Expensive clothes and food may not be the most obvious partnership. But the great department stores – the Selfridges and the Harrods of this world – have always known its importance for creating valuable experiences. When these stores began to populate some of the world’s biggest cities, people would travel miles to spend the day enjoying food and fashion – all in one place.
The Brass Rail, Selfridges
Today, 16-24 year olds spend more on food than any other age group. Millennials have become the ‘foodie’ generation. And from craft beer to clean eating, retailers are realising the benefits of tapping into different foodie trends and providing their customers with more than a shop, but a destination.
Adding a food offering to your store has the obvious benefit; the more time people spend in your store, the more they’re likely to spend. However, a great food partnership can bring your brand to life in a different way. What would your brand taste like if it was a cocktail? What about if it was a canapé? Or a juice? Suddenly you have a whole new area in which to convey your values and aesthetics.
In an interview with Business of Fashion, Lorna Hall, Head of Market Intelligence at WGSN, said this is all about that familiar buzzword “experience”. “Retailers need to create something other than product,” said Hall. “Product is not enough; they have to create a destination and keep customers with them. They need to increase dwell time and give them a reason to come.”
A Recipe for Success
The Rose Bakery in Dover Street Market is a great an example of a fashion and food collaboration that hits the spot. The anglo-french bakery is unfussy, nothing is overly branded or trend-led, which fits into the overall store ethos. When Dover Street Market moved this year from Mayfair to Haymarket, the Rose Bakery was even given an expanded kitchen and dining space on the top floor.
The Rose Bakery, Dover Street Market
Rose Carrarini, co-founder of Rose Bakery, describes their partnership to AnotherMag, “as a natural understanding, and therefore so easy. The way customers love it makes me happy…Explaining what’s ‘right’ is impossible. It just works. And working with Dover Street Market has been a perfect combination of ideas.”
Other brands, such as Burberry, have invented their own food offerings. Burberry’s Thomas’s on Regent Street launched in 2015 and is now a hugely popular tourist destination. The CEO, Christopher Bailey, explained at the launch, “we wanted to create a space where our customers can spend time relaxing and enjoying the world of Burberry in a more social environment.” From the Aga in the kitchen to a menu filled with crumpets and cream tea, Thomas’s gives Burberry fans a new way to enjoy its British heritage.
Thomas's at Burberry Regent Street
Kit and Ace, are also hot on the trend, developing Sorry Coffee Co in-house. Christina Albe, the UK brand manager explains the benefits, “Kit and Ace is all about community and conversations – to have a coffee shop in our shop is to promote both of these ideals. It's a great hub for our employees, friends, guests, and locals.
We have these super impactful lights above the bar that spell out "SORRY" and the social media impact it's provided is huge. From a guest point of view, it rounds out their shopping experience and promotes return guests. Which we love – having a friendship with those who work and live around our shops is the best part of our jobs.”