Food and Beverage Trends in Irish Shopping Centres

Is it a food lover ’s delight or a take away?

During 2015, CBRE surveyed 22,000 customers across 22 markets in Europe, South Africa and the UAE focussing on their shopping experiences and preferences, which yielded some very interesting results. One of the issues we specifically explored was shoppers’ perceptions of food and beverage offerings within the shopping centre environment. 1,000 Irish shoppers were interviewed as part of this study. The results provide an interesting overview of how Irish shoppers perceive the food and beverage offering within shopping centres and how this compares with the other locations surveyed.

Click to download: CBRE Ireland | Food and Beverage Report 2015

The items explored included some of the following;

  • How important the food and beverage offering is to a shopping centre
  • How consumers engage with food and beverage offerings in a shopping centre
  • What food and beverage offerings consumers want to see in shopping centres
  • What benefits having a strong food and beverage offer can bring to a shopping centre
  • How views differed by country and what that might mean for shopping centre owners, managers and developers in the future

The survey yielded some interesting results, which I believe will have far-reaching consequences not only for owners and asset managers of shopping centres but also for the developers of new schemes.

Some of the key findings were as follows:

  • 35% of Irish respondents said they visit a shopping centre once a week or more
  • 18% of respondents said they visit a shopping centre at least once a month or more with 100% of respondents saying they had visited a shopping centre at least once in the last 12 months
  • 48% of Irish shoppers said they would be more inclined to partake of food and beverage options within a shopping centre than in other types of retail offerings such as high street stores, retail parks etc.
  • 55% of Irish shoppers rate the ‘overall experience’ of a shopping centre when choosing where to shop, with food and beverage options being one element impacting on that experience
  • 37% of Irish respondents said that food and beverage is ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’ when deciding which shopping centres to visit. A further 36% said food and beverage is ‘fairly important’ in their decision-making process
  • 35% of Irish participants would like to see more food and drink options in the shopping centres they frequent. Only 6% expressed a desire to see less food and beverage options
  • The tendency to regularly have food and beverages in Irish shopping centres is somewhat lower than the overall trend, suggesting that there is room for improvement. More than 27% of Irish participants said they ‘almost always’ have food and beverages when they visit a shopping centre compared to 40% of the respondents to the overall study.
  • 78% of Irish participants to this survey have had something to eat or drink in a shopping centre in the past 12 months compared to 67% in the overall study
  • Almost 49% of Irish respondents said they often decide to stop for food and beverages on the ‘spur of the moment’ when visiting a shopping centre
  • Over half of Irish respondents said they spend more time shopping if they’ve stopped for food and beverage within a shopping centre
  • 32% of Irish shoppers go shopping within the shopping centre even if the main reason for their visit was to avail of the food and beverage offering
  • 48% of Irish respondents said that there is a lack of top quality restaurants in the shopping centres they frequent
  • 78% of Irish respondents cited ‘food quality’ as an ‘extremely important’ or ‘very important’ aspect in determining where to eat, more than mentioned value, speed of service or convenience of location
  • 51% of Irish shoppers say they would like to see more innovative food offerings within shopping centres, 48% would like to see more independent restaurants, 47% would like to see more healthy or organic options while 45% would like to see more pop-up restaurants or new concepts
  • 39% of Irish shoppers say they would like to see less fast food outlets within shopping centres

Shopping centres by tradition have not been regarded as places to eat in the Irish market. There is now an opportunity is to change this perception and change how customers engage with shopping centres, particularly as developers and owners of shopping centres strive to increase dwell times, boost footfall and boost average spend within their schemes.

One thing that is clear is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The challenge is to see a shopping centre as the consumer sees it, understand what they want in terms of food and beverage provision and look to deliver it as effectively and efficiently as possible to maximise the potential of each shopping centre. It is incumbent on landlords to understand what the customer is looking for and to seek out new concepts and bring them to their customers.

If you would like to discuss the findings of CBRE’s Irish Food and Beverage study or obtain a copy of the report, please contact me or any of my colleagues at the Retail department at CBRE Ireland.

Simon Cooper, Director, Retail Department, CBRE Ireland

About CBRE Group, Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2016 revenue). The company has more than 75,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through approximately 450 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.

In Ireland, with offices in Dublin and Belfast, CBRE is the country’s largest commercial real estate services company, now employing over 165 employees and offering a full range of property services including property sales and acquisitions, leasing and management, investment, corporate services, debt advisory, project management, consultancy, business rates and compulsory purchase, valuations and research. Please visit our website at www.cbre.ie or www.cbre.ie/ni.