Hospitality NFT’s Seminar, Booze to-go update….

Originally Published : April 29, 2022

Dear HL Clients and Friends,

I know it can be challenging to face the prospect of a world where we become even further dependent and immersed in technology.  I was once a proud luddite and still prefer the analog world, but the Metaverse and the cutting edge concepts that come along with it have arrived and we all need to embrace and accept it as the future.  With this in mind, it’s crucial that we understand the opportunities that await the hospitality world as we cut our path through the virtual reality landscape.

Just look at what’s already cooking in the 3D virtual world. Tom Colicchio recently launched an NFT (cartoon pizza in a chef suit), Gary V. is opening a restaurant powered by the money raised from NFT’s and McDonalds is setting up shop in the Metaverse.  It’s still early but we need to pay attention and start learning the ways that hospitality professionals can shape and benefit from this new frontier.

A primer of broad concepts so you can hold your own in a convo:

NFT – non-fungible token – first of all, lets talk about what “fungible” means. Sounds ‘shroomy but don’t trip, it’s a straightforward concept.

A fungible item is one that is easily interchangeable with another just like it.  A good example is a gold coin.  If you have one, you can easily exchange it with a different one of the same value and who cares?  It’s all the same, it’s interchangeable, its….fungible.

Something is non-fungible if it can’t be easily replaced. Rare baseball cards, an original Rothko, the Empire State Building are good examples of non-fungible items as they are not easily interchangeable. So an NFT is a non-fungible “token”. They could have called it anything like a non-fungible game piece or non-fungible widget but they called it a token.  We are New Yorkers, we used to have pockets full of them to use for the subway.

So, NFT’s are created and then can be sold like an artist would sell a limited edition print or like a private club would sell a membership.  Tom authorized around 8,888 cartoon pizza guys and they sold out.  Probably made well over a million bucks. Gary V. sold memberships to his restaurant set to open in 2023 and raised 14 million dollars.  Often, hospitality NFT’s will come with some kind of benefit to be used in a real world restaurant.  Discounts on food, access to reservations and parties, etc.  There is often an air of exclusivity associated with it.

Crypto Currency – In short, it’s a banking system that cuts out the middleman (the bank) and allows people to exchange the equivalent of money without all the hassles and fees. You can pay for your NFT with Bitcoin or Ethereum which are types of cryptocurrency. Which leads us to blockchain…

Blockchain – is simply a technology that tracks every move on a given transaction and provides the proof that you own your NFT.  If you want to sell your cartoon butcher, blockchain technology is what allows you to prove you are the owner.  It also proves that you own your cryptocurrency and provides protection against any kind of fraud in the….Metaverse!

Metaverse – the 3D virtual world currently inhabited by gamers but coming to society at-large very soon. There will be advertising in the Metaverse and customers will visit virtual restaurants where they can see and purchase menu items, pay for it with cryptocurrency and have it delivered to their door. Exciting and frightening!

To further expand on these concepts, we are happy to announce that we will be hosting a webinar on May 9th at 2:00PM.  Details are below:

HL Presents:
Webinar: NFT’s and BLT’s: Hospitality in the Metaverse
When: Monday, May 16th at 2:00PM

Register here:  Webinar Registration

Joey Regs Says….

While we are thrilled that we can deliver and sell booze to go again, the new version of the program is slightly different than the earlier version.  We have been receiving a ton of inquiries about the new rules, so we thought it would be most helpful to do a little FAQ

Q: What can I actually sell “to-go?”
A: That all depends on what kind of liquor license you have.  Assuming you have a full liquor license, you can sell beer, mixed drinks, and single servings of wine, spirits and RTD beverages (so long as they’re transferred to a container that is different than the one they came from the manufacturer in).

Q: Can I sell full bottles of wine, like last time?
A: No.

Q: Can I pour full or almost full bottles of wine into a separate container and sell that?
A: Also no.

Q: Can I pour the contents of an RTD beverage or 12 oz. can of wine into two 6 oz containers and sell it as two drinks?
A: Yes, as long as you sell it on-premise for the same price.

Q: Are there any volume or quantity limitations on booze to go?
A: No – aside from the restriction of selling full bottles, as mentioned earlier.

Q: Do I have to sell food with the alcohol to-go purchase? And if so, what kind?
A: Yes.  And it must be a “substantial food item.”

Q: What constitutes a “substantial food item?”
A: Sandwiches, soups or other foods, whether fresh, processed, precooked or frozen.  Other acceptable foods include: salads, wings, hot dogs.  Foods that do NOT work include: a bag of chips, bowl of nuts, or candy.

Q: Why can’t we sell full bottles of spirits or wine on a permanent basis?
A: The retail package story lobby is very strong – as is the supermarket lobby. They won.

Masks and Vax Update by Lee Jacobs

Now that the guest vaccine mandate has been lifted, and the HERO Act is no longer in effect, we think this is a good time to briefly go over what NYC and New York State still do require.

What’s the current masking protocol?

It’s completely optional.  The only persons who must wear masks in the workplace are COVID positive employees who are cleared to return to work after five days of quarantine, during days 6 through 10, following the positive diagnosis.

Employees who have been in close contact (at work or at home) with someone who has tested positive for COVID should wear a mask around others for ten days following exposure. NYC’s guidance describes a close contact as “people who have been within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19, for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. This is from two days before the person with COVID-19’s symptoms began (or if they have no symptoms, two days before their test date).”

Remember that you still have an obligation to notify close contacts on your team when someone reports a positive case.

All unvaccinated individuals should wear masks in the workplace. These would be employees who have received an accommodation for vaccine requirements.

Who needs to be vaccinated now? 

Employees in NYC must still be fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated now means either one Johnson and Johnson vaccination or both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. If someone provides proof of the first vaccine, you must follow up with them regarding the second no more than 45 days from the date of the first shot.

Some employees may seek religious or medical exemptions from vaccination. NYC has now provided additional guidance and a record keeping tool for employers where this is the case:

As we have previously written, guests are no longer required to show proof of vaccination to dine indoors.  However, you can impose a vaccination requirement if you want, but suggest only doing so if such a policy will continue to be implemented fairly, equitably, and effectively.

Can I still ask my staff to wear masks? 

Absolutely! You are free to continue using masks in the workplace and to require that employees wear them. However, if someone has a documented medical accommodation which precludes them from masking up, you will need to abide by that request.

What should I be doing?
Continue to pay attention and stay connected.  The NY HERO ACT allows the governor to declare any airborne contagion (COVID or not) an emergency which would therefore require you to have your employees mask up.  Therefore, we recommend keeping your HERO ACT plans up to date and ready to go in the event the alarm is sounded.

As Jerry and the Boys liked to sing: “My hold on reality is starting to slip”

Good Day,