A new ‘Food and Beverage in a Shopping Centres’ report has revealed that UAE consumers are the most likely across the EMEA region to visit a shopping centre with the sole purpose of eating and drinking.
The report was launched at the World Retail Congress 2016, taking place from 12 – 14 April at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai.
The results have been collated following a survey of 22,000 people in 22 markets, across Europe, South Africa and the UAE.
While 31% of people reported that they visit a shopping centre just to eat and drink, this percentage was significantly higher in the UAE, where more than 50% of consumers said that eating and drinking was their primary reason for visiting a mall.
The report explains that warmer climates in the markets of the UAE and Turkey allow for al fresco dining. However, as the summer heat gets less bearable, shopping centres also offer an air-conditioned environment in which to dine, which echoes the Far East shopping centre dining culture.
Citing the example of Dubai, the report highlights that Dubai Mall has over 150 food and drink outlets and the Mall of the Emirates has 95 outlets and both are open until 1am, which shows why consumers in Dubai might want to visit a shopping centre just to eat and drink.
However, globally, the trend for vising malls just to eat and drink is set to increase substantially over the next five years, with CBRE’s research predicting that this percentage will rise from 30% to 50%.
The increase will be driven by quality of offer, innovation and consumer acceptance of shopping centre F&B offers, the report says.
Even for those that don’t go to a mall just to eat, for UAE respondents the availability of F&B influenced the decision of where to shop for 66.1% and the country was also well above the average when asked whether eating and drinking is an important part of the shopping experience, with more than 50% claiming it is.
Looking to the future of F&B in shopping centres, the research predicts that new restaurant and dining brands will launch to market through shopping centres, and as retail becomes more eclectic, so must food and beverage.
And while consumers are to some extent, creatures of habit, they also want to be treated as individuals and so personalisation will be a key trend in the dining experience going forward.
And finally, while the rumour has been that the food court is dead, the report reveals that this is not the case, and that there is still a lot of money to be made from a revitalised central food area offering fast food and fast casual dining is still required in many centres.
More than 40% of the consumers surveyed stated that innovation, along with healthy options are the elements they want to see more of.
An average 75% of consumers stated that quality of the food offer is very, or extremely, important when choosing where to eat and drink.