Multi-Level Restaurants for a Multi-Level Experience
Photo credit: Jessica Christian
This past May, One65 opened its 25,000-square-foot space in San Francisco’s Union Square. Local news outlets were reporting on the opening like crazy, but the hype carried well beyond our 7X7. Forbes magazine called the restaurant “…one of the biggest and most ambitious restaurant projects San Francisco has seen….” The six-story building houses four unique dining experiences with a French flair. Each floor is fully custom-designed to express the vibe of the specific menu. A boutique and art gallery are also a part of the offering, making One65 much more than a multi-floor restaurant. Chef Claude Le Tohic, who spent the previous few years working in Las Vegas, considers San Francisco the perfect city for this sort of concept and refers to the experience people have in his space as “The Show.”
While chefs trying to create unique experiences for their diners is nothing new, there does seem to be a growing trend toward chefs opening multi-level spaces to provide a wide range of dining and drinking options in one stop. China Live is another San Francisco restaurant embracing this idea with their 30,000-square-foot, multi-level space in Chinatown. It opened in 2017 and is thriving as many other restaurants in the surrounding area are shuttering. San Francisco is not the only city where award-winning chefs are opening these sorts of restaurants. It has been announced that multi-level restaurants will soon open in Detroit, Toronto, and the much-publicized, redeveloping Aurora, Indiana.
So, what’s behind this seemingly growing trend? Could it be the “experience economy” that Millennials are fueling? A recent Eventbrite study showed that 78% of Millennials would rather spend money on an experience (concerts, dining out, events) than on a physical thing. These multi-level restaurants are certainly delivering a much richer experience than your traditional restaurants do. Toast, a leader in the restaurant technology space, reported earlier this year that 45% of diners go out to eat multiple times a week. By creating a space with multiple dining options under one roof, enterprising chefs are potentially capturing repeat customers to a degree that would not be seen with a traditional, one-menu offering. The National Restaurant Association is reporting that restaurant industry sales are projected to total $863 billion in 2019. With multi-level restaurants dishing out food at a variety of price points, slinging specialty cocktails in a number of different spaces, and even offering boutique shopping experiences alongside noshing and imbibing, the chefs are providing many more opportunities for their customers to hand over their credit cards and settle in for the evening.
Whatever’s behind this concept building steam, there is no doubt brand is playing a big role in the creation and success of these spaces–from the chefs’ personal brands, to how the restaurant as a whole is branded, to how each unique offering per floor is branded. It’s actually quite an interesting naming and brand architecture challenge. At Noise 13, we’ve had 20 years of experience in the F&B and hospitality spaces, including branding the Michelin-starred Saison and rebranding the entire Personality Hotel Group’s suite of boutique hotels. We partner with clients who have a tangible product or physical experience that fulfills a true need, thus creating a meaningful connection with consumers. This is exactly what these chefs are doing and we’re excited to see how they’ll continue to be embraced and who else will jump in.