SHŌ Group, a global experiential hospitality platform, wants to revolutionize the hospitality world using NFT technology to offer members global access to all future SHŌ Club venues, experiences, and more.
“Hospitality and food in general, is a conduit of connection. Food is a universal language, a language of love, and something that brings people together,” explains SHŌ Group CEO Josh Sigel. “The SHŌ Club is the foundation of our community. Creating a membership program is a way for us to bring a special group of people together to create synergistic value for our members.”
“Provided as an NFT, the SHŌ Club membership becomes an asset to our members. It is publicly verifiable on the blockchain and can later be sold or transferred on the secondary market.”
By focusing on the utility benefits of NFTs, this hospitality group plans on building communities through the creation of one-of-a-kind guest experiences across fine dining, nightlife, and retail food concepts.
It all begins in San Francisco.
Projected to open in 2023, SHŌ will be the flagship restaurant of SHŌ Group. With its opening will come a culinary entertainment and nightlife experience never before seen in the Bay Area. SHŌ will be at the center of the members-only NFT community, a world-class destination for them to gather and meet.
Located at the top of San Francisco’s newest landmark in the heart of the city, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority’s Salesforce Transit Center, the restaurant is located on the Center’s roof, a 5.4-acre public urban oasis in the sky called Salesforce Park.
The dining experience at SHŌ will center around a first-of-its kind Japanese Irori grill. Irori dining, defined as rustic farmhouse cuisine centered around a fireplace, is a Japanese culinary tradition that hasn’t been introduced to America yet.
Using a combination of time-honored fermented items; farm-fresh ingredients such as miso, shōyu, dried bonito, konbu, kōji, black vinegar, and aged sake; and fresh seafood and meats, Executive Chef Shotaro “Sho” Kamio will offer an unparalleled menu of dishes stepped in Japanese culture and tradition while deeply influenced by it’s Bay Area roots.
SHŌ will offer private dining and omakase rooms, a fine dining room, and a rooftop sky lounge and sushi bar. There will also be a private club for members only. The SHŌ Club Members-only menu will feature rare ingredients and beverages that otherwise would be difficult or impossible to offer at scale. Both menus will have one-of-a-kind offerings and consist of uniquely sourced ingredients.
We chatted with SHŌ Group CEO Josh Sigel on the web3/NFT community, San Francisco nightlife, blockchain technology in the hospitality sector and more. Here’s what he had to say.
How did this concept of growing a web3/NFT community in SF first come to mind?
For us, it’s not about building a “web3/NFT community.” It’s about building a community period and the value we place on creating and serving the communities that we operate in.
During Covid, we were inspired by many patrons around the US and even throughout the world who came out in support of the local restaurants and venues that they frequented before Covid. In return, the owners of those restaurants fought every day to remain afloat and to continue to provide some semblance of normalcy, care, and comfort through their food. It was a beautiful thing to see, and for many, it unearthed the communities they didn’t even know they had.
What was the mindset behind creating the NFT-based membership component of SHŌ?
We decided to leverage web3 technology and more specifically, to offer our membership as an NFT not because it’s the cool thing to do but because we genuinely believe in the long-term utility value of NFTs.
We see this as an evolution in the mechanics of conventional membership programs and truly believe that the technology supports our mission of creating communities that inspire people to discover, grow, support, and connect in ways that otherwise would not be possible. This is a long-term play for us and something we are committed to building and developing for many years to come.
Talk about how this is going to be San Francisco’s answer to other big cities’ nightlife scenes.
Prior to Covid, San Francisco had a vibrant nightlife scene that primarily consisted of smaller venues, more casual environments, and hyper localized experiences within each neighborhood, offering a different setting and vibe depending on where you go.
At the same time, some look to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and other major nightlife destinations when they want to go out and “party” on the weekends. We’ve thought a lot about what it takes to bridge that gap and how we can help rebuild San Francisco’s nightlife scene in this new post Covid world.
