As the South African dining landscape continues to evolve, restaurants face the challenge of captivating diners and differentiating themselves in a competitive market. Internationally, the rise of ‘concept experiential’ offerings is reshaping the future of dining out and setting new standards for culinary adventures.

In September 2023, UK-based restaurant resource Lightspeed revealed concept restaurants that offer unique experiences that break away from traditional restaurant norms, and allow customers to taste the world, one dish at a time. Once considered a trend, experiential dining has now become a permanent fixture, meeting the evolving expectations of customers seeking unique and memorable experiences.

According to global hospitality agency, TGP International, in the post-COVID era, consumer preferences for dining out have shifted towards more fulfilling and exclusive experiences, particularly among younger demographics. According to Epos Hybrid’s Bdaily UK report, in July 2021, 44% of consumers were willing to spend more on unique dining experiences.

With changes in work routines and a blurring of traditional boundaries, factors like time, space, and place have become less influential in consumer dining choices. Moreover, the rise of social media has amplified the desire to share new and exciting food and drink experiences in real time, presenting significant marketing opportunities for hospitality outlets. Experience-led venues have emerged as the fastest-growing segment in the industry, reshaping the traditional restaurant model and fostering diversity in concepts.

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Popular local eateries with international flair have embraced this trend, taking their offering to the next level at LXX Sandhurst, in Sandton, the economic hub of South Africa. “LXX Sandhurst is the epitome of luxury, class, and convenience. We eagerly anticipate welcoming guests to our semi-al fresco, luxury shopping, dining, and cosmetology experience,” said developer, Alexi Cavaleros, head of international acquisitions at The Cavaleros Group.

LXX plans to bring concept restaurant experiential dining to the city through their partners including Tashas, Mila, SINN, Dough & Co, Cowfish, and Mosso.

Natasha Sideris, CEO and founder of Tashas Group emphasized the significance of their presence in LXX Sandhurst, “Tashas LXX will be inspired by the suburbs of Johannesburg and the essence of classical, timeless yet modern energy that transpires from the surrounding neighbourhood.”

“An exciting addition to this location will be a similar bar to the one that is featured in our new store in London – a small and intimate space to gather with a few friends or share a meal. We will also put a big emphasis on our dinner menu making it a great choice for an evening meal with friends, family, or colleagues.”

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Evan Sotiropoulos, founding partner of Dough & Co, echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the innovative culinary adventure they aim to deliver at LXX Sandhurst. “Dough & co is a new style bakery, with an easy pick up and go offering, to complete that LXX experience. We’re excited to bring this fresh concept, and a little European street feel to Sandhurst, to compliment what LXX is creating. Nothing beats a classic French pastry and a coffee to go, the market is in for a real treat,” he said.

Cowfish, renowned for its fusion of American and Japanese cuisine, promises guests a journey of taste and style, while Mosso introduces an authentic slice of exotic Istanbul with its vibrant Turkish cuisine and traditional hookah offerings.

LXX Sandhurst is located at 70 Rivonia Road, Sandhurst. Doors open to the public in July 2024.