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Chipotle is the latest addition to a growing list of restaurants that accept cryptocurrencies.
Chipotle, the Mexican-style fast-food chain, will now accept crypto payments via Flexa at all of its over 2,950 United States-based restaurants. Chipotle and Flexa, a digital payments platform, recently announced a partnership that will see Chipotle accept all of the 98 cryptocurrencies Flexa currently supports, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and seven US dollar-pegged stablecoins like USD Coin (USDC).
However, to pay with Flexa, customers must first download the Gemini or SPEDN apps, which both hold digital assets. Customers can then use the app and tap it in-store to make a payment. The Mexican-style fast-food giant is the latest company to partner with Flexa, joining other businesses including American movie theater chain, Regal Theaters, and Bancoagrícola, El Salvador’s largest financial institution, where Flexa enables both retail and merchant Bitcoin transactions for the bank’s customers.
Chipotle is not new to the virtual store trend, as the company has briefly experimented with it together with cryptocurrencies in the past. For Halloween in 2021, Chipotle launched a virtual restaurant on Roblox where players could dress up their avatars in Chipotle-themed costumes such as a ghost made out of a bag of chips or a burrito mummy made out of a burrito. The first 100,000 participants in this experiment received free burritos online, which could be redeemed for real ones in stores.
Chipotle again, gave away $100,000 worth of Bitcoin together with free burritos in April 2021 to commemorate National Burrito Day, claiming to be the first US restaurant brand to do so. The fast-food giant teamed up with former Ripple chief technology officer Stefan Thomas for the “chiptocurrency” giveaway, creating a game in which players could win a burrito or up to $25,000 in Bitcoin by guessing a code.
Chipotle is the latest addition to a growing list of restaurants that accept cryptocurrencies, with other fast-food companies also exploring or signaling interest in cryptocurrencies as well as metaverse apps for their businesses.
Subway was one of the first businesses to accept Bitcoin in its stores, starting in 2013. In 2020, Pizza Hut in Venezuela began taking cryptocurrency, while Starbucks recently allowed its reward members to turn cryptocurrency cash balances on the Starbucks app, via a third-party app.
Burger King and trading platform Robinhood struck a deal in November 2021 which saw the fast-food company give away free Dogecoin (DOGE), BTC and ETH with meal purchases.
McDonald’s also filed multiple trademark applications in February including plans for “a virtual restaurant featuring actual and virtual goods” in the Metaverse and “operating a virtual restaurant featuring home delivery.”
Wendy’s collaborated with Meta to develop a virtual Wendy’s store in April, where users could create an avatar and sit at virtual tables eating virtual meals. Other fast-food businesses are also experimenting with blockchain and cryptocurrency in different ways to create hybrid digital-physical experiences. Taco Bell, KFC, Chick-fil-A, and Carl’s Jr. are just a handful of the restaurants that have lately applied for NFT brand trademarks.