GDR NRF Newsletter December 28, 2017

Air Canada opens pop-up restaurant to promote home nation’s cuisine

For one week in November, Air Canada opened a pop-up restaurant selling the popular Canadian dish poutine to Londoners.

The restaurant used a fast-casual format to offer a menu comprising poutine with a range of different toppings that link to the airline’s most popular destinations.

The classic poutine is a dish of fries covered in cheese curds and gravy. The menu at the Air Canada Poutinerie offered a more premium take on the dish, with options including Toronto the 6ix (sweet potato fries covered with maple-soy pork cuts, kimchee, cheese curds, green onion and mayo) and Boston’s Loaded Crab (topped with fresh crab, gouda cream sauce, scallions and blue cheese crumbles).

The space included a bar where diners could order a selection of root beers, craft beers and Canadian wine. The Poutinerie also ran a competition offering diners the chance to win flights.

The food on offer was incredibly good value given the elaborate creations on the menu, with all but two items priced at £3.50 ($4.60). The exceptions were the poutines with crab (£5, $6.50) and lobster (£7.50, $10). Drinks were also priced at £3.50 and all proceeds from the Poutinerie went to charity.

The pop-up is a prime example of the way brands are turning toward food to communicate their offerings and identities. By promoting Canadian cuisine, Air Canada is offering a tangible reason to visit the country and its many international destinations, beyond the purely visual pulls offered by conventional marketing channels.

While the food and drink is used to promote Air Canada and its destinations, the price and quality of the menu has also been used to communicate the airline’s brand identity. By pricing most items at £3.50 and using an imaginative mix of high-quality ingredients, Air Canada is telling visitors to the Poutinerie that it is a brand that offers premium quality at low prices.

Ikea opens DIY restaurant where diners cook their own food

Ikea has opened a pop-up restaurant in East London where guests can prepare a meal for up to 20 friends.

Opening on 10 September, the Dining Club was open for two weeks offering a menu of modern sharing dishes. All food, drink and staff was provided by Ikea for free. Guests wanting to host an event at the pop-up needed to apply for a place.

A sous chef was provided to help successful applicants cook their meals, while a maître de was also on hand to complete the restaurant experience.

By opening a pop-up in which the food is cooked by the customer, Ikea is replicating its core brand offering, of flat-pack products that the customer puts together themselves. By celebrating the making of the final product, Ikea is cleverly promoting the assembly stage of its consumer’s journey.

For those unable to make a booking, the venue also hosted workshops on a range of culinary subjects, such as sustainable eating and Swedish baking, while a shop is also on-site selling Ikea’s kitchen products.

Berlin concept store uses restaurant menu to extend brand identity

Berlin concept store SÜPER sells homewares, fashion pieces and other items that reflect and celebrate the creativity of the city. This celebration of Berlin is also represented at its in-store restaurant, which serves creative fusion dishes to customers.

The SÜPER department store draws its product range from Berlin’s creative community, positioning its items as "regionally shaped, creatively implemented and lovingly produced". Everything in the store is supposedly shoppable, from the display units showcasing its wares to the cutlery and glassware in the restaurant.

The retailer’s focus on local creativity extends to the food on offer in the restaurant. A cross-over kitchen draws on influences from around the world, such as Asia, the Mediterranean and Latin America, and combines elements from each to offer a fusion menu that is globally inspired but creatively unique.

Items on the lunch menu include combinations such as ‘puree of celery/apple/wasabi, prawns, salsa verde’ and ‘plantain, guacamole, pico de gallo’.

Premium streetwear retailer launches in-store cereal bar

New York-based premium streetwear retailer Kith, which is known for its loyal clientele, has opened Kith Treats, a cereal bar located in its newly-renovated Brooklyn location.

Cereals are showcased in lightboxes above the counter and are served in shoeboxes, as a nod to the brand’s most popular product, sneakers.

The cereal bar’s menu was devised with input from key influencer of the brand. For example, tennis icon Andre Agassi collaborated on the creation of the ‘The Agassi’, which is Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs. This menu item comes in a special-edition box, which includes images of the former Wimbledon champion and his famous Nike shoes.

It also includes a Kith and Nike branded card inside. When customers collect four cards they can trade them in for a special Nike x Kith tennis ball that comes encased in plexiglass.