Just before Nemo took Manhattan, I was able to make good on an invitation to visit Chobani SoHo. The rain had yet to turn to snow, and the warm café located on the corner of Prince Street and West Broadway was a welcome relief from the cold, gloomy morning.
If it is possible for a room to evoke feeling and represent character, Chobani SoHo has done it with their café. Each element was thoughtfully chosen to reflect the brand and its values. The big glass windows provide an excellent perch for people watching, and represent the transparency of Chobani. The dark wood floor, benches, and market table represent the iconic, weathered barns of Upstate New York, where Chobani is headquartered. The hammered copper mixing bowls and light fixtures provide a touch of the Mediterranean culture responsible for creating Greek yogurt.
Yogurt is known as a breakfast food, and most manufacturers mainly market it as such. But not Chobani. Through their strong social media presence, Chobani advertises the versatility of its product as a substitute for the un-healthy items like oil, butter, cream cheese, etc. that we use everyday in our cooking and baking.
In July 2012, Chobani opened up their very own yogurt bar in the trendy SoHo neighborhood of New York City to give consumers a brick and mortar space to interact with the brand, as well as a way to capitalize on and showcase the versatility of their classic plain yogurt. With 10 unique offerings on the permanent menu, and a slew of seasonal creations on rotation, consumers will be hard pressed to find a new Greek yogurt pairing they don’t love.
I was lucky enough to try several creations in store, and I consumed at least two in their entirety on the spot. All creations are made with their 2% plain Greek yogurt, and the 0% plain is available for substitution. Chobani has ventured far outside the parameters of breakfast with their savory and sweet creations. My favorites include the Toasted Coconut + Pineapple creation that is completed with hazelnuts and light agave, as well as their newest offering, Smoked Salmon + Dill. An ode to the New York streets Chobani SoHo calls home, Smoked Salmon + Dill is served with bagel chips as a healthy alternative to the Manhattan staple of bagel and lox.
Consumers are provided with the recipes for Chobani SoHo’s seasonal creations in-store, and are encouraged to make and share their own innovations via social media. I see a lot of room for retailers to capitalize on Chobani’s concepts of innovation in their own stores.
We know that products thrive when they are incorporated into store demos and provided as samples. New, exciting products, and updated versions of old classics are beloved by consumers and retailers alike. My suggestion: Let’s all take a page from the Chobani SoHo playbook and try something new and unique. I think you’ll like it.