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Italian luxury fashion brand Gucci has opened its first restaurant in China – 1921 Gucci in Shanghai.

1921 Gucci is located in a luxury Shanghai shopping mall and offers fine dining experiences during lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. The décor resonates with the Gucci brand, with gold the dominant color and silk napkins imprinted with 1921 Gucci. The restaurant is Gucci’s first attempt to combine luxury dining and fashion in China, building on its Gucci Café & Restaurant in Italy.

Immersive luxury experience

Fine dining is more about the experience than the food for Chinese consumers as attitudes towards luxury spending shift. According to Mintel’s Full Service Restaurants China 2015 report, 31% of Chinese consumers agree that the experience of a full-service restaurant is more important than the food or drinks served. Mintel’s China Consumers 2014 report also discovered that 16% of Chinese consumers strongly prefer to spend on luxury experiences, such as dining at premium restaurants, than physical luxury products.

In this highly competitive market, we have seen a rising number of brands across categories tap into the restaurant business to extend their brand experience to new realms. For example, the US designer Ralph Lauren opened his first all-American restaurant in Europe as part of a new Parisian store, IKEA opened a Breakfast & Bed café in London, and Yum! Brands opened a premium restaurant in the highly sought-after Bund strip in Shanghai.

Chinese consumers no longer want to associate their luxury brand experience with expensive high-end bags and clothes as their tastes grow more sophisticated and discerning. They want more immersive luxury experience, such as fine dining, meaning that brands should follow Gucci’s lead and aim to engage their customers in as many ways as possible.

Based in Shanghai, Philix Liu is Mintel’s Trends Analyst for the APAC region. He publishes innovations, creative marketing campaigns, new designs and other trends related content happening currently. He also helps inspire brands and agencies onsite to innovate in the APAC region. Before joining Mintel, Philix held a strategic planner role at an advertising agency in Shanghai and a qualitative research role at TNS in Beijing.