How Retail Brands Are Incorporating Restaurants

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In a recent interview, RH chairman and CEO Gary Friedman said, “It wasn’t the internet that killed retail stores; it was a lack of imagination and investment.” Many retail brands are feeling the pressure of creating a unique and innovative experience to survive. Restaurants seem to be the answer. Retailers like RH—formerly Restoration Hardware—are using restaurants to curate that unique experience.

“I recently visited RH New York, which reclaimed portions of an iconic, old brick building in the Meatpacking District inside the former Pastis Restaurant, and it beautifully blends the past and the present in its 90,000-square-foot space,” Carlos Lopez, EVP at Hanley Investment Group, tells GlobeSt.com. “It truly is an experience! The RH experience begins the moment you set foot in the store—as you make your way through a sky lit, six-story central atrium and ascend in a glass elevator, you are transported through four stories, each dedicated to specific categories of furnishings, including Modern, Interiors, Outdoor, Baby & Child and Teen, and includes its interior design firm.”

Next comes the restaurant experience, which is one-of-a-kind. “The Rooftop Restaurant and wine terrace has breathtaking city views and a lush garden experience,” describes Lopez. “The delicious restaurant food and stunning chandeliers that hang from the ceiling and illuminate the tables both elevate the experience even further.”

The use of a food platform helps to create a well-rounded experience in the store, and one that is easily repeatable. “The combination of architecture, art and design creates an energy that I have never seen in retail,” says Lopez. “RH has achieved this in each of their unique store locations.

Lopez is working with Eastdil Secured to market a RH Minneapolis in Edina, Minnesota. The property is being marketed as a single-tenant net lease investment opportunity. “The two companies recently arranged the sale of RH Yountville in Yountville, California,” says Lopez.

RH isn’t the only company leveraging food to create an experience. Lexus is also creating a Café area in its New York showroom. “The street level is anchored by the Café area, the Crafted for Lexus retail area and a public gallery space, which features everything from product concepts to custom exhibitions and installations,” says Lopez. “The second floor is where the 50-seat, full-service restaurant, lounge and a full circular cocktail bar are located. The café and restaurant are by acclaimed Paris chef Danny Meyer and operated by Union Square Hospitality Group. Intersect’s restaurant hosts a new celebrity chef every four to six months, so the menu is always changing. The third floor Private Gallery offers a multitude of culturally relevant programming concepts.”

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