F&B offer in shopping malls increases transactions by 25%

What’s on the menu? How food and beverage outlets can enhance loyalty

The focus for Mapic this year is Food and Beverage (F&B), and as Europe’s leading retailers, mall owners and developers descend on the event, it seems as though the topic has been perfectly chosen.

Our latest data, taken from our view of 700K transactions in 15 centres across nine European countries, shows the ever-growing importance of a mall’s F&B proposition. The continued rise of online has also created the growth of the “experience economy” where high value is placed on the quality of richer experiences such as beauty treatments, hair salons, cinemas and of course, eating out.

But striking the right balance of F&B is not without its challenges.  Only a few years ago malls were regularly designed with circa 7% of space dedicated to dining, often focused into one or two large food court areas. It requires a bold vision to rebalance ratios, invest in redevelopment and innovate with the dining mix. Malls such as Trinity Leeds, Mall of Scandinavia or ECE’s new Foodtopia have pushed the boundaries. To introduce some of the finest dining or the trendiest bars into a mall, or to create a groundbreaking destination for food, drink and leisure, requires confidence in the size and resilience of the opportunity.

The signs, however, are promising. Our research shows an increasing trend that consumers are voting with their wallets. Those who dine in a mall will now spend an extra 35 minutes in the centre on top of the time taken to eat. And that time translates directly to increased performance on the bottom line, with those customers who eat, visiting a whopping 25% more stores and spending 12% more per visit. JLL predicts the amount of space typically dedicated to gastronomy will reach 20% of total space in shopping centres by 2025 and the benefits of the steady footfall and spend that food brings to a centre hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Food is also a great platform to get to know your customers better. Our research found that brand engagement with F&B brands is particularly high, with 80% of customers saying that they would sign up to a loyalty scheme if one was offered by a restaurant that they enjoyed going to. By capitalising on food as a key strand of a CRM strategy, malls can understand the demographics of a catchment, the frequency of spend and the relationship between specific brands, using this data to drive spend and strike the right tenant mix.

Although more and more of our interactions take place digitally today, shopping centres continue to serve as social meccas where people meet. In fact, it seems that the amount of time spent on digital screens might just increase our need for physical interaction.

By Ben Chesser, CEO and Founder, Coniq


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