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In the past, many department stores featured a coffee counter or soda fountain, where shoppers could rest their feet and review their purchases. But stores began moving away from such space allocations, especially when customers could just head down the mall to the food court.

Some department stores are bringing the idea back, though with a twist. At select Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Bloomingdale’s stores, unique restaurants attract just as many visitors as the fashions on the racks.

Saks Fifth Avenue’s SFA café sits at the top of Rockefeller Center, offering a spectacular view of New York City. The café serves expensive lunch treats, like a BLT frittata for $19 or carrot cake for $9.50.

Le Train Bleu at Bloomingdale’s, a sophisticated restaurant built like a railway car, offers extra space dedicated just to Big Brown Bags, the large shopping bags that serious Bloomingdale’s shoppers tote with them. In addition, Bloomingdale’s offers a more casual Forty Carrots restaurant, which serves healthy, original, plain flavor yogurt for $5.50 for eight ounces.

The BG restaurant at Bergdorf Goodman instead is the perfect place for tea, served with small sandwiches, scones, and desserts, of course.

Most of these cuisine temptations appear in flagship stores in New York. They embody the atmosphere the stores hope to create across their brand image. From shopping at the store to dining in the store, a customer experiences the lifestyle of a wealthy New Yorker, sipping tea atop the Big Apple.

Discussion Questions:

What is the purpose of offering food in a department store? 

Source: Dick Scanlan, “Lingerie on 6; Lobster on 9,” The New York Times, December 29, 2011.