New Trend: Restaurants Merge into Retail Space

BY Courtney Huckabay

The furniture and design emporium, Roman and Williams Guild, and its in-​store cafe, bakery and restaurant, La Mercerie, grabbed headlines when it opened in December. The concept isn’t entirely novel; the owners cite department stores as the original shopping-​plus-​dining destinations. But the designers suggest that the line between retail and restaurant is a porous border that can be pushed even further, Eater​.com reports.

"At La Mercerie, the KHWurtz cup your latte comes in, that Yasushi Kuno plate your meal arrives on, and the Keiko Li glass you drink a cocktail from are all available to purchase. Even the flowers, arranged by celebrity florist Emily Thompson, are for sale by the stem in a little alcove near the front door."

This retail-​restaurant concept could definitely appeal to Home Decorators. The newest AudienceSCAN study showed 20% of Americans enjoyed home decorating at least once in the past year.

"Cindy Daniel, the owner and interior design lead behind Shed in Healdsburg, California, wanted to build a pathway — quite literally — from growing food to making it to finally serving it. To that end, she created, with Jensen Architects, a whole ecosystem within the 5,000-square-foot building, which includes a restaurant, an upstairs classroom and event space, a market with prepared foods and cookware, a coffee bar, and a fermentation bar. There’s everything from garden tools to charcuterie. The airy design took home a James Beard Award in 2014."

"Events and classes are another way Daniel integrates commerce, where experiences and knowledge are the product for sale. These offerings, and the tools and objects customers can see both on the shelves and in the kitchen, set visitors up to make a purchase at the market."

Restaurants can entice Home Decorators by offering classes and homegoods for sale. The latest AudienceSCAN study found 54% of Home Decorators love trying new cooking recipes, 53% enjoy baking cakes, pies, breads or desserts, and 33% relish entertaining/​hosting or attending parties.

Chefs can take a spin through the store to find new objects to incorporate into service, like a small trowel Chef Perry Hoffman recently used for the prix fixe dinner menu.

The Black Barn Shop and Cafe takes cues from natural materials, from the Arxe back cushions, chairs, and barstools (all for sale in the store) to the muted colors of the Black Barn linens and Serax dinnerware (also for sale, just like the Belo Inox silverware and the playful Serax candle holders on the table).

Inspiration can come from anywhere –especially restaurants and cafes – for Home Decorators. Restaurants can consider offering their textiles and furniture designs for sale. The most recent AudienceSCAN study found 23% of Home Decorators intend to buy new window coverings this year, 18.5% want new artwork, 18% are looking for interior lighting, and 27.5% are hunting down new living room furniture pieces.

Some designers believe this model has huge potential for growth.

The shoppable restaurant idea certainly has wings. At ABC Carpet and Home, Ilias says that while it’s hard to quantify, the tabletop business “does really, really well and I would think that some of that is inspired by the restaurants.” The dinnerware Shed uses in its restaurant is a best-​seller, says Daniel. “And the fermentation crocks, we almost can’t even keep in stock.”

Standefer and Alesch attribute sales to people taking everything in from the cafe, like the coffee cups. “They also see them in service and they’re like, ‘Oh look, they’re pretty,’” says Standefer. And really, for restaurant designers, chefs, and customers alike, the union of dining and shopping makes sense. “‘I just drank out of it, and I’m going to take two of those.’”

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.