Naked Restaurant In Paris Closing Due To Lack Of Nude Diners

Food & Drink

A naked restaurant in Paris, France, is closing its doors.Getty

If dining naked in Paris seemed like a good idea to you, you are no longer in luck. O’naturel, the city’s premiere–and only–naked restaurant is closing. Conde Nast Traveler reports that after a 15-month run, the high-concept-low-clothing theme establishment has discovered that, for some incomprehensible reason, it turns out people don’t want to eat naked in public. It will shut its doors in February.

Back in late 2017, Forbes senior contributor Cecilia Rodriguez revealed that at the then-new joint in the 12th arrondissement, diners disrobed upon arrival in the lobby–hence, the coat check became an everything you’re wearing check–and a pre-opening soft launch was for members of the Paris Nudist Association. Apparently, a big curtain blocked dinners from bypassing voyeurs. And surrendering one’s mobile phones and cameras meant your fellow diners weren’t going to post your nudes to the ‘net.

O’naturel is the brainchild of twins Mike and Stephane Saada, who were looking to capture a piece of the nudist-happy French market. As of this writing, there were a mere six reviews of O’naturel on TripAdvisor. “You disribe upoon entry and also habe to leave your mobile phone with clothes- to prevent you sneaking photos of other diners !” one reviewer, who missed experiencing what it’s like to dine naked at London’s Bunyadi, noted. “It was a very different experience and whilst the food was very good, the wole emphasis was on nakedness !! I believe it is reservations ‘ only’ dining- so do pre book. . Not sure this venture will take off- even in Paris !”

So, what’s the problem with a naked-theme restaurant? For now, that remains a mystery. It’s possible that it’s simply too much of a niche strategy to be sustainable. It attracts people who want to dine out AND want to be naked while dining out. While consumers tend to enjoy dining out and sometimes enjoy being naked at, say, the beach, it may be that the Venn diagram overlap between the two is simply too small. And dining in the buff at home is one thing–but in public, it’s quite another.

It’s possible that the naked restaurant theme could have greater success in a place like, say, Las Vegas. Visitors to the City of Sin are looking to transgress, may be interested in stripping off their inhibitions, and nothing says hashtag and promote my business on social media like #eatingnaked. What could be more complicated is keeping the restaurant on the right side of the law in a place where people tend to equate nudity with sexuality. To some, it’s a naked body. To others, it’s an invitation.

Arguably, the most intriguing opportunity of nude eating in a restaurant is more symbolic than shrewd. Imagine a first date where everything was out on the table. Nothing in between you and your date but the table and the food. With little to hide, one might be more inclined to share more, to keep fewer secrets, to let down their guard and show the world who they really are.

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