Quiznos customers will soon be able to use bitcoin to buy their toasted subs.
The sandwich chain is working with digital asset company Bakkt to enable the payments at some locations, making Quiznos one of the largest restaurant companies in the U.S. to start accepting cryptocurrency.
Starting later this month, diners can buy bitcoin with the Bakkt app and then use it to pay for their food at seven Quiznos in the Denver area, including the chain's high-traffic location at the Denver International Airport. They'll also get $15 worth of bitcoin as a reward.
If the initial test goes well, Quiznos could expand the partnership with Bakkt to more of its 255 U.S. locations, the companies said in a press release.
“Partnering with an innovative platform such as Bakkt is appealing to us for a number of reasons, primarily because it allows us to accept bitcoin directly at the point of sale as part of a quick and seamless transaction,” said Mark Lohmann, president of Quiznos owner Rego Restaurant Group, in a statement. Rego, a subsidiary of High Bluff Capital Partners, also owns the Taco Del Mar quick-service Mexican chain and will soon add Church's Chicken to its roster.
Crypotcurrency payment has been slowly catching on at restaurants as products like bitcoin and others become more mainstream. On Monday, big tech supplier NCR announced it will acquire LibertyX, a company that allows restaurants to accept crypto payments as well as buy and sell coins. Most of the restaurants in Landry's hospitality group plan to accept it, and Starbucks customers can use Bakkt to reload their loyalty cards by converting bitcoin into U.S. dollars.
Still, overall penetration in restaurants remains very low. Only about 1% of restaurants currently accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment, according to a survey by Technomic, and just 4% expect to do so in the next two years.
For Quiznos, the test is another step in the chain's attempt to revitalize itself. In May, it said it would try out ghost kitchens through a partnership with Ghost Kitchen Brands that will bring it to 100 locations in the U.S. and Canada this year. And now it is wading into new forms of payment.