Reuters reported yesterday that investors have offered Tavern on the Green bankruptcy trustees $1.3 million to buy the shuttered restaurant’s name. The investors want to market food items such as salad dressing under the Tavern on the Green brand.
Though the food at Tavern on the Green was at best mediocre, the high menu prices, unique location and building, and romantic lore imbue the name with real value. During a dispute between the restaurant’s owners and the City of New York in 2009, the Tavern on the Green brand trademark was appraised at $19 million. Should the investors’ $1.3 million offer be accepted, will they be getting a bargain?
Tavern on the Green closed three years ago, the building has been renovated, its famous Crystal Room demolished, and its contents auctioned off. Last year, the structure reopened as a visitor’s center. Tavern on the Green’s fame as a restaurant and the value of its name will dim with the years. The $19 million value of the Tavern on the Green brand name will shrink to zero if nothing is done.
Investing in building the brand around grocery items will not only keep the brand alive, it may make it more valuable. Lawry’s licensed condiments are a bigger money maker than the steak restaurant that spawned them. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s frozen pizzas make more money than his restaurant Spago. Should the investors be successful, their $1.3 million bargain will exponentially surpass the 2009 $19 million appraisal of the Tavern on the Green brand name’s value.