‘It's not enough to think only about the food on the plate’

Chef Marion Ringborg realized that a resilient hospitality venue has to represent much more than just what it serves – your restaurant is your brand.
Marion Ringborg 16x9 hero

Marion Ringborg is recognized as one of the most talented young chefs in Sweden. However, if you ask her what she does for a living, she'll say that her job is equal parts interiors, equal parts food: ‘I do a bit of everything.’ 

That's because she thinks of Garba, formerly a pop-up concept that recently found a permanent space in the center of Stockholm, as more of a brand than a restaurant. ‘It's not enough for chefs to think only about the food on the plate; there's too much competition nowadays,’ she says. ‘You have to do other stuff that has nothing to do with food. Your restaurant is your brand.’ 

She mentions two recent projects: a running club that Garba hosted alongside sportswear brand Adidas, and a collaboration with textiles and clothing company Marimekko. She also describes Garba as a ‘safe space’ – ‘the majority of people that work at Garba are women. You won't find any other restaurants like that.’ 

‘When people look at Garba, they think of us as a feeling, not just food,’ she continues. ‘The room, the atmosphere, the art, the interiors – it's all so important. I ask artists to put their paintings up. My mum does the flowers. People can see that we're social, that we're a brand. They want to be a part of that.’

For our ‘25 big lessons from small business’ series, we scoured the world to find inspiring people to share the lessons they've learned from running their own companies. Click here to read the other stories.

This special feature was first published in Courier issue 45, February/March 2022. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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