Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cereal restaurant closing

I have regularly highlighted developments in the latest restaurant trend: Cereal. As a cereal fanatic this of particular interest to me, although I don't live anywhere near one. I'd like to believe that this is unique type of restaurant that could have significant appeal in the fast food and snack market.

But things are not all well in this fledgling industry. Cereality, the front-runner among other competitors, has just shuttered one of its newer locations according to the Daily Northwestern. The Evansville, Indiana Cereality has been closed just six months after opening. It was to be a training location during the restaurant's expansion.

To be fair, some franchise locations don't work, and often the reasons are legitimate and specific to that restaurant. But, this should be of concern to Cereality and to others in this niche market. I remain convinced that it is a viable concept, but obviously the right formula needs to be found. For example, many of these have been opened near colleges. I question this as a sustainable model. Airports, shopping malls, and office complexes may be better locations. And kiosks may be more cost effective than conventional retail space.

But, of course, no one asks the people passionate about cereal on these things. (Although, my invitation still stands!

CORRECTION (6/13): It is Evanston, Illinois, NOT Evansville, Indiana.

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9 comments:

20-20 said...

It was Cereality's Evanston, IL location that closed (home of Northwestern University), not Evansville, IN.

Lloyd said...

Thanks for pointing that out!

Anonymous said...

I work for Cereality but not for long. Our downtown Chicago location is closing this Saturday.

Jeff said...

I like the idea for a cereal restaurant. It's sad to hear it isn't taking off. A of people might eat a healthy breakfast if they had a place like Cereality to goto or not.

Maybe what they need is to team up with the Starbuck franchise instead of trying to go it alone..

Debbie said...

Are there many success stories in the cereal restaurant industry?

There is a discovery place kids opening in my area i thought this would be a perfect location for a cereal restaurant dcue to lots of kids and moms visiting. I thought a kisok would be great inside kids discovery place museums.

Please comment.

Lloyd said...

Debbie,

So far there don't appear to be many runaway successes, although what you are suggesting might be worth a try. It certainly breaks from what the others have tried. The key will be traffic, and whether you can obtain regular, repeat business.

wineandpoptarts said...

Okay, I'll take you up on your invitation--what do you think would make a truly successful cereal restaurant? I ask because I'm kicking the idea around at the moment. Not a franchise, just a single space. Any thoughts/suggestions would be welcome; maybe we could trade contact info?

wineandpoptarts said...

P.S. I came across your blog while Googling cereal restaurant info. Really enjoy the posts, glad to see there are other cereal fanatics out there...

Lloyd said...

wineandpoptarts,

Sorry for the delay in responding.

I don't know if I have all the answers on this, but I think there are a couple of things I would emphasize if I was to open a cereal restaurant:

1. Location. As I stated in my post airports, shopping malls, and office complexes may be the best locations. There are two markets: Those who miss or are looking for breakfast, and those looking for a fun snack. Go where these people are.

2. Make it an experience. It's got to be fun! Tap into people's emotional attachment with cereal, without being too tacky.

3. Offer a few other food options, without diversifying too much. Stick with cereal as the core, but maybe a few other breakfast options (like cinnamon rolls, etc. might help draw people and their companions in).

Hopefully this helps.