Several nonrestaurant brands are turning to foodservice to bolster their businesses of late. While some aren’t totally unfamiliar with the food-and-beverage world, these head-on undertakings signal an acknowledgment of the increasing importance of foodservice within consumers’ discretionary spending. Here’s a look at who’s getting in the game.
Concept: Restaurant 356
What: Dining now is factored into the luxury experience that Porsche tries to embody at its Experience Center—test tracks, training facilities, meeting areas and more designed to let visitors immerse themselves in the brand. The seasonal, high-end restaurant comes with a panoramic view of the track.
Whole Foods Market
Where: Los Angeles
Invested in: October
What: Whole Foods’ minority investment in the 11-unit sandwich concept shows the retailer’s determination to further blur the grocery-restaurant lines and capture market share. The investment benefits Mendocino, too; the upscale fast casual plans to use the funds to expand.
Concept: Three Arts Club Cafe
What: The home-furnishings retailer partnered with Chicago restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff to open three dining options within its 70,000-square-foot gallery and events space. The goal: muddy the lines between residential and retail, and home and hospitality, says CEO Gary Friedman.
Concept:Amy’s Drive Thru
Where: Rohnert Park, Calif.
What: Looking to capture more of the foodservice market and not wanting to be relegated to just the freezer aisle, the packaged-food line staked a claim in the better-fast-food race with a brick-and-mortar concept serving organic, vegetarian fare.
Saks Fifth Avenue
Where: New York City
What: As part of its reinvention effort to regain some status and “make Saks a hero again,” says president Marc Metrick, the retail chain is replacing its in-house cafe at its flagship store in Midtown with an outfit of L’Avenue, a trendy Parisian restaurant known for celebrity spottings.