Crate and Barrel takes the feed them and they will come approach
Crate and Barrel is the latest chain to open an in-store restaurant in hopes that shoppers will stop and stay a while.
The home furnishings retailer, which has more than 105 stores nationwide, opened its first restaurant in Oakbrook Center in the Chicago suburbs, according to Eater. The indoor/outdoor restaurant seats 75 and is called The Table at Crate. It was launched in partnership with Cornerstone Restaurant Group, the same restaurant group that has partnered with Michael Jordan on his branded steakhouses. The location features a mostly vegetable-based, foodie-focused menu and cocktail selection. The restaurant has two floors and showcases Crate and Barrel products throughout.
In-store restaurants have grown in popularity as retailers have sought ways to meet customers’ desire for retail experiences that extend beyond shopping.
Also in home furnishings, RH, formerly Restoration Hardware, has launched restaurants in its New York City flagship, its Napa Valley “luxury compound” and in other high-end hospitality-focused store locations, including its Chicago location.
In fact, there was some legal controversy between RH and Crate and Barrel in the years-long ramp-up to the latter’s recent in-store restaurant launch.
In 2017, RH accused former Crate and Barrel CEO Doug Diemoz of stealing trade secrets pertaining to the design of an in-store restaurant, according to The New York Post. Mr. Diemoz had previously been employed by RH and joined Crate and Barrel in 2015. He left Crate and Barrel in 2017.
Elsewhere in home furnishings there is, of course, the notable example of Swedish furniture chain IKEA, which has made an in-store restaurant a centerpiece of its store experience since 1956 (13 years after the chain first opened its doors). IKEA’s version is, however, closer to a food court than a fancy restaurant.
At the same time as it has opened its first restaurant concept, Crate and Barrel has been expanding its brand portfolio. In June, the retailer acquired home décor, entertainment and gift brand Hudson Grace, according to HFN Digital. The brand currently has five standalone stores. Crate and Barrel intends to boost the brand’s digital presence and expand it into niche markets.
- Crate and Barrel’s First Full-Service Restaurant Opens in Suburban Chicago – Eater
- IKEA Restaurant – IKEA
- RH’s new location is a luxury compound – RetailWire
- Battle between furnishing chains gets even weirder – New York Post
- Crate and Barrel Bolsters Portfolio – HFN Digital
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What makes an in-store restaurant a success for a given retail chain or area of retail? Do you think The Table at Crate will be a successful addition to Crate and Barrel?