Appetizer or Entrée? How Food Continues to Fuel Retail

by | 14 December 2016

Once banished to the central food court, dining has become much more than a retail afterthought. In our latest 2016 Retail Spotlight Report, Colliers brings together the voices of retail real estate professionals and retail center representatives to deliver insight into food-driven trends and opportunities.

Key takeaways from this report

  • Understand the rising role of food in retail – People are dining out more often at all price points, new restaurant and food concepts are exploding and opportunities are being created for retail centers of all types. Many retail centers are creating vibrant and lively areas anchored by a collection of food offerings.
  • Recognize food evolutions (and revolutions) – Food trends move quickly but some important shifts are more persistent. Several recent shifts that savvy retailers, owners and operators are keying into include the growth of fast casual, health-oriented and chef-driven dining concepts.
  • Design for cross-shopping: parking and place – Whether dining out leads to additional retail spending depends largely on how easy it is to “cross-shop.” In particular, we see thoughtful design supporting cross-shopping in mixed-use developments or “urban enclaves” functioning as suburban downtowns and magnets for millennial workers and employers.
  • Use technology to your advantage – New tools can make urban design more efficient and profitable for retailers. Technology also makes consumers more willing to travel to buzzed-about restaurants, bringing traffic to areas that might not typically receive this type of attention.
  • Specialize, specialize, specialize – The growth of small, distinctive shops plays into a broader shift toward customization and specialization. Look for fewer chains and more boutiques and high-quality “makers” coming to the market. These types of specialty stores will be an important ingredient in the retail center tenant mix of the future.

The rising impact of food in the retail sphere points to a broader lifestyle shift. From specialization to an increased focus on wellness, it will pay for retailers, owners and operators to be examining all the possible implications of this evolution.

Stay tuned for another post in the new year about the next big opportunity we see evolving out of this shift. Hint: it has to do with translating “modern mindfulness” into the built environment.

In the meantime, be sure to download the 2016 Retail Spotlight Report: Appetizer or Entrée? How Food Continues to Fuel Retail.

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