Recipe for success? How Retailers are Using Food and Beverage for Inspiration

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By: Dominic Bouvet, JLL Director – EMEA Retail and Leisure

Back in the 90s, or even as recent as the Noughties, if you entered a shop drinking a can of coke or eating a Mars bar you would be approached by a shop assistant and asked to leave the premises or at least told to finish your food before re-entering. They were in fear of merchandise being damaged or litter being dropped.

A decade on and retailers are almost encouraging you to ‘consume’ whilst shopping. To the extent that more and more retailers are providing their customers with a food and beverage offer in-store.

This is done in one of two ways; either through partnerships between a retailer and food and beverage operator (F&B); or, alternatively the approach is for retailers to operate the F&B service themselves, which enables the retailer to put their own stamp on the concept and maintain its brand identity. The latter is becoming more common for retailers as it enables them to dictate.

Making food and drink the focal point in retail

Retailers, aside from department stores who more often than not provide food and beverage on the upper floors, are now using their F&B area as the focal point of the store.

Take Rapha, the successful, high-end, cycling retailer, as an example. Their stores in London, New York and Sydney all have a coffee and pastry offer, and it is slap bang in the middle of the store in order to create an atmosphere. This was most noticeable during the Tour de France last year when they had TV screens set up, morning coffee flowing and ultimately a huge increase in sales during the 2 week period

How emphasizing food and drink can benefit retailers

There are three key reasons why retailers are adopting this strategy:

  1. Increases dwell time, which in turn may increase sales volumes
  2. Provides an experience, which is something that retailers are constantly trying to achieve in their stores and we have explored in our Redefining Retail Places research project
  3. Gives them the opportunity to differentiate themselves

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