Late last year Urban Outfitters, the retail brand that serves millennials with mass-market hipster and pop culture goods, announced they bought six of seven restaurants from celebrity chef Marc Vetri and his partners for twenty million and change.
This move is interesting as both separate brands (the retailer and restaurateurs) look to deepen their connections with customers by delivering a new aspect of social, hospitality, and culinary experiences to their brands’ and core offerings.
I love this idea, as long as all parties share common values and thoughtfully manage the logistics, brand promises, and assets so that the customer’s journey will be enhanced, not diluted.
If executed well, these business’ leaders have a grand opportunity to:
- Keep the brand images top-of-mind, way beyond the time that the customer will spend in the physical brick and mortar location
- Strengthen the brand’s emotional connection to the consumer’s lifestyle
- Expand their revenue streams
The mixing of retail and restaurants, where a retailer adds dining to the shopping experience like with Urban Outfitters, and the reverse pairing where a restaurant successfully adds retail space to their dining experience, will continue to be strong trends in 2016. If you are considering a similar blend for your business here are a few examples that are working successfully.
Located in my old stomping grounds in Houston, Tiny Boxwood is a great mix of retail and culinary delight. Owned by the creative team of Thompson Hanson, the landscape and garden masters, this place is gem. They beautifully combine a café, special event venue, grassy park, and retail shop.
Photo from Tiny Box website. There are lots more images here.
She does a nice job of describing the customer experience.
The Oxford Exchange blends dining, a special events venue, a rare bookstore, a private business club, a coffee and tea bar, and a beautiful gift shop all under one dynamic roof.
Photo from TBO.com Their review is here.
Aesthetic Movement, an talented design firm assisted in the development and design of the Oxford Exchange space and experience. They have many awesome projects under their belts. Learn more about them here.
They have also worked with my next example of the retail/culinary mix located in NYC.
ABC Carpet & Home
This is an oasis of everything your senses could ever want. It’s a magical land of décor, food, and fashion. ABC Carpet & Home traces its beginning back to 1897, when Sam Weinrib, an Austrian immigrant, loaded a cart with used carpeting and linoleum and pushed it through Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Since then, and two generations later, ABC is now called ABC Carpet & Home and is a landmark destination that combines serious décor, fashion, and lifestyle shopping along with dining. Led by Paulette Cole, granddaughter of Weirib, they’ve created an emporium of retail and restaurant offerings and experiences including ABC Kitchen, ABC Cocina, and ABC CSA which is a membership food supply coop program that supports local farmers and growers. If you are in New York City, this place is a must see. Just make sure to allow yourself a good chunk of time. I can spend days there.
My last example is the smallest scale integration of retail and a restaurant, but they do it really well. Located in Dunedin Florida, this quirky, Mexican restaurant is called Casa Tina. The brand vibe is funky Mexican. The dining room blends modern artist style of Frida Kahlo with an eclectic elegance. They have a main dining room, outdoor patio, and retail boutique filled with whimsical trinkets, T-shirts, and other gifts that reflect their brand essence.
If you decide to add retail to your restaurant, or the other way around, here are four key tips that will help you be more successful: