news • Feb 20 2024

The Future is Food: Why Brands are Expanding into Restaurants

They say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, and it’s no wonder why. When it comes to some of the biggest brands in the world, expanding into the food realm is the logical next step in business development. For brands looking to expand their reach and develop strong relationships with their customers, opening restaurants has become an important step toward maintaining a thriving organization. 

Opening a restaurant boosts loyalty, allows customers to experience a brand’s offerings, and puts customers in front of an extensive array of merchandise. But it’s also a wonderful way to take things offline in an increasingly digital landscape. Foot traffic is increased, and new audiences, especially a younger generation that is willing to spend their spare dollars, are introduced to a brand. A restaurant has a tremendous capacity to solidify the bond between a brand and a consumer. Here’s a look at three unique industries that are taking the movement on at full speed. 

 

Fashion Forward

For several years, the fashion industry has been on the forefront of the expansion into the restaurant realm. “Restaurants bring new customers in and help secure top-client loyalty,” Vogue Business explained back in 2020. So it’s no surprise that one of the most iconic luxury jewelry brands in the world is embracing this potential.  

Over the years, Tiffany & Co. has come to represent everything from stylish luxury to a coveted retail destination. Therefore, it’s no surprise that moving into the food realm was the next logical step. 

Blue Box Cafe is the Daniel Boulud-helmed Tiffany & Co. cafe that serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. In addition to food, it features a private dining area and a bar with art installations, all surrounded by chairs and tableware in the beloved “Tiffany Blue” shade.  Located within The Landmark, Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue flagship store, it’s the perfect opportunity to boost brand loyalty. Spending $25 on a salad is a much more accessible luxury for someone who may not be spending $25,000 on a timepiece. But when the time comes for the individual to treat themselves, they’ll turn to Tiffany and Co. for that special moment.

Tiffany & Co. isn’t the only example of fashion’s expansion into the restaurant world in recent years. From F.P. Journe’s Fine Dining room in Geneva to the iconic department store Bergdorf Goodman, which has a sidewalk cafe, the main restaurant, and one with a “plant-based menu,” the fashion industry understands the deep value of moving into restaurants. 

 

Eatertainment 

In July of last year, Netflix announced it would open a dedicated pop-up restaurant, Netflix Bites, featuring dishes developed by the stars of its various cooking shows. From Curtis Stone from Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend to Nadiya Hussain from Nadiya Bakes, the venue features the work of chefs who also host cooking programs on the platform.  

While there is some debate as to whether the food is actually good, the brand has demonstrated that the culinary offerings are really not the focal point here. For Netflix, expanding into restaurants is a tremendous experiential opportunity. With over 247.15 million paid subscribers worldwide and a presence on a significant portion of TV screens, tablets and smartphones in America, Netflix understands that people who love the shows will come to try the food, and people who are just eager for a meal will have their interest piqued in the programming.

 

Cars & Cuisine

The luxury automobile industry is zooming into the restaurant space. At N.Y.C.’s luxury-car showroom Genesis House, visitors will find the first international outpost of Onjium, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Seoul. It’s a smart evolution that leaders in the industry understand the deep value of. “The way to anybody’s heart is through their stomachs, so it makes sense,” Tony Quiroga, editor-in-chief of Car and Driver, told ABC News. Quiroga continued by sharing that a memorable meal can “heighten the prestige” of a brand. And in an era when automakers are desperate to stand out and build loyalty, they know a good meal is just the way to do that. 

Ferrari, the luxury Italian sports car manufacturer, also understands the need to extend the brand’s recognition into new venues. In 2021, the brand reopened a restaurant in its home town in Italy, headed up by Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura. Ristorante Cavallino features an elegant restaurant, garden and open-air terrace adorned with a collection of memorabilia and racing rarities from the company’s archives.  The location is “inspired by Ferrari’s values: the union of technology and craftsmanship, quality and performance.” One of the strongest luxury brands in the world, Ferrari’s expansion into dining is the logical next step for a legendary automobile brand. 

 

The future of restaurants is particularly bright. Nearly all (94%) of restaurant operators have some sort of expansion plans for 2024,  Chain Store Age reports. From Ferrari to Tiffany & Co., some of the most iconic brands in the world have already realized the potential of restaurant expansion. It’s a strong example of how the time is now to grow, expand, and experience new frontiers.

 

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