From H&M to Gucci, fashion retailers are adding food elements like cafés, restaurants and seasonal pop-ups to bring more consumers to their stores.
Foodservice is playing a bigger role than ever in the success of physical retail. 40% of visitors base their choice of shopping centre on the dining options available (ECE), and the same is likely to be true of which high streets they shop at. The food offer doesn’t just impact choice, it also impacts spend – our recent research with Coniq shows that consumers spend 12% more on retail when they eat out in a centre. The results are clear – a strong set of eating options that is carefully curated to complement the surrounding retail, will drive footfall and revenue for the whole area.
Whilst many retailers are at the mercy of who their neighbours happen to be, others are taking it into their own hands. Department stores have long-recognised the benefits of a compelling food offer – Selfridges continues to innovate its London Flagship with rooftop pop-ups and up-and-coming concessions such as Tonkotsu. A few doors down, John Lewis features a range of different pop-ups on its rooftop, depending on the season with past examples including a Mexican pop-up, gin bar, Wimbledon Tennis themed offer and yoga classes.
More and more luxury brands are following suit. Recent examples include Tiffany’s Blue Box Café which opened on the fourth floor of their Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York, serving locally sourced dishes on signature turquoise crockery. The most extreme specimen is the Gucci Garden which opened this January in Florence, and features the Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura – a restaurant by three-Michelin-star chef, exhibition space and small cinema, set over two floors in a historic palace.
Tiffany’s Blue Box Cafe
The Gucci Garden blends retail with dining and leisure to create a flagship like no other. It provides a forum for the brand to express its heritage to potential customers, and offers a more affordable way to buy into the brand: a three course meal will set you back around €60 whereas the plain white Gucci logo t-shirt that is currently trending costs a substantial €390. This helps to broaden their market without detracting from the exclusivity of their apparel. It serves as both a visit driver and a powerful PR mechanism, alongside an additional revenue stream.
But it isn’t just luxury brands exploring what a foodservice offer can do for them. There are benefits that work just as well for high-street brands, such as providing a resting point for tired shoppers in an environment where something attractive might catch their eye. This can be especially powerful in prime locations with a high density of retail but not much food (i.e. Oxford Circus). You can see this in Jack Will’s Espresso Hut and Farm Girl above Sweaty Betty, both on London’s Carnaby Street. H&M group is also exploring the idea with Arket store and café on Oxford Street and, H&M’s “It’s Pleat” café in Stockholm. MUJI recently opened three Café&Meal MUJI spots in their stores in in Singapore. These enliven the atmosphere in the store – Farm Girl buzzes with activity, helped by the office population (including JLL) nearby and can make a brand more ‘front of mind’ by working it into customers’ routine.
Tom’s & Roasting Co.
Jack Will’s & Espresso Hut
H&M’s “It’s Pleat” Cafe
Most of all, these in-store dining experiences offer something that online shopping cannot – brand immersion. H&M has chosen a young, fun, health conscious offer to express itself whereas Gucci has chosen luxury and heritage. These are qualities that you can live, breathe and taste in-store in a way that you could never do online. The high street is finding new ways to compete, and we expect to see increasingly innovative collaborations merging fashion, food, product personalisation, differentiated.