A successful and varied food court in a retail shopping centre can be a real attraction factor for your customers and shoppers.
The tenant mix in the food court should be a ‘magnet’ for customers to visit and stay longer in the property. Better tenants and attractive fit outs or signage sustain the interest of shop customers.
A retail food court can and usually does sustain the customer interest in the property and extends the visitation time. It can also bring shoppers back to the property more frequently. All of that can then produce an increase in retail sales.
Retail Sales Booster
From that formula of extra customer interest and time spent shopping, the more substantial the sales opportunity for tenants in the property.
So, this becomes a retail shop formula linking the retail property’s tenants and the landlord with customers. It stands to reason that a well-structured and positioned food court will help significantly with the success and growth of the retail property.
Successful Retail Tenant Formula
Think about things in the properties you manage or lease. When the tenants are successful, the landlord benefits as well. So, what can you do in the retail tenant mix and food court to help the tenants with sales and customer attraction?
Here are some ideas to help you create a successful retail food court in your shopping centre that you lease or manage.
Shopping Centre Branding
What is the brand of your shopping centre? What is it known for by locals, customers, and tenants? The food court image or design must fit into the overall branding of your shopping centre.
For example, if your shopping centre is known as ‘Market Plaza on the Beach’, then the food court design and promotional material can be structured around that and the ‘beach’ theme.
Everything should be consistent to the overall brand. Extending the theme locks the shopping centre property and the food court together in all marketing.
Select Anchor Tenants
Have two or three ‘anchor tenants’ in the food court. These are larger tenants, or their food offerings are highly attractive. They are ‘pivot’ points in attracting customers.
They will likely be franchise brand tenants with a well-known and engaging food offering. You can then place the other food tenants with complementary offerings around the ‘anchor tenants’.
Exposure to Foot Traffic
Ensure that the food court location is on a thoroughfare of foot traffic. That will be a consideration given your common area configurations and the entrances to the property.
Typically, the food court will be central to the property but may also have outdoor access for extended or out-of-hours trading.
Standard Lease Terms
Generally and particularly in situations where you are negotiating new leases with the food tenants, consider the duration of leases and whether you should be giving any options as part of the leasing process.
You may not want all leases to expire simultaneously in the one food court. It can impact your cash flow and the overall property performance.
Retailers Operational Hours
Set the operational hours of the property so that all food tenants have a core set of hours where they must trade.
That trading window can then integrate into the working hours of the main shopping centre.
Food court Marketing Plan
Create a marketing plan for the food court. That marketing plan can be separate from the overall shopping centre and be separately staged in a timeline across the year.
The food court could incorporate community, seasonal, and location-based promotions. There can also be a tourism focus to merge into that if your property has an element of tourism in the customer base.
Shop Signage and Branding
Set branding and signage rules for the food court zone to ensure that all the tenants adhere to what can happen and be displayed in any promotional sense.
When all tenants adhere to signage placement and size rules, the food court can consolidate its image and customer attraction factors.
Alternative Tenant Types
Maintain a list of alternative tenants in the food court if a vacancy arises. Like it or not, some vacancies happen, so you should have a strategy to activate if any tenants leave the property or are vacated due to trading problems.
Sales Turnover Figures
As part of the lease for the food retailers, ensure that you are getting and will get the turnover figures each week and month. That will allow you to understand your best tenants and why that could be the case.
Size of Shop and Compliance
Food-type tenants occupy space that is not overly large on a shop-by-shop basis, but the shop zone is intense with fit-out installations, food storage and preparation, displays, and customer-facing sales counters.
Ensure that the tenancy is bound to adhere to food and health regulations and licenses that could apply.
Ensure that each food tenant supplies all required permits for food storage, supply, and preparation, and all the code-compliant plans for fit-out installation.
Create a Thriving Food Court
So, these ideas will help you create and lease a thriving retail shopping centre food court. You can add to these factors based on your location, tenants, and customer base.
Ensure that your food court is leased as a particular location in your retail property. Ensure the area is a natural attraction to support the entire retail property.