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The future of food courts in shopping malls

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1Gastronomic Destination for Shopaholics

Food courts, mostly situated at the topmost floor of any shopping mall have been playing a pivotal role in increasing footfalls in shopping centres. Mall developers rely on them and consequently are experimenting with the tenants of this particular space in order to generate maximum benefit.

Future of food court in shopping malls
Food Court in shopping malls is turning into a gastronomic destination for shopaholics and foodies alike, enabling the food and beverage industry to gain a competitive edge in the market

Food courts in shopping malls are a gastronomic destination for shopaholics and foodies alike, enabling the food and beverage industry to gain a competitive edge in the market. Gone are the days when shopping malls were considered as retail centres offering multitudes of retail shopping outlets. A plethora of global trends has led to the revolutionizing of shopping malls in India. 21st century consumers visit malls not just to shop for designer items and accessories but also in search of exceptional experiences that surpass conventional ways of shopping.

Shopping mall developers are competing hard to attract customers’ attention by offering them with an unparalleled shopping experience combined with never-ending entertainment packages. When it comes to entertainment, one cannot rule out the significance of dining-out as an important form of entertainment, and developers in India are taking all possible measures to embrace innovative ways of turning food courts into a glutton’s paradise.

2A Range Of Cuisines – All Under One Roof

Good food never fails to draw crowds and hence the importance of food courts, which hold a very special place in the growing mall culture in the country. The Indian palate has evolved, a taste for global cuisines has been developed. Mall developers are constantly experimenting with a variety of culinary delights so as to add flavour to their business with the help of food courts – with emphasis on multi-cuisine options all available under a single roof.

Restaurants in food courts are operated by franchisees – regional, national as well as local restaurants. A combination of popular international F&B brands like , , , , , , , Wendy’s, Mc Donald’s, , , etc., in one place is a key factor in attracting audiences.

The success of international food outlets in shopping malls has made India a potential market for global F&B giants. Hence, to maintain quality and offer a strong value proposition, mall operators are consulting with experts or in some cases even appointing in-house food consultants to pick the best food vendors who are capable of delivering in accordance with the standards laid out.

3Preferred Destination for Brands

Some key factors that make shopping malls the most preferred destination for F&B brands are —
– Multiple choices of fast food restaurants, and fine dining, as well as casual dining options including vanilla retailers such as ice-cream and popcorn joints.
– Air-conditioned and perfect for dining with family and friends.
– Warm and welcoming ambience to dine out with a variety of entertainment options, such as food festivals, special events, live music, and cultural nights.
– Value for money.
– Hygienic and scrumptious food.
– Quick high-quality service, and friendly staff .
– An affordable price compared to other fine dining restaurants.

With the objective of spicing up revenues, mall developers also emphasise on factors such as—
– Right mix of local, national and international F&B brands
– Right mix of cuisines and categories like Fast food, Drive ins, Coffee shops, Fine Dining etc.
– Financial solidity
– Prospects for scaling up.

4A Great Source Of Revenue

Shopping mall owners are of the opinion that beside driving footfall, larger food courts are major revenue earners as they generate multiple sales. Food courts provide their customers with the luxury of dining like a king by enabling them to relish multiple choices of exotic cuisines under the same roof in an aesthetic and trendy ambience. Often this luxury becomes the prime reason for individuals to visit shopping malls which in turn contributes to the sale of other brands.

5Beating Online Competition With Food Court

The growing popularity of online shopping has put tremendous pressure on the Indian retail sector. The modern consumers prefer to shop in the comfort of their home instead of visiting local stores or showrooms. Thus mall owners in India are cashing in on food courts to pull in more customers. Food Courts are generally positioned on the topmost floor of shopping malls so that diners explore the lower floors before they get to the food court and can also get a bird’s eye view of all the stores/brands located at the lower levels. This motivates diners to engage in impulsive buying which in turn enhances sales.

6Allotment Of Space

Seating is an essential factor in the success of food courts. Thus, the allotment of space to food courts involves a lot of planning and detailed analysis. According to market reports, mall developers generally allocate 15 per cent or even higher space for F&B offering in shopping malls. Some malls dedicate an entire floor to their food court considering the huge amount of footfalls they generate. Moreover, allotment of adequate space also facilitates a free flow of movement and air circulation. Food courts in shopping malls generally occupy 15,000s q.ft. to 25,000 sq.ft. area whereas vanilla joints occupy anywhere between 350 sq.ft to 1500 sq.ft area.

Food courts are generally leased to individual food-court operator or to different food operators while the overall food court is controlled by the mall developer. The rentals normally are percentage of turnover of the counter.

7Bright Future Ahead

Mall culture in India is evolving on a daily basis. Since it is developing at a frenzied pace, the road ahead looks quite rosy for food courts in shopping malls. Food courts in India are going through a culinary renaissance. Over the last few years, fine dining options in Indian shopping malls have proliferated by leaps and bounds. Thanks to the mall developers who are coming up with ground-breaking dining concepts and putting the same into practice for driving sales and enhancing footfalls.

The trend of dining out while shopping in malls has been growing enormously among Indian shoppers and soon it will match the levels prevalent in Europe, the United States of America and South Asia.