With brick-and-mortar retail struggling and traditional shopping malls dying, chains are looking to entice shoppers to walk through their doors. One increasingly popular lure? Restaurants.
Retailers from home goods stores to luxury car companies are hoping on-site restaurants will bring in wallets—and encourage their owners to stick around and browse.
Here’s a look at the latest crop of retail-restaurant pairings.
1. The Table at Crate
Home goods retailer Crate & Barrel partnered with Chicago chef Bill Kim and multiconcept operator Cornerstone Restaurant Group on The Table at Crate, a full-service restaurant that opened this week in suburban Chicago.
The two-story, indoor-outdoor casual-dining restaurant is the retailer’s first full-service establishment.
Kim’s menu, divided into Bites, Garden, Greens, Tartines, Bowls and Mains, is plant-focused and seasonal, with cocktail offerings made with housemade syrups and juices. (Cocktails can be carried into the store.)
The restaurant is open for all-day coffee service, as well as lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. It may eventually be home to chef demos, cookbook dinners and other special events.
”As a longtime destination for all things home, we know that our customers love to entertain,” said Neela Montgomery, CEO of Crate & Barrel, in a statement. “We share that passion, and The Table at Crate creates a more immersive brand experience for our customers.”
2. Intersect by Lexus
Restaurateur Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group are at the helm of the food offerings at Intersect by Lexus, an experiential space that opened late last year in New York City. The three-story operation features a cafe on the first floor and a full-service restaurant, cocktail bar and lounge on the second floor. The restaurant is steered by a rotating series of chefs, all chosen by Meyer and his team.
One can't actually buy a Lexus or test drive one in the car-filled store. Instead, the space is intended to give consumers an overall sense of the brand, with the restaurant furthering that goal.
“The Global Chef-in-Residence program was conceived as a way to give New Yorkers a chance to experience a new cuisine without having to get on an airplane. For up-and-coming chefs, it is an opportunity to give people in New York a taste of what they are creating around the globe,” said Kirk Edmondson, Intersect by Lexus’ general manager, in a statement.
The restaurant features a 12-course tasting menu, curated from 30 offerings and changing daily. All items are served sans silverware, often with avant-garde platings such as beds of hay or on a sea urchin’s spiny shell.
3. Fuel Space
High-end workout gear seller Lululemon opened its first “experiential store” in Chicago on Thursday, including the chain’s first restaurant, Fuel Space. The restaurant inside the 20,000-square-foot, two-story space offers a mix of health-focused and indulgent items, as well as wine and local beer on draft. Menu offerings include smoothies, salads, protein boxes and a burger.
“What we know is our guests want everything under one roof,” Maureen Erickson, Lululemon’s vice president of experiential retail, told Eater.