Have You Dined At These Five Luxury Boutiques?
Walk into a luxury boutique, browse a little and buy a lot. Rest up at the boutique’s in-store restaurant or café over a high-end tea or a lunch of lobster. Then return to your shopping mission with renewed vigour and buy another two gorgeous pieces.
That is what luxury retailers envisioned when the in-store dining trend swept through their flagship outlets. Offering in-store dining is not so much about pulling in revenue from the eateries as it is about building customer experience and loyalty.
Those who have run with the trend have already seen a rise in footfall as customers spend almost half a day at their outlets or even a whole day if their stores are as enormous as Club Monaco in Manhattan or Christian Dior in Seoul.
Here are five designer brands that have successfully married fashion and food in New York, London, Tokyo and Seoul.
Thomas’s Cafe by Burberry
Thomas’s Cafe began plating classic British fare and high-end afternoon tea complete with champagne at Burberry’s Regent Street flagship store in London mid-last year. The split-level space with its high ceilings and huge windows has made dining on locally sourced produce even trendier with an all-day menu that includes cured salmon with scrambled eggs, Mersea rock oysters and lobster. Once you are satiated at the table, feed your fashion appetite at the gifting suite and monogram space.
Ralph’s Coffee by Ralph Lauren
The pristine white, light-filled coffee bar sits on the second floor of Ralph Lauren Polo’s flagship store on New York’s famous Fifth Avenue. Dubbed a cross between an American boathouse and a Paris bistro, Ralph’s Coffee brews a cuppa that catches its fashion fans off guard with its high-quality blend. That is because the designer has partnered with one of the best coffee experts, La Colombe Torrefaction, and then went the extra mile to create two exclusive brands – coffee and espresso – that can only be sipped in-store.
Toby’s Estate Coffee by Club Monaco
When Club Monaco decided to open a massive flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, its vision included a cosy in-store café. As it so happened, Toby’s Estate Coffee was on the lookout for a Manhattan location. Their coming together resulted in a the Flatiron Coffee & Espresso Bar with décor designed by Club Monaco that matches the retail store’s palette and custom-designed La Marzocco Strada espresso machines. The menu comprises two filter coffees and a revolving menu of pour-over coffees from Honduras, Ethiopia, Colombia and Brazil. Pastries and sandwiches by local producers accompany the brews.
Il Bar, Il Ristorante & Il Cioccolato by Bulgari
Friendly bi-lingual staff and an English menu make dining at Bulgari’s Ginza store in Tokyo an experience just as outstanding as its fragrances. The Ginza store is currently the largest in the world and houses a bar, restaurant and chocolaterie. Il Bar on the tenth floor will mix you a Bulgari Gin and Tonics while the elegant Il Ristorante one floor below serves dressed-up comfort food like pasta and hamburgers. But it is the Il Cioccolato, also on the tenth floor, that has the real gems – beautiful chocolates to relish on the spot or take home.
Café Dior by Pierre Hermé
Located on the sixth and top floor of the Christian Dior store in Seoul, which is also its largest in the world, is the all-glass-walled Café Dior by Pierre Hermé. And like its fashion line, the delicacies in this café are stunning. Its menu offerings are created by pastry chef extraordinaire, Pierre Hermé, and feature some of the world’s most exotic flavours. After treating fans to two haute couture creations last November and December, Pierre has followed-up with a new dessert based on Venezuelan chocolate.
Image credit: Thomas’s Cafe
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