A secret test kitchen hidden in plain sight
If Chobani was going to the gain critical mass needed to become number one in the market, we needed to move fast, and make bold moves. The Chobani cafe was a retail play, but behind the scenes it was our way to experiment with new flavor creations, new formats, and new packaging (check out the collectible glass bowls) while getting fast feedback from real people.
The Innovation group at Chobani was on a mission to expand peoples' thinking about the possibilities of yogurt, and rapidly pushed the limits of this. In what appeared to be a (now national franchise) cafe in New York's SoHo, Chobani built a premium yogurt shop that served savory, sweet, crunchy, drinkable, spreadable, frozen concoctions. Behind the scenes, we were using these small batch experiments to get real feedback on live projects in the pipeline.
The cafe, modeled after the openness and material richness of a turkish kitchen, led to point-of-purchase and subscription solutions for in-store (newer at the time), foodservice and bulk solutions, new flavor developments that heavily influenced Chobani Flip, Drinks, Hint, Savory, and more. More importantly, the Chobani Cafe became a must-visit in NYC, and a huge brand experience win.