Innovation That Matters

Immersive restaurant | Photo source Robert Wright, The New York Times

Restaurant allows diners to buy food and furnishings


Immersive shopping experience allows diners to purchase almost all the furnishings and tableware along with their meal

New York-based furniture and interior design firm Roman and Williams have opened a store with a restaurant where the furnishings and table settings can be purchased along with the food. The cafe, bakery and restaurant, La Mercerie, is being run by Parisian chef Marie-Aude Rose and her husband Daniel Rose and will serve “simple but refined” French food. Any items purchased can be delivered the same day.

Putting a restaurant in a furniture store is not a new idea – Restoration Hardware has opened restaurants in three of its RH Galleries stores, where diners can also purchase the furniture. While at Tiffany & Co, diners in the New York flagship store’s the Blue Box Café can not only have breakfast at Tiffany’s, they can also purchase the cafe’s teacups and plates. Roman and Williams, however, take this one step farther, by offering almost everything in the café for sale, even the flowers on the table, which are sold in an onsite shop by florist Emily Thompson.

La Mercerie represents a response to the growing trend for spending money on experiences rather than things. We have already seen this trend with the advent of interactive retail spaces and restaurants that combine food with events and discussions on social issues. At La Mercerie, all of the furnishings and tableware in the restaurant have been chosen by Roman and Williams founders Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch to create a unique style, which features mismatched combinations of ceramics sourced from Japan, Sweden, Australia and Denmark, vintage French silverware and linens made in Sweden. In creating a curated, immersive shopping experience, the store/restaurant may represent the future of bricks-and-mortar retail. The restaurant will begin serving a full menu in February, and in the meanwhile is open every day from 10am to 7pm for coffee, pastries and cocktails. Will the idea of combining dining and shopping lead to more opportunities to combine experiences and retail?




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