We’ve broken down the three core elements of a successful food precinct - people, place and product. By delivering on all three elements, your food precinct is set to be a successful, thriving space that people want visit, spend money at and return to time and time again.
Who are our customers and what do they want?
The customer should sit at the centre of any masterplanning strategy. To create a successful food and beverage operation, connecting with your customer is essential - meet their needs and they will positively interact with your precinct time and time again.
As a retail developer or a developer of any kind for that matter, customer-focussed considerations need to be made and they are that customers no longer eat the traditional three meals per day, they like to explore new foods, at varied times of the day and they like to experience their meals either alone or with friends and family. Are these needs being met by your precinct or centre? Customers are now seeking an immersive experience throughout all hours of the day. This includes participation and interaction with food that can be purchased at varying price points and from a diverse and exciting range of cuisines. A masterplan with a customer-centric strategy that fulfils these needs is vital to the performance of a precinct. Create your food and beverage precinct for the people who use it and they will use it time and time again.
Become a ‘dining destination’
A place must appeal to peoples’ common mindset of seeking an elevated dining experience. There are a number of common factors that contribute to the appeal of a place such as street access, alfresco seating, extended trading hours and elements of comfort.
As consumers become savvier and more exposed to genuine food experiences, it is important that developers and operators comprehend what the customer expectations of a place are by asking the following questions:
1. How does your retail centre measure up when it comes to the total number of professional food retailers and cafe restaurant operators?
2. Have you included any first, second and third tier chef food concepts?
3. What percentage of your food mix is predictable high street franchised food brands?
4. How many concepts are new to market?
5. How many offerings can implement al fresco dining?
6. Do you have digital, online and hardcopy centre-dining directory in one or more languages?
7. Does your centre advertise it’s food and beverage attributes outside the centre?
By asking yourself these questions, you can evaluate how likely you are to become a destination and put yourself on the shopping and entertainment map. With people being knowledgeable and digitally connected these days, people are seeking experiences in their day-to-day lives that can keep them on trend, experiencing the hype and doing the ‘new and noteworthy’ to share with others. Underneath this, they are also wanting an experience that nourishes their need for a fulfilling experience that connects them with their friends and family and allows them a place to feel comfortable. Providing both aspects to the modern customer by solving the questions above will lead to the creation of destination.
Food choices, differing price points, consistent quality and friendly hospitality
Good operators deliver high quality products, consistently. Regardless of how much consideration is put into understanding the people and the place, poor products within a centre or precinct will inhibit it’s success. Food and beverage precincts need to be able to adapt and evolve and this is particularly integral to the product offering. Menu fatigue is worse than stale food.
Diversity of cuisines and excellence in operation are two fundamental rules that Future Food follow when developing brand mixes for projects. Add a coffee cart to a secondary space, evolve the offer, create interest and choices but above all, ensure that both the product choice and quality are exceptional as customers now judge a centre on it’s food and beverage offer.
The retail industry has come to love food both as an asset and product. As with all retail categories, elevation and evolution are key factors to maintaining currency and credibility and to ensure that each category survives into the future. Future Food aims to create ‘dining destinations’ that offer a range of planned and diverse hospitality offers in a range of visual and design driven environments - the perfect amalgamation of ‘people’, ‘place’ and ‘product’. Retail centres of the future will have food and beverage precincts that stand as independent to the fashion and lifestyle retail, that will promote repeat visitation and increase customer spend for the entire centre.
Credits - cover image via PSFK - Ideas for Innovation "How Knowledge About Your Customers Can Empower Better Retail Decisions"