Food Halls – A market trend that’s here to stay?
It’s such a delight to find out when old, unused buildings are given a new lease of life; particularly when regeneration of towns and cities is high on the living agenda. This year we’ve seen a rise in purchase interest of heritage places to give them a brand new purpose – transforming spaces and breathing new life into them – and with that, a brand new audience. Think Southport Market, Mackie Mayor in Manchester, and even the upcoming Ormskirk Market. These were all previously under-used and under-loved and are now thriving environments for changing perceptions, delivering a world class European style food hall to local communities. With so many tightening their purse strings at the moment, you’d be forgiven to think it’s crazy for investing into large scale food operations in the current climate. However, communal dining concepts and food halls are one trend that is certainly worth watching in 2023.
When it comes to commercial investment in markets and food halls, we’re no stranger. We’ve supported councils with their vision to bring European dining strategies to the UK for over 5 years now, and have seen huge successes along the way.
It’s not just about the design – how it looks – it’s about the operational ease, purpose and function, and ultimately, driving that much needed footfall into the local area.
Commercially, food halls make sense. For operators and vendors, there’s lower rent, more reassurance and stability, and for customers, there’s a lively environment with a world of choice at their fingertips. Throw in a great entertainment strategy on top of food and drink provision and you’re on to something big.
We’re proud that our team have been key in helping to transform and reimagine prime city and town assets to enable regeneration across areas where tourism has seen a decrease.
We’ve drawn upon successful UK and European food markets alongside a cultural model that encourages social eating and sharing new experiences which has already proven highly successful, with tens of thousands of people visiting one of our projects with Sefton Council’s Southport Market on opening week alone.
Southport’s Market Quarter has since become one of the top investment hotspots in Southport, attracting new investors, and creating new jobs, with many citing the Market as the reason for starting businesses in the area.
With the rise in food hall, community dining and collaborative working continuing to increase, our work with local councils and supporting social local value has been instrumental in driving new and existing revenue to the community.
But it doesn’t stop there. We’ve also supported commercial ventures such as Birchwood Park (owned by Warrington Council), the North West’s largest, out of town business park in challenging work-life perceptions, encouraging a new, nomadic workforce to enjoy a brand new food hall dining experience during their working day.
This ‘trend’ may come and go along with so many others, but we firmly believe in challenging normality when we see the opportunity, bringing new ideas to the table and truly transforming unique spaces – and while the food hall is here, we’re on the top of our game.