Café culture moves into UK department stores

UK department stores are following their US counterparts, revamping their restaurant operations to offer a wider choice of strongly branded formats.

Callcott Anderson Design Associates has created the names and concepts for three new branded restaurant and café formats for department store Bentalls.

“We wanted to create three specific brands. Encore is a café where you would go for a cheap snack and Cadenza is a much more up-market restaurant. Café Flair comes somewhere in the middle,” says a Callcott Anderson spokeswoman. The consultancy also designed identities, graphics and signage for the formats.

Encore and Cadenza went live in January at Bentalls’ Kingston-upon-Thames outlet. Café Flair is likely to pilot in a new branch planned for Bristol in October. The concepts will roll out gradually in different combinations to Bentalls’ other six UK stores.

This follows the creation of two restaurant formats by CD Partnership for Selfridge’s new Manchester store (DW 30 January).

Meanwhile, retail consultant and design group Management Horizons has designed a café for C&A’s Clockhouse range of goods. This was launched in its Liverpool branch last November.

“A lot of UK stores are looking towards the US where stores are integrating several small cafés and restaurants into the different parts of the shop. Our café for C&A aims to attract 15-25-year-olds into the store to look at the Clockhouse range,” says Management Horizons Europe director Carolyn Simons. The Clockhouse concession now shares some branding elements with the café.

“There is a trend towards branding the in-store cafés and restaurants. They are intended to be more integral to their surroundings [than in the past], but also to stand alone as venues which will attract people in their own right,” adds Simons.

Other stores are taking things a step further, putting existing cafés into their outlets. Books Etc’s Charing Cross Road headquarters houses an Aroma café, and an Oasis branch in Birmingham has a Seattle Coffee Company outlet.

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