Utilising Spaces

Looking at that former department store, unused basement space, empty car park or warehouse and thinking about how it could be better utilised. Thinking of building or developing a Food Hall? Yeah, you and every other landlord in the town are thinking the same thing.

I am not saying don’t do it, but I am saying think twice, better yet, engage a specialist, and understand the fundamentals of the journey you are embarking on.

Don’t get me wrong, we love the rise in Food Halls and food markets, the affordable, accessible nature of them, providing a social hub for the community and a location for fresh, interesting and different operators is, and always has been, at the heart of our work. Our experience in over 50 different global markets, includes a significant amount of time designing and developing Food Halls, Markets and Food Courts.

We understand the base elements that need to be delivered and how best to deliver them, we understand the level of footfall and demographics required to sustain a Food Hall and we can help you understand the potential of the space you are looking at. From the design aspect to the financial planning, here are some of the KPI’s that we consider when working with our Clients to deliver great Food Hall spaces:

  • Volume and Capacity Modelling: Do you have the right level of footfall required to support a Food Hall? How big should it be, how many operators can it support?
  • Competition Considerations: Who else is planning something locally, what temporary offers already exist, can the City support multiple Food Hall offers?
  • Seating Volumes: The right amount of seats is required to accommodate guests at peak times. If not enough seats are provided, customers may leave and operators cannot maximise sales.
  • Seating Configuration: The right seating configuration will ensure a high table efficiency. This should either be through encouraged sharing and mingling, or be customised for your average party size.
  • Circulation Routes: Primary, secondary and tertiary routes should adhere to recommended minimum widths to allow all types of guests to move comfortably and to prevent congestion points.
  • Delivery Routes – Goods In & Waste Out: Appropriate back of house routes and support facilities are required. A refuse and delivery strategy is needed to separate good in and refuse out.
  • Delivery to Customers: Home delivery in Cities is a huge growth market. Food Hall operators are prime delivery offers and kitchens and back of house facilities need to be designed with this in mind.
  • Clearing Stations: Clearing stations and bin / tray points will be needed. Provide the right amount of service stations in strategically smart locations.
  • Crockery vs Disposable: A decision will have to be made about using crockery or disposables. This will effect both front – and back of house design, including kiosk/unit size, dishwash facilities, servicing, etc.
  • Tenant Mix – Retaining Flexibility: Ensure a variety of products and concepts as well as a suitable mix of foodservice categories. Typically these should include quality independent, local vendors.
  • Contract Structure – Delivering Flexibility: Where a single operator manages the market, a longer lease is appropriate. Leases with vendors should allow for flexibility in terms of term and rent amount / structure.
  • Management Structure and Staffing Levels: Management can be outsourced to an operator or street food collective or done in-house. How is the Food hall serviced and does it require staffing for shared areas? What are the pros and cons of each option, what will work best for you?
  • Service Charge Budget: The service charge budget collects all centralised costs and apportions them to individual kitchens. This can include utilities, services, marketing, equipment, labour, etc.

The benchmarks that we use in our space planning and design are varied to suit the individual market, but are also based on global KPI’s which ensure that the space developed allows the operators to deliver successful operations.

In order to make sure our global KPI’s do reflect the nuances of each individual market, we spend a significant amount of time looking at, and experiencing, comparable operations, in order to understand what works and what doesn’t.

We also engage with our local JLL teams, and beyond that with local F&B operators, to get as much feedback and intellect included in our recommendations as possible.

So, if you are still looking at that former department store, unused basement space, empty car park or warehouse and thinking about how it could be better utilised. If you are still thinking of building or developing a Food Hall? Give us a call, we’d be delighted to help.

About the Author

Ken Higman Associate Director

Ken Higman is an Associate Director in JLL’s Foodservice Consulting division. Ken specialises in foodservice development within leisure schemes and mixed-use developments. As well as overseeing the consultant team on client report production, Ken plays an active role in client liaison. Ken Higman’s core markets of expertise are Germany, Poland and Austria.

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