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Conde Nast Ventures Into Restaurants: What Will They Serve?

Posted by Abe Sauer on August 6, 2010 10:00 AM

Have you heard that publishing is dead? Condé Nast, home to such iconic titles as Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired, The New Yorker and, um, Golf Digest, certainly has seen better days. In 2009 alone, the publishing house closed three major titles (Cookie, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride) and cut its overall budget by a quarter.

So how is the publishing giant going to make up for lost revenue? The iPad? Until that takes off... brand licensing! Specifically, it will start putting some of its media brands on restaurants. Assuming they won't mimic the fabled Frank Gehry-designed eatery at Condé Nast's Times Square HQ, what will they serve?

The Washington Post reports that Condé Nast "is establishing a new division, called Condé Nast Restaurants, that will be based in Hong Kong" and that "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." For now, these restaurants will be limited to locations outside the U.S.

The effort is not totally out of the blue. A "Vogue Café" in Moscow has been rather successful (above). Of course, the paradox of Condé's new brand extension adventure is that it depends on the strength of each brand to attract a regular audience.

As with any brand extension, the extension is only as strong as the core brand. Although years from now Condé could be a force to be reckoned with in the food services sector, until it can prove itself and build that new foundation, its old one must be maintained.

How attractive is a GQ Restaurant if nobody reads GQ anymore? Ironically, due to business declines last year, Condé shuttered foodie-focused Gourmet after 68 years in circulation. So just what might Condé Nast-licensed restaurants serve? Brandchannel speculates on the top dishes at each brand-licensed restaurant.

Title: Wired
Signature Dish: Molecularly emulsified peanut butter mixed sonically with Mountain Dew.

Title: Brides
Signature Dish: The Chicken or the Fish

Title: Details
Signature Dish: Ten things you should put in your belly.

Title: GQ
Signature Dish: A New York strip steak that will leave you impossible to resist to her .... and your boss!

Title: Glamour
Signature Dish: Are you really hungry for dinner? Or love?

Title: The New Yorker
Signature Dish: Organic Portuguese arugula topped with Welsh free-range goat cheese served with aplomb (Note to diners: The New Yorker restaurant does not accept unsolicited dinner orders; jackets required.)

Title: Vogue
Signature Dish: San Pellegrino (twist of lemon optional).

Image via Flickr

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