Tesla has recently filed a new trademark for its brand under restaurant services, a sign the company might be finally gearing up to deliver on an idea that CEO Elon Musk and other company executives have discussed publicly since at least 2017.
The company applied for three new trademarks that will cover the categories of “restaurant services, pop-up restaurant services, self-service restaurant services, take-out restaurant services,” according to the May 27 filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office that was first reported by Electrek. The application is awaiting examination and will be reviewed by an attorney around August 27.
You might be thinking, how does the restaurant industry fit in with the world’s most influential luxury electric car company? Let’s take it back to 2017, when then-CTO JB Straubel said at an FSTEC restaurant-technology conference that the company might move into the restaurant business. The idea was to turn EV charging stations into full-service convenience stores that also serve food. Tesla has tried out a scaled down version of that idea by creating lounges like the one at its Kettleman City, California Supercharger station.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk then expanded upon the convenience store idea and tossed out on Twitter — as he does — a restaurant concept. “Gonna put an old school drive-in, roller skates & rock restaurant at one of the new Tesla Supercharger locations in LA.”
A few months later, Tesla did in fact apply for a restaurant and supercharger station, but has been relatively quiet about the potential business venture since. The company, which recently dissolved its communications team, did not respond to requests for more information on Tesla’s plans to open a restaurant charging station, or whether other restaurants would be able to use the logo to create a similar business model.
Tesla’s iconic “T” logo is featured on the USTPO application to be trademarked for use by restaurants. The company also applied for trademarks for the word “Tesla” itself, as well as a stylized version of the word.
With this filing, it looks like Tesla might be taking the necessary steps to move forward with Musk’s plans to create a Sonic-meets-fueling station. This is not the first time the restaurant industry and the auto industry have collided. The Michelin Guide, in which the loss or acquisition of a star might make or break a restaurant, was originally compiled in 1900 by brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin who wanted to create demand for automobiles, and therefore, the tires they manufactured. So they created an extensive guide of restaurants and hotels, as well as mechanics and gas stations along the way, so people might be encouraged to use their newfound mobility to explore their taste buds and the world.
Tesla’s Supercharger restaurant isn’t quite as revolutionary as that, but it does invite creativity to the EV game by providing people with another incentive structure to purchase a new vehicle — even if that incentive is only to appear trendy while basking in the nostalgic glow of the past. And who knows, maybe the waiters will serve up burgers on electric roller skates, too.