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It’s not sheds that are the new shops, it’s Food & Beverage.

By Darren Yates, Head of EMEA Retail Research & Insight

Have you heard, in recent times, someone say, “Sheds are the new shops”? True, the logistics sector has been growing like the clappers, with the latest focus on urban logistics and last mile delivery.

However, it’s the growing number of F&B (Food & Beverage) units – more than any other use – which are filling the gaps left in many high streets, shopping centres and retail parks because of the growth in online shopping.

For me, leisure – of which F&B is a major component – is the new retail and it dovetails perfectly with consumers’ desire for more “experiential” formats.

If you go back 15-20 years, catering in retail locations was seen as a service line; not as a key contributor in increasing dwell time or driving up spend.

Looking through my old retail audits and shopping centre plans from the 1990s, Food & Beverage would typically account for 5-10% of units in a scheme. The remaining units overwhelmingly focused on comparison goods.

Times have changed. The F&B sector has gone from strength to strength in recent years. It typically takes up over 20% of units in new and redeveloped shopping centres in mature retail markets such as the UK.

The rapid growth in consumer spending on eating out is a global trend. As spending increases, customer expectation does too.

Once-ubiquitous food courts, made up of common seating areas surrounded by fast food outlets, are a dying breed.

While mainstream brands – with the ability to pay higher rents – still dominate, landlords worldwide recognise the importance of diversity and new Food & Beverage concepts.

Increasingly we see different zones within shopping centres created for these concepts. The food hall marketplace takes the concept on a stage further: a combination of restaurants, F&B counters and bakeries, along with the sale of cooking-related products and even cookery schools to add ‘edutainment’.

Currently, only a handful of truly international players offer the food hall concept and there is scope for more high-quality operators to emerge and enter new markets.
Spending on eating out is likely to continue to grow globally over the next 10 years. Consumers’ desire to enhance a shopping trip with social and leisure experiences means a compelling Food & Beverage offer is now critical to the success of any retail scheme.

In fact, the growth in F&B seems to have arrived just as many sectors require less physical store space. Indeed, F&B could prove to be the saviour of many high streets, shopping centres and retail parks.

Download our Global Food & Beverage report to find out ‘what’s on the menu?’

Darren Yates is Head of EMEA Retail Research & Insight

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