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A Europe-wide proliferation of new eating and drinking concepts is driving demand for real estate

“Magic Roundabout, F&B and leisure in the EMEA region” – new research from Colliers International, shows that, as a proportion of total expenditure on food and drink, the Spanish spend the most on eating out.

In contrast to the 15 percent of F&B spend that Spaniards pay for nights out, the British spend half as much and Germans only 3 percent.

Although France is characterized as a café society and a country where every town has its own restaurant or brasserie, the proportion of total F&B spend which goes on eating out is just under 5 percent – or a third of what the average Spaniard spends.

Lower incomes across Eastern Europe mean that the propensity to eat is still generally low – Hungary and the Czech Republic lead the CEE countries with percentage of F&B spending at just under 8 percent and 6 percent respectively.

The rise of new places to eat and drink is meeting this growing appetite. Destination F&B centres are tempting people out of the kitchen and into everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to street food markets.

Colliers Co-Head of EMEA Retail Agency, Etienne van Unen, comments: “While F&B can often drive the value of a retail space, mall or location, understanding the target market and customer base is vital to getting the mix right. For example, the Magna Plaza project in Amsterdam has capitalized on a magnificent building and the range of food and drink on offer acts as a destination feature while complementing the high-end retailing available. However, if you want to create an environment that is sustainable over the long-term and won’t be a victim of changing tastes, you have to get the price point of your offer right to attract both locals and visitors. We’ve seen examples of branded chain restaurants over-extending and being forced into closing outlets. People are getting increasingly sophisticated in what they expect from a night out and the concepts on offer have to reflect that.”

This trend is making a substantial contribution to shopping environments and makes most impact when complemented by other leisure uses.

Colliers’ Head of EMEA Research, Damian Harrington, comments: “In the UK, shopping schemes that have a cinema are typically able to command 20 percent higher rents on their places to eat and drink than centres which don’t have this dimension.”

Shopping centre owners are also trying to find something which differentiates their food offer from the competition. Capital Park’s 26,000 sqm Fabryka Norblina development in Warsaw will include a health-conscious ‘Bio Bazar’ – the first of its kind in Poland.

The trend is also helping shopping centres reshape their offer in response to changing retailing habits. The intu Uxbridge scheme in the UK has repurposed a redundant Debenhams department store into four new F&B units. This has both brought an empty unit back to life and increased the average rent paid on that space by 300 percent.

Paul Souber, Co-Head of EMEA Retail Agency, comments: “We’re entering a new phase of the F&B sector. The UK saw almost exponential growth in the first half of the last decade. This has cooled more recently but other territories across Europe are now catching up and there is major potential. Today, new places to eat out are often shaped more by social attitudes than the type of food they offer: it’s increasingly about the cause not the cuisine. The rise of veganism and changing attitudes to the sustainability of the food chain are a growing influence. If landlords are going to enjoy the enhanced rents and footfall that the propensity to eat out can provide, they will need to be agile in their offer and prepared to change their mix on a regular basis. The days of simply providing somewhere to get a pizza or burger are long gone.”

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