I often read magazines while lunching, but now Condé Nast wants readers to lunch at its magazines' restaurants. The media empire, which owns Vanity Fair, Vogue, and The New Yorker, among others, is licensing its magazine brands to a buffet of media-inspired restaurants.
Magazines and restaurants are frequent companions, from power-lunch destinations dominated by media types to hotspots run by magazine moguls, including Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter's Waverly Inn and Monkey Bar and the new Lion restaurant, backed by Men's Health editor Dave Zinczenko. Other famous experiments in restaurant-media domination include Playboy's Playboy clubs and the garish ESPN Zones. But Condé Nast is remaking the model.
Lately, magazines have seemed more interested in getting on reality shows, like Elle on Project Runway and Seventeen on America's Next Top Model. But the restaurant and reading material marriage sounds like a natural fit, as media companies struggle to find new sources of revenue.
For 2011, the Condé Nast initiative is focused on Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, where concepts like Vanity Fair Cafe, Vogue Cafe, and New Yorker Bar & Grill will give international eaters a taste of American media:
The company initially is targeting places like Dubai and Hong Kong and early efforts will focus on licensing Vogue and GQ, which have 17 and 15 international editions, respectively. Other cities being considered include Istanbul and Kiev.
What do you think of the idea? Smart business or just selling out?