From Lisa Jennings, Nations Restaurant News
at The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., will be able to catch a
free ride to and from dinner in a BMW ActiveHybrid 7 as part of a new
partnership between the luxury car maker and chef Thomas Keller.
BMW officials said the partnership was designed to introduce the new
high-end vehicle — priced around $107,000 — to guests of The French
Laundry, who fit the car maker’s target market.
Stacy Morris, a spokeswoman for BMW of North America, said the brand
alignment was a natural, given that “fine dining is the No. 1 interest
of their customers, and The French Laundry is one of the best
restaurants in the world.”
BMW has offered a similar concierge service to various luxury hotels,
she said, but this the first time it has been done for a restaurant.
Under the partnership, one of the hybrid vehicles will be made
available to The French Laundry to pick up or drive home guests. The car
will be offered on a limited basis, as available.
Keller revealed the partnership Wednesday after playing in a BMW
Championship Pro-Am Tournament, which pairs professional golfers with
amateur players. The tournament was held at the Cog Hill Golf &
Country Club in Lemont, Ill.
On Thursday night, following the broader announcement of the service,
The French Laundry also offered a “BMW-inspired” dish on the menu: a
Four Story Hill Farm apple-fed pork loin with bratwurst, braised red
cabbage, apple dumplings and grain mustard sauce — designed to evoke the
car brand’s “Bavarian roots.”
“As a BMW owner for more than 32 years, I’ve always appreciated the
brand’s attention to precision and detail because my very first vehicle
was a BMW 320i,” Keller said in a statement. “At The French Laundry,
we’re always seeking out ways to heighten our guests’ experience, and so
I am delighted to be able to work with BMW to establish a concierge car
for the restaurant, for those guests that wish to add a new element to
their dining experience with us.”
Morris said the partnership was “open ended,” and that the car
company would explore further partnerships with Keller, possibly
including his other restaurants.
In addition to The French Laundry, the Thomas Keller Group's
restaurants include Per Se in New York; Bouchon in Yountville, Las Vegas
and Beverly Hills, Calif.; Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, Las Vegas and
New York; and Ad Hoc in Yountville.
Read more: http://nrn.com