Today’s Shopping Centre industry has a growing demand for one particular feature: improved Food and Beverage offerings. With the present focus on turning shopping centre’s into experiential destinations, the new “foodie” consumers looking for a much more varied and sophisticated food offering to pair with their shopping time can not be ignored. This is especially important if we think that customers who stop to eat, will spend on average 27 minutes longer in a shopping centre and spend 18% more.
Operators in the industry have already started to adapt to this trend with the space dedicated to restaurants doubling from 7% to 15% of GLA – this figure is predicted to reach 20% by 2020. Let’s just think that in the UK alone food and drink unit sales have increased by 17% in just 5 years.
The same trend is spreading internationally and new developments and expansions are being built just to fit this new need. Take La Maquinista in Barcelona, where the food court has been expanded by 14% – this development has resulted in a 7% increase in footfall being registered in the day, peaking at night with + 14%.
However, not just any food and beverage offering will do, what is offered to consumers, especially the food-savvy millennials, needs to be strategised. A whole new group of trends in terms of food culture are now being imported in our shopping malls. Food courts will almost always include a healthy and organic option, as well as an Asian-style restaurant, a fast-food chain, smoothies, sandwiches, deserts, the list goes on – in order to satisfy every palate a diverse mix needs to be present. Similarly, with the increasing use of pop-ups, leasing managers are also bringing in new types of “street-food”, one of the latest fads for young consumers.
The food offering in some cases may also be extremely refined and exclusive, often including Michelin star restaurants like the Tim Ho Wan, award-winning dim sum chain in Asia and Taste of Italy in Jumeirah’s Galleria Mall by Heinz Beck, a five-star Michelin chef.
Food and Beverage are no longer ‘optional’ or ‘a nice to have’, our savvy consumers expect these tenants in shopping centres and they expect to find a strong variety of options. It is not a new concept that shopping centres are no longer used for a simple transaction; they are increasingly becoming destinations to enjoy an experience, meet friends or enjoy a meal – I’m looking forward to how our innovative centres will develop this trend further!
Jennifer Greco, International Consultant, Foundation Recruitment