We’ve established that F&B is playing a key role in the evolution of shopping centers (if you haven’t already heard you might want to check out our previous post). But this is not thanks to the marathon shopping sprees that make your knees want to buckle. The F&B area no longer looks or feels like a feed lot. It now represents an important point in the flow of consumer traffic within any shopping center. Like we talked about in our last post, huge “anchor” stores are picking up and sailing away, which leaves shopping centers no option but to find new tenants for these spaces. There’s no better way to occupy them than with experiences through food. But not with your typical food court – that model is no longer attractive or viable for the survival of the shopping center. Understandably so, consumers are wanting something FOODIE123fresher.

Fast food appeared to be very efficient: the bottom line is that customers arrived knowing what they were getting, would find an empty (not totally clean) table, sit down and unceremoniously eat their meals. It sounds horrible, we know, but this experience seemed to resemble variety. Why? 90% of these areas host the same brands, they’re monotonous and foodies know better than to expect an apple tree to bear oranges; you go to a food court to satiate your hunger, nothing more. Problem is, as we know, clients are becoming more and more sophisticated, better informed and more conscious of what they want to consume and feel. That’s why shopping centers needed to get a spin on this food court concept, like, yesterday, to avoid losing their customers to something better elsewhere.

On top of all this, the bombardment of information we are subject to also contributes to this change taking place. The growing supply and popularity of food shows on TV have made foodies into gourmands that are no longer satisfied with “just” good eats any more. Cheap prices, killer deals, even habit and old friends be damned: they’re on the hunt for unforgettable experiences. “Good eating” today is synonymous with “good living” through thrilling gastronomic outings. And we’re not talking about the massive, all-inclusive type trips; we’re talking about well planned, personalized, unique and memorable excursions.

As a response to these shifting needs, our beloved Foodie Markets® emerges. Your average foodie has no desire to sit down at a place with rows of tables with nothing special about it, waiting like drones for their number to be called. Foodie Markets® are designed specifically for foodies. They’re spaces that tickle the senses, with a particular architecture and distribution designed to foster community and conviviality. They are modern, aesthetic; they do not broadcast the smell of processed foods for miles. They allow each consumer to identify with their particular tastes and fancies so that their experience is not monotone but a rainbow of 1234colorful delight.

Our motherland already boasts 19 such gastro-markets, 8 of which Mero Mole is involved in developing, so yeah, nearly half (deafening cheers and applause!) We know what our consumers’ little hearts beat for and that a full belly is not the main objective anymore. Foodies are after the best of the best and will not settle for ordinary or “just OK”. This is why we are convinced that the future of shopping centers lies in providing these creative spaces; not just the old fashioned malls but the new developments as well. This novel concept emerges to bring new life to shopping centers, creating foot traffic and exceeding their consumers’ expectations.

By: the Top Dogs