The retail real estate industry is constantly evolving from past two years. Today, the mall business is no more restricted to the business of fashion. In fact, food is mushrooming at top malls of India and it could be named as the next wave of evolution.
With rapidly changing aspirations of Indian consumers, influx of international brands and importantly, increased competition from e-commerce; there is now a pressing need for physical retailers to evolve. Hence, food business is looked as next choice for attracting customers towards mall and that is forcing the growth of the new age mall in India.
Experience the global
Today’s consumers are seeking a shopping experience that makes them comfortable, inspires them to stay longer and, more essentially, persuades them to return. This has led to a constant effort by Indian mall operators to provide the requisite specialized shopping experience. Today’s most successful malls are perpetually striving to become prominent, iconic ‘shoppertainment’ locations.
F&B is the core
With growing competition from online retailing, F&B and entertainment are their main allies in achieving this. F&B and recreational open spaces are now a vital component of the mall trade and tenant mix. The concept of ‘place making’ or destination crafting is all about creating an environment that gives mall customers a memorable experience which they want to experience again and again. This philosophy has given rise to a larger process which includes almost every aspect of the mall– from anchor mix to the design of the mall, dining options and the amenities offered.
An integral aspect of this process involves community spaces for featuring of promotional events, parking children while simultaneously giving them something exciting to do, hosting art exhibitions and flea markets, etc. Malls that have given due thought to such spaces are outnumbering other developments in terms of repeat footfalls, and this clearly indicates that customers value an experience that transcends mainline shopping and also addresses their social needs.
What really differentiates malls that have succeeded in the 'placemaking' sweepstakes is their size, modern infrastructure that meets today’s retailing demands and their ability to deliver an atmosphere that breeds loyalty and a desire to return. These malls are rewarded with longer stays, repeated visits and consistently positive customer reviews. In order to connect with the customers, these malls have become ‘places’ that provide customers with numerous avenues of relaxation and entertainment apart from letting people shop.
Food court is growing
As everyone is focusing on food, it is one business that’s never going to die. However, the growing concept of crafting consumer experiences around social spaces has given Indian a new wave to attract footfalls. From malls like Select CityWalk allocating only 10 per cent spaces to setting up a speciality food court, Mall of India the new destination mall in Delhi-NCR focusing on food by bringing top restaurants at their mall allocating overall 40 per cent space to food, it could be acknowledged as a food driven business. And, it doesn’t stop here food only malls like Cyber Hub and Epicuria are gaining grounds in today’s retail real estate scenario.
“We have footfall of around 34k on weekdays and about 28 k on weekends,” shared Anant Verma, Business Head, DLF CyberHub which has Farzi Cafe, Dhaba, Soi 7, Wine Company, Starbucks and The Beer Café as some of the top performing brands.
So from quick coffees, laid back family brunches to those special and extensive dates, food courts are today is fun, adventure and laughter in the form of a never heard or seen before concept.
With Inputs From: JLL India