Fast-casual Asian concept Wow Bao is expanding its footprint in the metaverse with the minting of exclusive Digital CollectaBaos.

An enhancement to its existing point-based Bao Bucks loyalty program, CollectaBaos or “NFTs” give customers access to the new Hot Buns Club where members receive benefits such as 10 percent off online orders and merchandise, double Bao Bucks points and chances to win additional NFTs, free meals and more.

Basically, the tokens, designed by commissioned NFT artist, ManoverMars, aka MoM, are a unique digital membership card for the loyalty program, that can be purchased for $99 dollars a year. 

Last November, Wow Bao laid out its phased web3 strategy which included the NFT-based collectables and far out concepts that have yet to surface, such as metaverse vending machines.

“Wow Bao has always been a pioneer in enhancing the dining experience with technology, forging a path for today’s innovations to become mainstream,” said Geoff Alexander, president & CEO of Wow Bao. “By creating a digital collectable club, Wow Bao is leveling up the everyday loyalty program, and welcoming all diners to the future.”

Wow Bao calls each of its NFT mintings “courses” and, in each course, new perks will be added. While this is an NFT-based loyalty program, the chain is following the trend of swaying from web3 terminology in light of some negative connotation surrounding NFTs in the past year, such as concerns regarding fraud, the environment etc.—and instead focuses on CollectaBaos being a collectible people can own. The company also does not require a crypto wallet to purchase the CollectaBaos.

To make the new NFT-based membership club happen, Wow Bao teamed up with Devour as its web3 ordering partner, Flaunt to mint its digital collectables and continued work with Paytronix, which powers its current Bao Bucks rewards program.

Wow Bao’s entrance into the digital collectables space is just the latest move in exploring technology and finding unique ways to drive engagement and loyalty. The company continues to see growth in its virtual dark kitchen program, which has grown to over 700 locations since 2020. It was also one of the early adopters of self-ordering kiosks and fully automated front-of-house animated cubbies.

Looking ahead at future courses, the company plans to experiment with new perks and LTOs for members to have direct access to.