The ubiquitous Japanese brand, Sanrio, is apparently still having a tough time containing the "cute"-ness of its Hello Kitty brand to merely the merchandise that emblazons just about every product with some kind of illustrated animal. Now, the company wants its famous kitty to take a bite of the U.S. food service market, too.
Late last week, the brand opened its first Hello Kitty Café in the U.S. in that affluent Los Angeles suburb of Irvine, where surely by now the streets are bleeding pink in every direction. The brand has already had its Hello Kitty Café Truck roaming the U.S. for the last year. A news release said today that the popularity of that roving restaurant prompted Sanrio to push ahead with this more permanent version.
The Hello Kitty Café pop-up container housing the new café is open and serving its sweet treats and drinks through the end of next year at the Irvine Spectrum Center. The opening last Friday found hundreds of fans of the 40-year-old brand's anthropomorphic illustrated animals ringing around the building to get a firsthand taste of its pretty pink pastries, shaken teas and coffees.
"Since its debut last year, the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck has delighted fans in every city it has visited," said Sanrio, Inc. Senior Vice President of Brand Management and Marketingg Jill Koch in a news release. "The Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up Container is an evolution of our cafe experience, offering a new selection of treats in a modern, open concept space."
The offerings at the California café feature a line of house-made sweets, like apple pies, sprinkle cakes, tarts and cookies, as well as hand-shaken, fruit-infused iced teas, lemonades and specialty coffee drinks, all emblazoned with the brand's line of lovable little animals aplenty. The café even features a specialty daily tea service which debuts later this year.
"There has been tremendous anticipation for the first-ever Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up Container to open," said Easther Liu, chief marketing officer for Irvine Company Retail Properties.
The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is back on the road this fall, roaming the country with its cast of characters and the chain's philosophy of using small gifts to create big smiles. And of course, you can buy those gifts in just about any corner of the universe now. Merchandise available in the Hello Kitty line includes everything from the tiniest keyring or sticker, to the more "big-gift-even-bigger-smile" items, like a Hello Kitty-emblazoned jet or Stratoscaster electric guitar. (Somewhere in this world, we're pretty sure a Japanese bobtail Hello Kitty look-alike is silently laughing at us.)