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Food areas in shopping centres are developing practically everywhere; this has become a common trend worldwide. Their importance varies from destination to destination, but they have a major impact on the dwell time.

For example in Dubai or China the food and restaurant areas can cover 30–50% of the entire floor space of a shopping centre. In Europe, it is around 10%, maybe up to 15% like in Poland. In Germany food areas take up between 5% and 10%, but their share is increasing considerably. One of the reasons is the difference in the opening times. In Germany, shopping centres are closed on Sunday, while in Poland they remain open. Therefore, it is necessary to provide consumers with more possibilities to spend free time.

In order to create a food court, it is not enough to put some McDonalds and KFC together and add some furniture in the shopping centre and see what happens. A food court must provide a warm and homely atmosphere, so that customers can feel at home. It is important to offer different and nice seats as well as noise reduction elements. Lighting
should be warm and not cold. All of these small details wrapped in a good story, sometimes with some eye-catching naming, are essential to create a nice, modern and trendy food court area.

When running a food venue, it is important to offer a right menu at a right time. For example, in the morning everyone takes coffee, in the afternoon or later in the evening customers prefer to have wine, etc. Long time ago in Germany we had an ice café, which everyone liked. I remember when we opened in Wroclaw, in Galeria Dominikañska, the ice café was a hit. Nowadays, ice cream sells only at a certain time of a day.

In the future, we will have less fashion, as it will be replaced by more food venues – and this is a global trend to increase the dwell time in shopping centres.

Peter Thode, Head of Department, Portfolio Merger & Acquisition, Creative Design Architecture & Construction. Almanac of Shopping Centres 2016/2017.

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