishments to benefit by expanding their payment options, and appealing to new markets in the process.

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