Hyper-exclusive dining experiences are keeping diners on their toes even before they’ve crossed the threshold.

Someone holds a spoon and dips it into a glass bowl with ice cream in it, people chat and eat in the background.
Bompas & Parr

In New York City, French chef Yann Nury serves exquisite meals from his SoHo loft to exclusive, invited guests. La Residence, as Nury calls it, was designed in tandem with Parisian architect Charles Zana, and hosts the likes of Hermès and Louis Vuitton clients for meals prepared on Italian-marble work tables with vintage copper pots on a custom Molteni stove from Lyon.

The Office of Mr. Moto, a speakeasy that opened in January in New York City, restricts its guests in a different way. Interested diners must decode a cypher to be seated Wednesday through Sunday evenings for the restaurant’s multicourse omakase, during which seating is limited to 14 people per session. The code opens a Victorian-era mailbox at the front of the restaurant, which then gives the coders access to the intimate, part restaurant, part museum dining experience. Guests must solve an additional cypher for beverage pairings.

The worlds that these dining entrepreneurs have created will make lasting impressions on their visitors and onlookers eager to participate. At SXSW in March, Amplify chief creative officer Jeavon Smith and executive creative director Alex Wilson spoke about "worldbuilding" in a panel, saying it's "about extending out, forging connections in different combinations and approaches that explore how and where the audience want to engage and be immersed and entertained." Worldbuilding is the process of "crafting stories that can transport, engage and excite," they said.

The Intelligence take

These brands have embraced exclusive, puzzle-solving approaches to better engage and intrigue their guests for unforgettable visits. In the future, brands will be all encompassing and the experience of the brand will be just as important as whatever services or products that company provides. More than and item a customer buys at a store, consumers will live-out the product and the reality of brand’s world. As consumers, they’re also co-creator of that world and participants in the brand’s story, building its reality to fruition.

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