How can we build a venue and create an experience that is true to SF while also creating an elevated experience unfamiliar to SF? A place that brings the best of both worlds together and offers a level of grandeur, hospitality, culinary excellence, and nightlife entertainment under one roof. To do so, we believe you need to create a destination location.
A place that people not only want to frequent but are willing to make an effort to go there, both in terms of travel and in terms of getting dressed to make themselves feel good and create a clear delineation between normalcy and something that makes you feel pampered and special. From the moment you set foot on the park, our goal is to deliver on that sensation.
One of the major goals of SHŌ Group is to build a strong network and community and utilize the benefits of the NFT world to do so. Talk about this and the way you’re doing this.
Community creation is inherent to the NFT space. It’s one of the core tenants and something that we believe must be genuine for you to be successful. It’s not about building a customer or client list. We’re clear about that distinction, and it’s imperative that our members experience that from day one.
We have a responsibility to our members and our community to create exponential value and make them feel that this asset they now hold is always appreciating.
Building a strong network and community is essential to us and utilizing an NFT as the vehicle of delivering our membership certainly supports that goal. However, it’s not something we’re solely relying on, nor does the technology itself create community.
SHŌ, our flagship restaurant, will be at the center of the community and offer a world-class destination for our members to gather and meet. Additionally, we will host ongoing member events, online classes, pop-ups, and early previews of our menu and beverage programs.
Members will have the opportunity to meet in our members-only SHŌ Club Sky Lounge. Additionally, beyond the physical world, there will be many ways for our members to interact with each other and with our team, including Twitter, our Discord server, and via other
Do you believe that blockchain technology will become bigger and bigger in the hospitality sector? What do you think the future of hospitality will look like if it continues to grow alongside blockchain technology?
We believe blockchain technology will become more prominent in all sectors. Again, we’re not about tech for tech sake. It’s critically important to use that when we adopt new technologies, we’re doing it for the right reasons and those reasons will always start with our members and the guest experience. Beyond blockchain technology anchoring the underlying foundation of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, there are also many other uses of blockchain technology in the hospitality industry.
From food safety and supply chain transparency to offering a coveted restaurant reservation as an NFT, making it transferable and verifiable, blockchain technology will continue to grow in hospitality and eventually be woven into many aspects of the industry.
NFTs can enhance how people own and interact with memberships and experiences. The NFT community is at the forefront of the digital ownership conversation and SHŌ Club represents practical use cases for NFTs.
We feel it’s important to legitimize NFTs within the hospitality space and to the broader public as well as those in business who may understand blockchain technology but see little application of NFTs. We hope to introduce those individuals into the space, expand mass adoption, and create a new wave of excitement for blockchain technology.
Talk about the SHŌ Club NFT membership. What are the tiers, what they each offer, the benefits… etc. Why should someone want to be a member?
SHŌ Club has three membership tiers, the names of which are inspired by the first three Japanese elements: “Earth,” “Water,” and “Fire.” Each tier has its own unique features. Whether it’s an exclusive dining experience, a private entrance, or members-only menu items, SHŌ Club membership enables a more dynamic and intimate way to experience SHŌ hospitality at Salesforce Park.
All initial SHŌ Club members will hold the only lifetime global access membership. Founding members will have access to all future SHŌ Group venues and experiences.
More details, including detailed benefits, pricing, and availability, will be available at www.shoclub.com on June 7th, when the SHŌ Club officially launches.
Talk about the restaurant and it’s inspiration?
SHŌ will feature a Japanese culinary tradition never before introduced in America: IRORI dining, or rustic farmhouse cuisine centered around the fireplace. Once quite prevalent in Japan, especially in the rugged north from where Sho is from, this dining style is a dynamic expression of many unusual characteristics of Japanese food culture and history. Irori dining showcases the ingredients and time-honored cooking techniques of Japan’s villages before modern cooking evolved together with technology.