Free Tour of All 11 ING DIRECT Cafés in North America

Subscribe to The Financial Brand via email for FREE!If you’ve never had the opportunity to see one of ING DIRECT’s North American cafés, here’s your chance — 75 photos of the and locations.

As you take the photo tour, it’s important to remember that ING DIRECT has a very unique retail strategy. When Arkadi Kuhlmann first started ING DIRECT, worried customers trekked to the online bank’s HQ just to make sure the bank wasn’t a scam. Kuhlmann figured if people were willing to drive from miles away just to make sure the place was legit, the least he could do was invite them in for a cup of coffee and answer any questions they had. Having learned the psychological value of physical locations, Kuhlmann’s concept grew into token “touchpoints” for the public that the bank calls “Cafés.”

These cafes are definitely not branches. Visitors can’t perform any traditional teller-based cash transactions at ING DIRECT Cafes. The cafés primary purpose is to reassure consumers and build the brand. Guests are welcome to open an account online using ING computer terminals. Guests can get information about the bank products from the Cafe staff, pick out items from a wide range of ING DIRECT merchandise or just relax and enjoy a cup of fresh coffee while surfing the net on WiFi terminals.

“Don’t be a stranger, drop by and make yourself at home, and bring your Saver’s appetite.”

Each location features a meeting space that can be used for bank-sponsored financial seminars, or by local community groups. Some locations have a dual purpose area that allows the bank to quickly and easily switch from café seating to seminar seating.

The cafés even have a small menu of eats and treats, all at reasonable prices. The cafés brew Peets Coffee & Teas everywhere except Hawaii, where the local Lion’s brand is preferred. Bright orange cups, mugs and straws are used to reinforce the brand.

If you want to take a deeper look at the ING DIRECT strategy, you should pick up a copy of The Orange Code, a book about the bank’s culture penned by Kuhlmann himself. You can or (of course) at an ING DIRECT Café.

Key Takeaways

There is still strategic value in physical locations, even for an online/direct bank with a tech-savvy, self-service audience.

When you have a strong, focused, clearly-defined brand, there will be people who want to associate with it. Every item that people carry out of ING DIRECT’s locations bear the bank’s brand. Everyone who leaves the café essentially becomes a walking billboard for ING DIRECT.

Los Angeles

Corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and I-405
Monday – Friday 6:30AM to 4PM

Highlights: The bathrooms are enclosed in semi-translucent glass, so you can see people’s forms and shadows. The men’s room also features giant-sized Braille letters spelling out “I-N-G.” Why? Who knows. The brilliant orange-and-blue ING-branded Harley parked along the traffic path between the entrance and espresso bar. The ING mountain bike. Big, frosted lettering on the windows that spell out “café.” White, unfinished, industrial ceiling.

New York City

968 3rd at 58th Street
Monday – Friday 7AM to 6PM
Saturday 10AM to 6PM
Sunday 10AM to 6PM

The upstairs seating transforms from hip-and-swanky for evening events into a functional space for seminars during the day. There is an awesome display made from six ING mountain bikes that hangs in the massive two-story vestibule. The espresso/retail area feels like a New York deli. It looks gorgeous at night.


802 Delaware Avenue
Monday – Friday 7AM to 5:30PM

Highlight: The gorgeous blue-lit computer bar.


21 E. Chestnut Street
Monday – Friday 7AM to 7PM
Saturday 9AM to 5PM

Highlights: A giant “Orange Ball” meeting room. The brilliant orange-and-blue Harley parked next to the espresso bar.


1958 Kalakaua Avenue
Monday – Saturday 8AM to 8PM

Highlights: DJ sound booth inherited from Local Motion, the previous tenant. Huge retail wall with great ING garb. The bike shirts are especially cool. More about the Honolulu location here.

St. Cloud

30 7th Avenue South
Monday – Friday 6:30AM to 5PM

Highlight: There’s a smaller “Orange Ball” meeting space than in the Chicago location.


Corner of 17th and Walnut Streets
Monday – Friday 7AM to 7PM
Saturday 10AM to 7PM
Sunday 10AM to 5PM


111 Gordon Baker Road
North York, Ontario
Monday – Friday 8am-5pm
Saturday 10am-3pm
Closed Sundays and Holidays


466 Howe Street
Monday – Friday 9:30am-5:30pm
Saturdays 10:00am-4:00pm
Closed Sundays and Holidays


1141 boul. de Maisonneuve Ouest
Montréal, Québec
Monday – Friday 10am-6pm
Saturday 10am-3pm
Closed Sundays and Holidays


600 6th Avenue SW
Monday – Friday 9am-5:30pm
Closed Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays

Jeffry Pilcher KICKS OFF MAY 7TH! In just a couple weeks, over 1,750+ of your peers and competitors will be at the Forum 2018, discovering the big ideas and exploring the latest trends that are redefining the future of the banking industry. Hurry, time is running out! BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!

This article was originally published on November 8, 2010. All content © 2018 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.


  1. Chris Barry says:

    Wow! They are packed with people! Interesting to note that in the pictures you hardly see anyone in there. Seems to me that there is a lot of waste with this concept – I understand it from a branding perspective but they can’t make enough to support the cost of running it on it’s own. It would be interesting to know how much of a loss they take on the cafe’s and if it is worth the brand awareness payoff.

  2. Chris, I think many of these photos are professionally shot. They may look pretty empty because the architect may have wanted to showcase their work without a bunch of people standing in the way.

    If you’re suggesting that ING DIRECT might be “over-building” by creating spaces larger than necessary, you may be right. They could perhaps accomplish the same things with smaller spaces, which may explain why some of the more recent locations (like Hawaii and Toronto) are smaller.

  3. Brilliant idea. Amazing venues and I have a feeling that this will catch on very soon!

  4. I’ve been to the ING cafe in Philly over a year ago and I remembered the experience. which is half the battle i guess.

  5. How disappointing the Toronto location looks cheap compared to the American cafes with interesting lighting & ambiance. I am not interested in a plastic orange & white cafe’ Too bad ING didn’t think Torontonians like style. Everyone knows there are coffee shops on every corner in Toronto. I don’t see the ING
    cafe competing very well.

Speak Your Mind


Show Comments