No more Noma

If paying upwards of $670 to eat reindeer brain custard at the world’s best restaurant is on your bucket list, you have until 2024 to secure a reservation (so start calling in favours). 

What happened: Noma, the Danish restaurant that’s topped the 50 Best Restaurants in the World list a record-breaking five times, will give up on its regular dining services next year and convert into a full-time food lab aimed at developing e-commerce offerings. 

Why it matters: Noma’s closure is a bad omen for the world of fine dining. Owner-head chef René Redzepi pioneered the modern model of restaurants: Wildly popular and innovative but expensive-to-operate, inspiring legions of imitators in the process. 

  • Now, Redzepi claims running a restaurant this way is “financially and emotionally” unsustainable. Despite the pricy meals, ample government support, and its general cultural cache, Noma lost money in 2021 due to high labour and ingredients costs.  

Redzepi is not alone in sounding the alarm bell. Just last week, Manresa, another three-Michelin-starred restaurant, closed its doors with its owner-chef citing similar reasons.

Zoom out: E-commerce may offer Noma an easier path to profitability—the restaurant’s first commercial product (a smoked mushroom seasoning) sold out instantly—but other high-end restaurants without the same name recognition might not imitate Noma’s next steps.