“An original idea that pioneers a new category or concept can be a winning formula; however, the brand promise and guest experience must be authentically intertwined and consistently delivered.”
—Charlee Williamson, vice president of Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group
“Knowing your guest. We are enhancing our guest satisfaction survey to know where we can improve and we are further embracing technology to help us determine what our guests want. We are constantly looking for ways to inspire a healthy and active lifestyle for each of our guests, from product development to store design.”
—Wan Kim, global CEO, Smoothie King
Convenience is key
Located on the first floor of an apartment building, GWM was designed as an amenity for residents as well as a destination. It houses The Brooklyn Kitchen (above), a food and cookware store with a teaching kitchen, as well as an outpost of Velo, a bike shop offering bike tours and concierge bike service.
Hiding the dirty work
To make the hall “friendly” and visually appealing, says Jaskiewicz, a 5,000-square-foot below-ground grid conceals the traditional back-of-house equipment from guests. The public areas, he says, are designed with a “genuine, gritty, Hell’s Kitchen feel.” Stations feature polished concrete, black counters and reclaimed wood elements, and 85 speakers play music throughout. One element he’s tried to keep out—cold fluorescent lights.
Expanding to the sidewalk
The two bars within GWM, The Cannibal and El Comado (above), sit along windows that open like garage doors. Once warm weather rolls in, the glass will open to sidewalk seating, expanding the 254 counter and common seats inside the market to hold 54 more guests outdoors.
With so many dining options, groups can order from different operators and converge at communal tables. Also in the area, a common bussing station is manned by on-staff porters (paid for by GWM). Food service operators collaborated with Gotham Organization during construction on other shared priorities, including a water station for guests. They’ve also pooled resources for shared dishwashers behind the scenes.
Restoring the building to its original footprint was necessary to retain landmark status.