Tesla Wants to Build a 1950s-Style Diner
Tesla's Investor Day presentation was a mixed bag. The company was forthcoming on grand ideas for both private development and public development, but made little mention of concrete plans for new products, services, or innovations. It did, however, hint at one new business sector: breakfast foods.
At the tail end of the section on charging, Tesla's Senior Director for Charging Infrastructure Rebecca Tinucci borrowed Steve Job's famous "one more thing" line. The following slide was simple. It had two photos, with the title "Can't Forget To Do Cool S***." The right-side photo appeared to show a Model S on what may be a wireless charging pad, but absent any official confirmation or details it's hard to say what it means for Tesla.
The left photo was more far-fetched, showing a Tesla-branded diner complete with superchargers, a movie screen, and a large outdoor rooftop seating area. It's that idea, though, that seems likely to become reality. Fox News reports that Tesla has already filed a patent to use its name in the restaurant business. Fox also notes that last year, Tesla acquired a $16 million plot on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, California, that used to be a Shakey's Pizza. If you were looking for a place to build a high-profile, themed diner, you'd struggle to find a better location.
It's far afield from the company's normal operations, but that doesn't make it foolish. The company has been struggling to keep people as excited about the brand, with no new product to announce and the unlikeliness of delivering its long-awaited Cybertruck before the end of the year. Keeping people engaged is important to Tesla, which thrives on an extremely active and passionate fanbase. A quick project like this—that'll require very little investment and time—may help hold over the super fans. And in a world where the margins on electric cars are getting compressed, Tesla can now offer a high-margin, low-complexity product that's always in demand: French toast.
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