U.S. fashion label Ralph Lauren is expanding its hospitality portfolio with the opening of its first eatery in London.
Ralph’s Coffee & Bar is a new concept for the brand, combining elements from Manhattan’s Polo Bar and Ralph’s Coffee into an intimate space. As consumers are moving from accruing things to seeking experiences, Ralph Lauren moves further into dining are meeting consumers where they want to spend.
Ralph’s Coffee & Bar is opening this month on Regent Street next to the recently opened Polo flagship store.
Seating 24 with 12 additional seats along the bar, the warm interior includes equestrian touches such as banquettes made of saddle leather and themed art. Dark wood paneling, a green billiard cloth wall covering and a brass-topped bar complete the ambiance.
The eatery will serve light fare in addition to bar snacks such as mixed nuts and fried olives. In addition to drinks created specially for the London market, the club will include classics on its bar menu, such as an Old Fashioned and a Ridgway Margarita.
This joins Ralph Lauren’s existing presence in the hospitality space, which includes Ralph’s in Paris and RL in Chicago. In 2014, Ralph Lauren made its first foray beyond apparel, accessories and homewares to include a selection of finely roasted coffees, working with La Colombe (see story).
With a penchant for experiences, millennials now spend more on “Insta-worthy” meals than on designer handbags and shoes, according to a report by Havas Worldwide.
While the latest it-bag or on-trend footwear may have once been a subject of conversation and a clear marker of status, gastronomy is becoming a sort of conversational currency driven by social media and the embrace of experiential activities. As personal expression moves toward what experiences have been had, rather than what material goods have been bought, luxury brands will have to retool strategies in a culinary-rooted direction to account for consumer behavior (see story).