Would you pay more than $7 dollars for a bowl of cereal? Kellogg's is banking on it.
The cereal maker plans to, next week, launch its first all-cereal restaurant, dubbed Kellogg's NYC, right in the heart of New York City's Times Square. Using a menu envisioned by Momofuku Milk Bar's resident celebrity chef, Christina Tosi, the store offers upscale cereal bowls of your childhood favorites like Rice Krispies and Corn Pops but with a twist.
Amid tepid sales in the grocery aisle, the cereal giant is hoping the café will help breathe new life into its embattled brands. It's all about nostalgia, says Anthony Rudolf, co-owner of Kellogg's NYC.
"We wanted our customers to have fun with it," says Rudolf, who helped develop the idea. "People don't think about the last bowl of cereal they had, they think about the cereal they loved as a child."
Of course, there will be plenty of skeptics. After all, you can buy an entire box of cereal for less than the cost that Kellogg's is charging for a single bowl. And consumers are increasingly getting wise to foods high in sugar content. It's an open question as to whether consumers will bite.
Still, Rudolf thinks he has a winning concept on his hands. He is quick to cite Starbucks as a brand that revolutionized the way people think about coffee. He is hoping Kellogg's NYC can do the same for cereal. Plus, he says people will pay for the opportunity to experience something new and entertaining.
Among other accouterments, your high-end bowl might get topped with lemon zest, fresh strawberries or even green tea powder. The interior design of Kellogg's NYC doesn't disappoint either.
Its sleek, modern look conjures the feel of an automat, while a giant, colorful Toucan Sam overhead encourages eaters to "follow your nose." After you place an order, a staffer hands you a buzzer, which lights up when your food is ready and tells you which cabinet to open. Some lucky customers will even find a treat with their order: a newspaper, a toy or even tickets to the Broadway blockbuster, Hamilton.
"In 110 years, Kellogg's has done nothing like this," says Rudolf, who has a background in the restaurant industry. He is the founder of Journee, a NYC-based company that empowers and educates entrepreneurs in the food industry. "I didn't want it to be a pop-up shop. I wanted to create a small business."
The official opening isn't until July 13, but the restaurant is now open to the public on a limited basis, from 8 a.m. until supplies last. If the concept takes off, Rudolf envisions an outpost in every major U.S. airport.