J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler had lunch with Vanessa Friedman of the Financial Times, and it appears they mostly discussed food — namely pizza, which Drexler said he is "addicted to." So you see, reporting what interviewees order for lunch, and whether or not it gets eaten, is not just reserved for skinny female subjects!
Before he took over J.Crew in 2003, Drexler says, it was "a company with tasteless goods going nowhere," whereas now, to use a Drexler-like food analogy, it has become the booming gourmet cupcakery of clothing retail. See, who wouldn't prefer discussing food over corporate strategy? Friedman reports:
Drexler brings up pizza. “I know what the most popular is going to be here,” he says, and touches me on the shoulder. “Margherita! It always is. Watch ...” The waiter comes to present the ham, and Drexler asks him what the most popular pizza is. “Margherita,” says the waiter. Drexler looks delighted. “Have some,” he says, gesturing at the prosciutto, and continues.
“You know what the most popular ice-cream flavours always are? Chocolate and vanilla ... It’s the same with cookies: chocolate chip, then oatmeal raisin, then, maybe sugar. And you always have to have this in stock. I tell this to my team when we go out together: you need the Margherita! People like consistency. Whether it’s a store or a restaurant, they want to come in and see what you are famous for.”
His point is that J.Crew always keeps its Margheritas on hand (their top sellers are the Jackie cashmere cardigan, the Café capri pant, and the men's pre-washed shirt), and then sprinkles more whimsical items (the meatball pizzas, or the sequined shoes) in with the basics.
In other news, J.Crew has recently started expanding into the U.K., but Drexler is wary of growing too quickly, as the Gap did under his leadership in the nineties. Right now, he's laying the groundwork for the company's first store in London; he reveals that it'll be on Regent Street, but then worries he's said too much. "Maybe I shouldn’t say this publicly? Maybe it’s not good strategy? Oh whatever, I’ll say it anyway.” Oh, and he ordered biscotti for dessert.