More Museums Add Fancy Eateries, says HuffPoPosted: April 30, 2011
Daniel Grant writes for The Huffington Post:
To a degree, Manask said, “a food arms race” is taking place, as museums are battling to entice visitors on the strength of their cuisine and drinks. More profoundly, museums have found that higher-level food is a significant aspect of their business model, rather than just something to help exhausted visitors stay awake for the next gallery.
“Since the mid-1990s, museum officials have seen that better food makes a better impression on visitors, and that better impression leads to more memberships, which is a launching pad to philanthropy,” he said. “The people in charge of museums these days increasingly come out of the private sector. They understand the value of a successful restaurant and the visitor experience.”
“There is something about museums that makes people hungry,” said Manask. Maybe, it’s doing little more than looking at things and reading labels that gets people tired and hungry, needing some type of refreshment. Museums have long understood that phenomenon, setting up cafes and restaurants to give visitors the strength to carry on. According to the American Association of Museums, 32.2 percent of its 3,000-plus members had some sort of food service in 2009. Based on a financial information survey, that’s a jump from 22 percent from only 2006.