On a warm summer Friday, the line at the Magnum ice cream shop in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood nearly spilled out the door. By mid-afternoon, a sign went up to say the shop was out of chocolate ice cream but still had “plenty of our delicious vanilla bars” for customers to dip in chocolate and various coverings not available in Unilever’s supermarket offerings.
On the next corner, at the Chobani Café, all tables and counter spaces were taken by patrons tasting dishes way beyond fro-yo, such as sandwiches made with simit, a bagel-like Turkish bread. Also on the menu, along with sweet and savory Greek yogurt dishes: “Hamdi’s rice pudding,” a nod to the company’s Turkish founder, Hamdi Ulukaya.
Magnum and Chobani are part of a growing group of packaged-goods companies that have ventured into the hospitality business as a marketing strategy, opening both pop-up and permanent eateries that are both a showcase and a laboratory for their brands. The opening of Magnum’s pop-up in SoHo during spring 2016 (closing at the end of 2016) was followed weeks soon after by the opening of Kellogg’s NYC, a café with a menu built around breakfast cereals.
And there is more to come: This month, PepsiCo plans to open Kola House, a bar and event space in New York City’s hip Meatpacking District. Meanwhile, Chobani is doubling down on its café strategy—which also included a pop-up café during the Sundance film festival—with plans to open its first in-store café next month inside the Target store coming to New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood.
“I think we’re only scratching the surface with this idea,” said Peter McGuinness, Chobani’s chief marketing and brand officer, in an interview with CMO.com.
Just as online retailers have discovered the need to expand into the real world—with everyone from Warby Parker to Amazon looking at storefront space to augment their e-commerce experiences—packaged goods brands are following.| | | Next → | Single Page