The Art of Hospitality Masterplanning in Retail Centres

It used to be the case where you could place a bunch of ‘big name’ food and beverage outlets in a designated space and call it a food court. These spaces functioned as filler for a precinct and provided food out of necessity for those shoppers and centre users who were bound to get hungry.

Today, food and beverage is one of the biggest assets to a development proven by the exponential growth that has occurred in this category over the last few years. The global food and beverage market has been growing at roughly 5% a year and in doing so, food outlets are now making up over 20% of new and redeveloped retail centres as they become a mainstay and an anchor for shopping centre success.

With this comes the need to stand out from the crowd with centres around the world increasingly creating elevated, experiential food precincts to deliver to the growing market. As a developer who is creating a successful precinct, you can no longer bang a bunch of brands into a space and expect it to make gains on asset value. The customer has become the driver of what makes a successful food and beverage precinct and customers no longer want sub-optimal, experience-less options. The modern customer is conscious and informed as well as exposed to a global array of offerings through the use of the internet and social media. This means they know what they want and they will do and go anywhere to get it.

Italian urban bistro, The Place at Future Food`s project, Shinsegae Department Store in Starfield Hanam, South Korea  image via CJ NOW

Italian urban bistro, The Place at Future Food`s project, Shinsegae Department Store in Starfield Hanam, South Korea image via CJ NOW

With that said, food and beverage precincts need to satisfy the customer. Managing Director of Future Food, Francis Loughran states it in simple terms “give them what they want and they will come” which is an easy concept to grasp but actually delivering on it is what can be difficult. Questions arise like: What is the benchmark for food and beverage precinct standards globally and domestically? Who is my target market? What level of service does my precinct need to provide? What is the overall profitability for the space and how can my precinct reach this? This is when expertise and a hospitality masterplan can be the maker of a successful food and beverage precinct and even overall development. With food making up such a large part of retail these days, it’s important to get it right so you can ensure centre sustainability for the years to come.

Over the years, and as avid foodies, the Future Food team have learnt that there are a set of common key components that successful hospitality masterplans posses. In getting to know this, our masterplanning of strategies always starts from a common place, which is:

Customer-centred creation

Know who your customers are and what they want as well as what they might want. A successful food and beverage strategy is based upon giving your customer 70% of what they know and 30% of something new and different.

Quality over quantity

Tenancy numbers are not what increases your asset value. Instead it is the clever curation of offerings which reaches every customer type in a precise and strategic manner. This approach avoids saturation of concepts and increases customer strike rate as well as average spend. Read more about your customer strike rate here.

Be authentic 

This is why the big brands no longer work to bolster the success of a precinct. People want to experience the next big thing. A strategy which nurtures brands that are in their infancy is beneficial to the overall appeal as it fulfils peoples desire to experience the ‘up and coming’ food and beverage trends as well as gives your precinct an edge that sets you apart.

Future Food’s planning process redefines the retail-food experience, setting new benchmarks for how people engage with food in developments around the globe. We begin strategy development by creating a vision, determining and understanding the customer and aligning progressive and new to market brands to the positioning statement of the development in order to generate a food and beverage strategy that is bespoke and individual to the centre or development that will adopt it. The outcome for the development is a differentiated and diverse mix of food and beverage offerings that has been precisely curated to ensure every customer type is reached as well as every price point. The outcome? Customer strike rate is optimised, average spend is increased and therefore, asset value is gained. With the food and beverage category growing at the rate it is, a curated and strategic food and beverage masterplan is a key investment for those looking into creating a space that sees itself through to the competitive future.

Credits - Cover image via Korea Times of a Future Food project, Starfield Hanam, South Korea