Jun 2019

Understanding Food Halls and the Benefits of Participating in One

  • By Ribbon
  • Food

Food halls - What are they?

A food hall is a sprawling market that showcases a variety of local mini-restaurants, food vendors, grocery & gourmet shops, all under one roof. Food halls are often located in urban warehouses or ground floors of mixed-use buildings and focus on local, homegrown, concepts rather than international brands.

Food halls are, in itself, an experience that goes beyond sampling food. They are a one-stop destination for various activities like shopping, entertainment, exhibitions and much more. Unlike a traditional food court, which comprises of a large central area surrounded by food stalls, food halls offer counter seating that provides guests with an immersive and intimate culinary experience.

Most food halls bring together diverse cuisines through independent vendors, including local and branded. Coupled with made-to-order food and a diverse cuisine, they brew a perfect recipe for success. Food halls when operated under a theme also help create a unique atmosphere for customers.

Popular food halls around the world:
Food halls are a paradise for food lovers who are adventurous and wish to explore different cuisines. Here are some popular food halls from around the world -

  • Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

One of the oldest and renowned food halls in today’s time, Mercado de San Miguel started off as a wholesale food market. Today, it is a leading gastronomic destination, attracting foodies from the world over. Spread out over more than 20 stands, from the finest Iberian ham and freshest fish and shellfish brought in daily from Galicia, to Mediterranean rice dishes and the most exquisite cheeses from Castile, Asturias and the Basque Country - Mercado de San Miguel brings together the best of Spanish cuisine in one spectacular location.

  • Time Out Market, Lisbon, Portugal

Boasting of 30-plus stalls, many of which specialize in classic Portugese fare with a modern twist, the Time Out Market at Lisbon is another must-visit food hall. Often crowded during peak hours, it serves delicacies like squid ink croquettes, preserved sardines with vegetables, garlicky steamed clams and charcoal-roasted chicken.

  • Markthal, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

This horseshoe-shaped building, built in 2014, is home to residences and offices along with an underground food market, which offers Dutch dishes like appeltaart, bitterballen (beef and gravy croquettes), kibbeling (bite-sized bits of fried fish). Alternatively, they have international cuisines on offer as well, from Turkish kebabs to sushi.

  • Harrods, London, UK

Known for its palatial department store, Harrods is also famous for its opulent Art Nouveau-style food hall. This avant-garde food hall creates the perfect atmosphere to indulge your inner aristocrat with dishes like caviar, lobster thermidor, cut crystal bowls piled with ice cream, and macarons that are like little drops of heaven.

Why now is the best time to participate in a food hall?

The Food hall concept has gained exceptional popularity in recent years amongst millennial diners looking for a unique dining experience. People are no longer limited to food courts to try different restaurants and cuisines under one roof. Food halls have revolutionized dining, be it the experience, quality or speed of service.

If you are interested in participating in a food hall especially in the upcoming Time Out Market, Dubai you should consider the following benefits:

  1. Lower Costs: Your set-up costs will be lower than opening a traditional restaurant as the basic foundation, which is fixtures, equipment and furniture, for your stand is provided by the developer.
  2. Shared Expenses: Several operating costs such as general maintenance are shared between the stalls operating in the food hall.
  3. Captive Audience: With all the on-going activities and live events taking place, there's a guaranteed high volume of foot traffic.
  4. Lower Risk: Considering the lower setup and operational costs and consistent foot traffic, there is a lower risk in investing in a food stall compared to owning a standalone restaurant.
  5. Exposure: Participating in a food hall provides you with a platform to give your brand significant exposure, without having to heavily invest in the additional forms of marketing.

Considering the influx of food court stalls or even food trucks, which have reached a saturation point amongst foodies, the food hall trend has become popular over the recent years and will be relevant for years to come.

If you are interested in learning more about food halls or want to be a part of one, we at Ribbon Consulting can help you with it. For more information, you can email us at info@ribbon-me.com or call us on +971 4360 5758 (Middle East) / +91 98200 07841 (India).

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