Local Markets – The Winning Formula
Staying connected with customers, day & night delivering relevant and exciting experiences for all.
Australia’s Local Markets are leading the way when it comes to remaining relevant and delivering unique food experiences. Where other precincts are trying to figure out how to evolve and expand their F&B offer, the best of Australia’s markets have been doing just that for over a century. Their experience is well worth studying in order to understand how to deliver the best of Food and Hospitality – authenticity, sociability, repeat visitation, enjoyment and fun – to your project.
In 2019 we see dining clusters, mixed-use developments and shopping centres all searching for ways to refresh their food and beverage offer, with the aim of remaining relevant and enticing customers to their precincts. Food and hospitality is a continuously evolving and competitive landscape, where staying ahead of the curve is fundamental in delivering experiences that are unique, authentic and credible to keep customers coming back.
Whilst shopping centres and mixed-use developments are programming their food and beverage to meet current market demands, it is Australia’s fresh and prepared food markets that have been continuously leading the way by providing a comprehensive choice of authentic cuisine, culinary journeys and food experiences that capture the imagination of food-curious consumers.
At a holistic level, modern food and hospitality is about a lot more than sustenance and consumption. It is about enjoyment, about crafting memories, about sharing experiences with friends and family and, above all, learning, exploring and discovering new and interesting cuisines, cooking techniques and tastes.
For over 150 years, Adelaide Central Market and South Melbourne Market have built their enviable reputations with a focus on fresh produce. However, along with many other leading ‘local markets’ in Australia, they have acclimatised to the modern demands by prioritising retail space to accommodate a greater number of cafes, restaurants and food vendors dispensing quality prepared food and authentic dining provision.
The successful longevity and recent revitalisation of Australia’s local markets can be attributed towards meeting the changing needs of the community, aspiring to deliver diverse and exciting cultural experiences for its customers and putting authentic and credible food first and foremost.
A common feature amongst these markets is their desire to appeal to the masses by offering approachable price points, value for money, family friendly environments, a variety of cuisine choices and all-encompassing experiences that involve entertainment, socialisation, food and drinks, all contributing towards delivering a compelling hospitality overlay to appease the senses. In a word, they are Fun!!
One initiative being used by Australia’s leading produce markets to appeal to a wide audience is through delivering distinctive food events that showcase authentic cuisines and promote cultural diversity to the broader community. Specialty market events such as Queen Victoria Markets ‘Europa Market’, Preston Markets ‘Latin Day Festival’, South Melbourne Markets ‘Mussel and Jazz Festival’, Sydney’s ‘Night Noodle Markets’ or Carriageworks ‘Winter Night Markets’ are examples of cultural cuisine driven festivals that have contributed strongly to the popularity of modern markets and ensuring they remain on-trend and relevant for years to come.
“Just when you thought the Queen Victoria Market couldn’t possibly squeeze in another nocturnal market they do. This autumn the iconic inner-city bazaar is launching the Europa Night Market, an after-hours market than humbly salutes Europe and its diverse (and delicious) food and drink traditions.”
Nicola Dowse, TimeOut
Successful market places have also embraced the benefits of utilising social media channels such as Instagram and Facebook to showcase their diversity of food offers, publicly promote their seasonal and one-off events and establish a platform to introduce food retailers as the ‘faces of the market’ to generate greater connection between customer and retailer. These market-wide management driven initiatives contribute towards creating a buzz around the market, increasing awareness and maximising customer engagement, for the benefit of all stakeholders, retailers and customers.
Whilst the food industry is currently keeping a close eye on supermarkets and large retailers as they shift their attention to prepared food, Australia’s marketplaces have confidence in the fact they sit ahead of the curve as they have been adapting their prepared food product offerings for decades. The majority of fresh food retailers have adopted ‘add-on’ prepared food product lines relevant to their concept which caters to the time poor customer need states and creates more competitive and versatile business models for the future.
Understanding how markets remain relevant through continuously refreshing their offer, how they focus on authenticity to deliver memorable experiences and how they strive towards appealing to a wide audience, could prove a valuable lesson for the broader industry. Dining precincts, food courts and shopping centres could learn a lot from some of the longest standing food operators in the country where food retail strategies aren’t necessarily structured around “current trends” and “fad food”, and an honest, genuine approach is drawing the crowds, with little sign of slowing down.
Cover image: Prahran Market (Image via Chapel Street Precinct)