JT Networks operates two licensed DC Comics restaurants in Malaysia, with a third opening in Singapore in the near future. Does the concept work?

I have mixed feelings. On one hand, it feels like brand stamping rather than tight integration of the DC properties into a great experience. It reminds me of “SUPERMAN: Escape from Krypton” at Six Flags Magic Mountain. I remember my first impressions of that ride from my the perspective of a teenager, and it just never made sense to me. I was so excited to experience a Superman attraction, but it turned out to be a cool ride with a Superman logo stamped on it. The comic and the ride had nothing to do with one another. The rich Superman legacy didn’t enhance the ride one bit, and the ride didn’t add to the comic’s story in any way. That sort of disconnect is damaging to the DC and Superman brands and only provide short-term wins for the amusement park. The brand connection at the restaurant feels similarly shallow.

On the other hand, from the pictures I’ve seen, JT made more effort than Six Flags to integrate the essence of the brand into the experience. It feels like a hybrid of a fast casual restaurant and a comic book store. And while it doesn’t appear that you are meant to feel like you’re inside one of the comics, the environment does look like it allows guest to dip a toe in the DC world. So, while the design and build quality are mediocre (the menu boards are pretty lackluster, for instance), I give JT credit for going beyond Six Flags’ level of effort.

I also have to give JT Networks some credit for pursuing a model that aligns with shifting consumer behavior. After all, people eat out more than twenty times as often as they go out for entertainment! And the food looks decent (though the concept pics look better than actual images from customers I found online), which is an imperative to success with any food concept regardless of brand or venue affiliation.

If there were one in my town, I’d try it out. And that’s often half the battle.


[via fastcodesign]
[images via fastcodesign, JT Networks, and Hype]

Dustin Smith

Dustin Smith

Dustin is an entrepreneur and consultant in the location-based entertainment industry.

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