Over the last ten years, food & beverage (F&B) operators have doubled the amount of floorspace they take in shopping centres, from 7 percent to 15 percent, according to research from JLL.
Across Europe, foodservice in shopping centres currently accounts for 15 percent of the total GLA (Gross Leasable Area). JLL predicts that this will rise to at least 20 percent in total over the next decade.
Food is now recognised a key ingredient in encouraging dwell time in shopping centres. Figures show that customers who eat during a shopping centre trip spend on average 27 minutes longer across the shopping centre and spend 18 percent more in overall transactions.
The trend for food ‘gourmetisation’ and a quest for new experiences is credited with the rise of F&B in retail. JLL also predicts there will be more demand for Asian food operators as malls cater for new customers from China and other Asian markets who have significantly expanded their overseas travel footprint. The UK, in particular, can expect additional Chinese travellers as a result of recent visa relaxation, which is likely to increase tourism. Ippudo, a Japanese noodle chain, recently opened stores in London, testimony to this rising demand for Asian food, which also satisfies demand for ‘clean eating’ from calorie-conscious consumers.
Jonathan Doughty, MD of Coverpoint, JLL’s food consulting business, commented: “In a new online world experience is king and gastronomy will be the social glue that will hold retail spaces of the future together. The rise in online sales means that consumers are looking for leisure and culinary experiences from their shopping centre visits as this is something that is still impossible to do online. Well-configured and complementary dining and drinking provision can add real diversity and vitality to major city markets worldwide, and can often boost consumers’ shopping experience and dwell time, as well as giving consumers a reason to keep coming back. This is only set to rise.”
For investors, retailers and landlords alike, this presents opportunity. Robert Bonwell, EMEA CEO of Retail at JLL, added: “The retail narrative at the moment is physical versus online, however the growth of food and beverage highlights the opportunity that exists for restaurants and food offerings that can tap into new eating and leisure trends.”
Other key consumer trends that are impacting the food & beverage sector include: Gourmetisation: The increasing desire from consumers for a deluxe dining experience, with a basic product being elevated to the next level. There is also an emerging trend for hybrid food; the combining of two basic products to create something new. A prime restaurant example is Sushi Samba, which offers a hybrid of Japanese, Peruvian and Brazilian food. A product example is the ‘cronut,’ a cross between a doughnut and a croissant, from Rinkoff bakery.
Service mixology: There are emerging combinations of service and self-service in restaurants, with increased self-service in mass-market dining. This calls for staff having more engagement, knowledge and prowess. Examples include Vapiano where your order is loaded onto a card and paid for on exit.