According to a recent interview aired on Minnesota Public Radio, there is a growing trend toward restaurant establishments serving a side of retail. And not just the gift shop-behind-the-hostess-stand sort, actual fully stocked and targeted retail stores.
Rachel Hutton, senior editor of Minnesota Monthly magazine speaks with MPR News' Tom Crann about several new restaurants with retail collaborations:
Tom Crann: Where did this dinner-and-a-shopping-bag trend come from?
Rachel Hutton: The restaurant and retail connection isn't really new. I think it began locally, in earnest, in the early 2000s, when Southdale upgraded its restaurants. Suddenly, the food courts we loitered at as teens were joined by several upscale, date-worthy restaurants. After you shopped until you dropped, you could relax with a Champagne cocktail.
Tom Crann: Ok, got it: People who come to the mall to shop decide to stick around for dinner, and people who come for dinner might buy something on their way out.
Rachel Hutton: That's it. Around the same time as Southdale's expansion, ambitious restaurants seemed to be wrapped into every new boutique hotel or cultural institution in town -- from the Chambers to the Walker --sharing the same guests. The latest crop restaurant/retail partnerships have taken place on a smaller scale that seems to connect with people on a more personal level.
Tom Crann: Can you give us an example?
Rachel Hutton: Sure. In 2011, Eric and Andrew Dayton opened The Bachelor Farmer restaurant in Minneapolis's North Loop. Considering their family history with the state's most famous department store, it's not surprising that the brothers also included an adjoining retail shop, called Askov Finlayson, in their plans. The shop's primary focus is menswear, but they sell everything from lip balm to children's toys.
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