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Luxury brand ‘crossover’; what does it mean to the Chinese?

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On August 3rd, China’s first Gucci crossover restaurant ‘1921 Gucci’ opened in the Shanghai iAPM. Initially the 600 m2 restaurant was one of the hottest dining locations in the city, but soon reactions from customers became mixed. One question asked regularly was ‘except from the logo on the front door and on the napkins, what else is related to the brand?’

The fever for the new Gucci restaurant didn’t last long. At one time there was a 2-hour waiting time and it was claimed that a reservation should be made one month in advance. However, consumers claimed that what is provided in terms of environment, food and service is common, and that they can feel few Gucci elements or “luxury” within the experience. On, a lifestyle social network where Chinese netizens comment and grade shops and restaurant, ‘1921 Gucci’ only received 3 stars. Good comments are made on its quality, while others talk disappointingly about food to service.

Consumers wrote online: “Although I was told that reservations are full until 20th of August, why are there some tables unoccupied during my visit? And the waitress’s attitude differed between tables.” “It’s not like Vivienne Westwood where the logo is everywhere. If you want to take a photo, the chef won’t agree to create a Gucci logo on the plate, so don’t bother!” “The food was okay, it’s like a quality Italian restaurant. But if you want to tell it apart from other international restaurant, maybe the napkin is the only indicator?”

Opening a high-end restaurant in Shanghai clearly requires more to be offered, consumers have so many choices, and many better than a regular international restaurant named after a luxury brand. Of course, there are still many consumers willing to go and try the restaurant despite the negative comments online, and we will have to wait and see what will happen after the novelty affect fades away.

As selling commodities becomes difficult for luxury brands, turning to sell lifestyle products has become a trend that almost all brands are following, particularly crossing over into Food & Beverage.


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