JLL says ‘eating is the new shopping’

Over the last decade, food & beverage (F&B) operators have doubled the amount of floor space they occupy in shopping centres, from 7-to-15%, states a JLL research.

Across Europe, food service in shopping centres currently accounts for 15% of the total GLA, and JLL predicts this to rise to at least 20% in total over the next decade.

Undoubtedly, food is now a key ingredient in encouraging dwell time in shopping centres. Figures indicate that customers who eat during a shopping centre trip spend on average 27 minutes longer across the shopping centre and spend 18% more in overall transactions.

“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 give consumers a reason to keep coming back. This is only set to rise,” observes Jonathan Doughty, MD of Coverpoint, JLL’s food consulting business.

“The retail narrative at the moment is physical versus online. However, the growth of F&B highlights the opportunity that exists for restaurants and food offerings that can tap into new eating and leisure trends,” adds Robert Bonwell, EMEA CEO of Retail at JLL.

The trend for food ‘gourmetisation’ and a quest for new experiences are 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 that 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.

Some other key consumer trends that are impacting the F&B 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 – combining two basic products to create something new.
  • 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.

Commenting on the Middle East, Andrew Williamson, national director – head of retail, JLL MENA, says, “Meeting family and friends is a key component of the social fabric in the Middle East. The UAE is expecting to add over 1,000 additional F&B outlets by 2018. This will offer an opportunity in the market for home-grown and unique concepts catering to the diverse nationalities that live here and tourists.”

“Walk through the Ripe Market on a Friday morning in Zabeel Park or the food trucks at Kite Beach and you can see the F&B diversity that is gaining a foothold in the UAE,” he concludes.

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