By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter
Landing popular restaurants and making sure restaurant tenants and spaces are in tune with changing consumer preferences are increasingly critical for shopping centers and other retail real estate.
That is according to new research from commercial real estate brokerage firm CBRE. A new report from CBRE identifies emerging and solidifying trends among restaurants and how they are important for and impact retail real estate.
The CBRE report finds that restaurants now make up 17 percent of U.S. retail sales and that is more than other retail sector.
Restaurants have become increasingly crucial for shopping malls and centers in the age of Amazon.com and e-commerce. Carol Schillne, a first vice president with CBRE, said landlords need to put a focus on keeping up with restaurant industry trends including automation and delivery services.
“In today’s ever-evolving retail landscape, it’s more important than ever that retail center owners invest in restaurants that lend well to the center’s environment and its clientele,” Schillne said. “It’s no longer just about creating a beautiful restaurant space; it’s about creating a space that brings the right kind of energy to the center and keeps customers around long after they’ve finished their shopping.”
The CBRE report points to the growth in food delivery services, automation, fast-casual concepts and some entertainment focused brands such as Topgolf and Dave & Buster’s experimenting with smaller footprint concepts.
“As densities increase and fewer large vacant retail spaces become available in premier retail centers, entertainment concepts are adapting to the spaces they find by downsizing their footprints and tailoring their concepts to meet the needs of the center’s clientele,” said CBRE’s Schillne. “Ultimately, this approach creates a deeper sense of intimacy with customers.”
CBRE Vice President Kerry Linthicum said restaurant concepts that are technology focused can have customer service advantages and those with robust delivery services and curbside pick-up operations have competitive advantages that will help keep them in business and provide positive energy for shopping centers.
“We often hear that consumers crave experiences, so many restauranteurs have gone above and beyond to create unique, elevated dining experiences that resonate with their customers,” Linthicum said “But the customer experience extends far beyond the four walls of the restaurant; catering to consumers’ busy lifestyles by offering delivery services or curb-side pick-up spots are other simple ways in which restaurants can provide their customers with an elevated experience even when they aren’t dining in.”