Restaurants gobble up more retail space to entice experience-hungry shoppers

0 CommentsBy

May 30, 2018

Restaurants are playing an ever-increasing role in creating the authentic shopping experience today’s consumers crave.

For the first time ever, a consumer’s dollar is more likely to be spent eating out than at a grocery store. As a result, the amount of space dedicated to food in a shopping center or mall has increased in recent years from between 3 and 5 percent to between 5 and 10 percent.

Food courts have long been a component of retail spaces. However, the trend of using restaurants as a destination in and of themselves is one that has come to bear post-recession, as most malls are challenged with finding replacement tenants. Retail owners cannot plug and play in this day and age. When malls or shopping centers lose a large box tenant, often there is not a replacement tenant large enough to fill the vacant space. Food and beverage is widely regarded as a sustainable and simple way to make retail space more productive, due to consumers’ – especially millennials – propensity for eating out.

Pre-recession, retail owners and developers had a similar tenancy around the country for their food areas. But what came out of the recession and the growth of the purchasing power of the millennial population was their desire to have an authentic experience, spurring owners to make the food component of their developments much more personal, rather than a commodity.

Today, retail owners and developers have to be much more creative and bring together multiple concepts to create a certain feel or element authentic to that region. Whether it’s in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Kansas City or Houston, owners will find much more success when a food court or food hall matches the community in which it exists.

Learn more about this trend from JLL’s Naveen Jaggi in this Houston Chronicle article.