Luxury labels launch restaurants
CPG brands have been branching into eateries for some time now, creating physical touchpoints for consumers to more deeply connect with their brands. Luxury brands are doing this too, offering extensions of their substantial brand universe through the more accessible touchpoint of food and beverage.
Last fall, Lexus opened a multi-concept, experiential “culture space” called Intersect by Lexus in NYC’s trendy Meatpacking District. In addition to an all-day cafe-cum-lounge on the first floor and a gallery space for exhibitions and events on the third floor, Intersect boasts a high-end, sit-down restaurant located on its second floor. The restaurant is operated by Union Square Hospitality Group and features a rotating roster of top chefs who curate unique menus every four to six months. Lexus hopes that the overall concept of Intersect will help guests connect to the brand via the expansive and highly-experiential physical touchpoint Lexus has created.
Simon Porte Jacquemus, the designer and founder of high-end fashion brand Jacquemus, debuted his brand’s new cafe concept, Café Citron, in the newly redesigned Galleries Lafayette flagship on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Café Citron is entirely citrus-themed in keeping with the designer’s Southern French roots, and Jacquemus himself was in charge of the cafe’s interior design, which features plenty of lemon trees and oversized terracotta pots. Three pastry chefs designed the thematically-rustic menu, but one in particular, Cédric Grolet, has received attention for his highly-Instagrammable trompe l'oeil fruit desserts. In this way, Café Citron embodies another extension of the traditional yet arty vibe the Jacquemus brand is synonymous with.
Early last year, Italian luxury brand Gucci opened Gucci Osteria, a 50-seat restaurant in Tuscany, Italy. Three-Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura runs the kitchen and oversees a menu that includes diverse offerings such as pork belly buns and Peruvian toastadas alongside traditional Italian fare like risotto and pasta. Each dish costs between 20 and 30 euros. Like Intersect by Lexus, Gucci Osteria is part of a larger experiential space that includes an exhibition area, movie theater, and a boutique store—all of which build out the world of Gucci and invite guests to experience the brand in a more immersive and sensorial format.