Blockchain seems to be picking pace even as cryptocurrencies go through some upheavals. Banks, governments and large businesses like IBM and Microsoft are exploring ways blockchain can be integrated into their current business models.

For startups, blockchain provides a unique opportunity because most do not have to grapple with legacy technologies. In the restaurant niche, blockchain may very well be the game-changing technology that finally disrupts an industry entrenched in the good old ways of doing things. In this article, we discuss bitcoin and blockchain for restaurants.

Payments

Cryptocurrencies, built off blockchain, have become somewhat of a blockbuster trend in recent times. However, the real power of cryptos like bitcoin lies in the decentralized way they work.

For a startup restaurant, adding bitcoin payments at the till will not only widen the base of potential customers, it will create a sense of a cutting-edge startup culture at the restaurant, which can attract both new customers and venture capital. Because the currency is steadily catching on and yet very few businesses accept it, adopting it can provide a jump-off point to dominate a still-nascent market.

Reviews

Reviews are a key foundation block of any successful restaurant. Love them or hate them, customers use them to make purchasing decisions. One major flaw in the review system is falsified or fake reviews. These are paid-for or self-published reviews that either inflate a restaurant’s rating or depreciate a competitor’s standing.

In either case, blockchain holds the promise of creating a new review structure that will make it difficult to falsify reviews. When combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI), this new way of vetting reviews can finally clean up online reviews to reflect truly objective experiential outcomes of real customers.

Food Quality

Major restaurant chains and other differentiated players in the catering industry have built successful businesses on proprietary ingredients and recipes. Startup restaurants have also embraced this approach with trends like farm-to-fork, organic-only menus, sustainable farming, etc.

However, in most cases, it is difficult to determine whether indeed the food on your table is what it claims to be. Blockchain can eradicate this doubt. Through immutable ledger records, documentation and recording of each step of the food’s journey are possible, so the outcome is indeed genuine and verifiable.

Food Safety

Food safety is another major area that can be positively influenced by blockchain. Today, food must be inspected at every juncture of its lifecycle to ensure proper handling and safety. This lengthy process creates supply chain bottlenecks and overall inefficiencies in how food is processed and transported.

With blockchain, a restaurateur can know with full certainty that the food received underwent and passed inspection before reaching them. By checking unalterable records of these transactions, the restaurant and indeed city inspectorates as well can eliminate the need for onerous paperwork and multiple steps in ensuring food safety.

Bitcoin and blockchain are still young technologies. Much like the Internet, which was poorly understood for almost three decades before it exploded, these technologies are poised to go mainstream in a big way. Tremendous opportunities lie ahead for restaurant startups that get in ahead of the curve.

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