In the modern realm of retail, the lines that define what is expected from brands have blurred. Brands are now looking to get customers talking and Instagramming to stay atop their minds by expanding past their associated categories and venturing into spaces they have not previously occupied. In this case, we’re talking more specifically about the restaurant and cafe arena.
Mastercard has opened Priceless, a multi-restaurant pop-up-like venue, that will replicate the dining experience of three other restaurants around the world through taste, sight, and sound. Located in New York City’s coworking and private membership club Spring Place, Priceless is replicating The Rock, in Zanzibar, Tunisia; Teruzushi, in Kitakyushu, Japan; and Lyaness Bar, in London, England.
Not only will the restaurant look like the original counterparts, but they will feel like them too. The scenery will be created through wall projections and sounds of a chef’s knife blades, ocean waves, and ice cubes in tumblers will add to the auditory aspect, helping “create a unique ambient sonic DNA for each restaurant”. The experiences Are an effort to make Mastercard more relatable to users. Only cash and Mastercard payments are accepted.
Saint Laurent opened its first coffee shop in its Rive Droite creative space next to its store near the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris for Paris Fashion Week. The cafe captures the brand’s high-end, sleek style through black marble interiors and accents of neon. Although it is nothing revolutionary, the cafe is still something worthy of in Insta-story and gives visitors a literal taste of the brand.
Facebook opened several cafes in the UK and Indonesia where visitors are being offered privacy checkouts in exchange for free waffles and beverages. Visitors can chat with Facebook officers about ways to improve their privacy on the social media site while enjoying complimentary emoji waffles, coffee, and tea.
Last year, Lexus opened its Intersect by Lexus restaurant in New York’s Meatpacking District, with two other locations already open in Tokyo and Dubai. Lexus describes it as a space “where people can experience the ethos of the Lexus lifestyle”.
Besides the restaurant, which will feature rotating chefs, the three-floor space will also have a cafe and cocktail bar. There are also exhibitions, installations, film screenings, and more to create “an immersive cultural experience”.
On the flipside, fast-food chain Taco Bell opened a 5-day-long pop-up hotel in California to give fans a “craveable, truly Taco Bell experience”. The hotel featured a nail salon with Taco Bell inspired nail art, build-your-own breakfast Tacos and has branded bathrobes, toiletries, and blankets. The hotel is a dream come true for ultimate Taco Bell fans who want “the ultimate Taco Bell experience, the ultimate vacation, food they can’t get anywhere else, merchandise they can’t get anywhere else”, says Jennifer Arnoldt, Taco Bell’s senior director of retail engagement and experience. The branding effort paid off, as reservations for the hotel sold out within two minutes of becoming available.
Other brands that have also taken a step into the hospitality business include Equinox, West Elm, and Muji, which we covered in the August issue of Outform’s Future Retail Magazine – read now.