The role of the restaurants and cafés in shopping centres has been changed. Food is no longer an add-on to the retail offering but rather a crucial part of the shopping experience. A versatile food and beverage offering is a must because it is increasingly more often a key attraction and even one of the main reasons to visit in the first place.

Change in lifestyles – millennials prefer food service

According to a CBRE global survey (published already few years ago), approximately one third of the customers visit shopping centres just to eat or drink something.

This change might reflect a bigger trend in consuming preferences – customers are growingly critical towards buying new products. Instead, people are spending increasingly more on experiences.

This consumer paradigm change has benefited restaurants because dining, whether in a restaurant or at home, can be a reasonably affordable experience. Having a nice meal is also a way to convert a necessity like eating into an enjoyable experience in the midst of your busy everyday life.

Millennials prefer food service, not cooking

According to a recent McKinsey survey, almost half of US millennials say they rarely prepare meals at home. In both Europe and the United States, food service is growing faster than food-at-home consumption. This also poses an interesting challenge to grocery stores in the future – it just might be more convenient and even more affordable to dine out than to cook at home, especially for people who have an urban and single lifestyle.

Food and beverage share from gross leasable area is growing

F&B tenants increasing their share of the gross leasable area (GLA) in shopping centres is a global trend that also shows in the Nordics. In the US, there are shopping centres in which the F&B share of the total GLA approaches even 30%.

In Finland, F&B currently covers 8.1% of the shopping centre GLA, and measured by the number of units, the share of F&B is 17.3% in Finland. These numbers represent the Finnish average, but in many new and recently redeveloped shopping centres, the share of the F&B area totals double-digit numbers.

In Sweden, F&B represents a little over 7.3% of the leasable area in shopping centres. Moreover, there are differences between shopping centres in Sweden as well. Kista Galleria, for instance, is well-known for its huge food court that serves over 6,000 customers every day.

In Norway, the share of F&B in shopping centres is currently 6.7%.

Finland is leading slightly, but F&B is expected to grow in all Nordic countries.

Sources:

Reports and surveys: CBRE: Food and Retail, 2016, McKinsey: Reviving the grocery industry – Six imperatives, 2018, Euromonitor: Consumer Foodservice, Food and retail part 2, 2018

F&B GLA statistics: The Finnish Council of Shopping Centres, Köpcentrumbarometern Q2 2018, Tore Kvarud