'Today, a restaurant visit is about more than taste buds' – 5 tips for a successful food concept

Urban hubs - 9.2.2021

A long-term collaboration with its tenants, great market knowledge and participation in concept development. This is Citycon's recipe for creating successful places for meetings, gatherings, and dining experiences.

Citycon is involved at an early stage when a food concept is to be developed. When a new tenant has signed a lease, then the journey and a long-term relationship begin, where Citycon wants to go hand in hand with the tenants and be able to be on hand and provide help when needed.

–It is a strength that we have many centres and can match the right concept with the right place. We are keen to find the right size and location for the premises and to place participants who go well together as neighbours. Together they create a destination. Behind each rental is a carefully developed strategy, says Sargon Yan, Leasing Manager at Citycon with a special focus on food and drink.

Sargon has extensive experience in entrepreneurship and has started and run several restaurants himself. In recent years, he has worked as a consultant focusing on the establishment, concept development and development of commercial properties. Since June last year, he has been working at Citycon.

–What is unique about Citycon is that we have a great deal of experience and understanding of what it takes to run a profitable restaurant. We understand restaurant key figures, operations, and concept development. Already in the lease process, we work for a long-term and healthy establishment. We also have a deep understanding of the local markets where we have our shopping centres. We understand what works and can help create site-specific concepts, says Sargon.

In the food and beverage segment, the rate of change is high. Previously, a concept could thrive for 20 years. Today, the average lifespan is 3–5 years, then some form of update must take place. The customer is more aware, and behaviour changes quickly, says Sargon.

–Innovative restauranteurs create a new behaviour among consumers. Today, a restaurant visit is about more than tastebuds. The food itself is not always the primary reason for visiting a restaurant. We want to be able to have a business meeting, celebrate holidays, sit down to work, study and more. In the past, people went to libraries to work or study; today we want to do it in co-working areas, cafes and restaurants. We invite fewer and fewer people to our home because we prefer to meet outside. And this behaviour places higher demands on restauranteurs and concept developers to create the right environments.

5 tips for a successful food concept

1. The basis for a well-thought-out concept is to identify the right target group. You need to define who your customer group is and design the concept according to what the customer likes.

2. When planning the environment, don't just think of a restaurant, think of a living room. Today, people meet up in a completely different way than before. Modern, pleasant environments are a must in order to attract customers.

3. Remember to be changeable and flexible. After a few years you will need to update your concept and you can plan this so that an update does not become too expensive.

4. Social media has changed the conditions for the restaurant industry and has created completely new opportunities to reach its target groups. Think about which channels you want to work with: Instagram, loyalty platforms, influencers, or any other channel. Instagram-friendly environments lead to more posts. Your venue should look attractive and be photo-friendly.

5. Renting a premise should be a collaboration that extends throughout the contract period. Choose an active landlord who will also be your partner.

Interested for more information? Ask Sargon and our team about premises and possibilities at our centres!