The recipe for retail success.

The success of a shopping centre as a destination is measured by the quality of the customer experience they can deliver. The right food and beverage offer is a key part of that experience. After all, we can’t eat and drink online! Food holds the recipe for retail success and centres need to do more to promote it.

We’re all passionate foodies.

Who doesn’t love food? Apart from the fact that it’s a basic human need, it’s also an inherently pleasurable experience because the very act of eating raises our levels of endorphins and you can’t argue with biochemistry.

Infographic displaying the following food related statistics; 66% of adults describe themselves as passionate about food, 62% of adults describe themselves as adventurous in terms of cuisine, 50% of adults describe themselves as passionate about home cooking, and only 10% of adults will admit to not at all being passionate about food!

Growing trend.

We’re a hungry bunch, demanding retail centres satisfy our expectations of a complete day out by offering an extensive variety of food choices as well as interesting and creative spaces in which to dine on them. Our deregulated lives mean that we also want food at all times of the day and night, but we’re still health conscious, so emerging cuisines, street food and eating clean are all part of the new, fashionable casual dining concepts we see popping up in malls all over the UK and the rest of the world. This blog piece from, JLL Real Views talks about how artisan food halls are transforming malls across the globe. The trend shows no signs of slowing either, with the UK branded restaurant market estimated to reach £22bn in 2018.

Consumers who eat, spend more.

Putting your money where other people’s mouths are, it seems, is a thing! The amount of space attributed to the retail food and beverage offer has risen dramatically due to a strong link between catering and retail spend. A recent report, exploring the significance of food and beverage retailers, from CACI, states that customers who dine spend an average 22% more than all of those who spend on retail. Even more significantly, the research shows that they spend 35% more than those who spend on retail but don’t use catering. It’s telling too, in terms of dwell time, those who engage with a food and beverage offer stay 56% longer than average, and a whopping 81% more than those who don’t dine or drink during their shopping trip.

Sampling works!

Ask any restaurant manager or street food vendor if people who try go on to buy. The answer is a resounding YES! Delicious food aromas and creative displays attract attention, acting as bait to draw in consumers who are then hooked with free samples while enjoying a fun and memorable experience. After trying the products a very high portion of consumers will buy, sealing the deal. Brands know this and spend enormous amounts of money promoting experiential tasting tours, so our team has developed an idea that allows shopping centres to include their full food and beverage offer in one tasty event package.

Summer Festival of Food.

Traditionally the time when retail destinations turn their attention to promoting their food and beverage offer, it can be a struggle to find innovative ways to bring together the diverse range of retailers. Summer Food Fest is our team’s response to this dilemma for Hammerson. The bespoke activity is currently touring the group’s portfolio of UK shopping centres. The event set, equipped with large screens that display mouth-watering content (custom shot in the kitchens of participating food retailers), resembles the TV format we’re all familiar with. Consumers are welcomed to join the experience by taking a seat at the wrap-around bar where a professional foodie delivers entertaining, bite-sized snippets of information about the sample dishes on offer. It’s warm, convivial and fun. Food brings people together and this social event connects consumers to the retail space in a positive way that encourages brand loyalty.

The creative concept breaks the boundaries of brand exclusive sampling activities by giving all retailers in a centre’s food and beverage offering the opportunity to participate. Our team handles all retailer liaison and showcases a different one every hour with the objective of giving customers an opportunity to sample new menu items and encouraging them to visit food and beverage retailers that they perhaps wouldn’t normally choose.

Fiona Campbell Roberts, Hammerson UK Head of Marketing said;

 “Our in-centre events should always help to raise the customer experience and cement our centres as destination retail locations. This summer we wanted to highlight our exceptional food and beverage options across the portfolio and hopefully with “Summer Food Fest’ we’ll achieve this.  We can always rely on Maynineteen to create an event that will engage shoppers and delight retailers, the team are true professionals who understand what makes a successful event.”

Social Stats.

We’re passionate about our provisions and their preparation, and increasingly adventurous when it comes to cuisine. Think of how many food and cooking-related TV shows are on-air at any given time; Masterchef, Bake-Off, Saturday Kitchen Live are just a couple of examples. It’s also interesting to note that Google reported 280% growth in YouTube food channel subscriptions in 2014. Online recipe content grew 59% and engagement on social media increased 118%. Food for thought when planning a tasting tour?

Fun Foodie Facts.

There have been many studies conducted on the factors influencing our eating habits. What and how we choose to eat is not a conscious decision; it’s more complex and is affected by colour, smell, lighting, plate size, and culture. Arm yourself with this information next time you eat out!

  • If we use cash to buy lunch, we’re more likely to buy junk than if we pay with a debit card.
  • In an experiment, people in a movie theatre were given tubs of stale popcorn, those who got bigger tubs still ate 35% more.
  • People who eat at Subway, thinking it is healthy, compensate later by filling up on more snacks in comparison to people who eat at McDonalds.
  • A bigger spoon causes us to eat 15% more.
  • A bigger plate causes us to eat 25% more.
  • We will eat more food if the restaurant is cold, or if it has fresh flowers on the table.
  • If the plates are cleared from the table, rather than piled up, we will eat 28% more food.
  • Red tablecloths increase the appetite!