MidwestRetail Food courts? No way. Food halls are boosting retail centers, offices and apartment developments Dan Rafter April 20, 2018 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share via email The food court? That’s yesterday’s news. Today’s consumers want to eat in food halls, spaces filled with a wide choice of restaurants, but only restaurants that offer quality, healthier choices. Forget McDonald’s, and think instead of a local burger place or brick-oven pizza shop. Food halls, then, are booming across the country and the Midwest. Need proof? Cushman & Wakefield recently released its third annual look at the food hall movement, Food Halls of North America: The Sharing Economy for Restaurants. According to the report, the number of food halls in the United States, Canada and Mexico will have tripled from 2015 through 2020. “No other retail category has generated as much aggressive expansion over the past few years as food-related retail,” said Garrick Brown, vice president of retail intelligence at Cushman & Wakefield, in a written statement. Cushman & Wakefield says that food halls have become the “ultimate amenity” for mixed-use, office and multifamily projects. In the not-so-distant past, food courts provided people with quick, cheap eats. These courts were more about convenience than quality. Today, though, the foodie movement has come to food courts, turning them into food halls filled with restaurants owned by celebrity chefs, “fast-casual” chains and chef-driven concepts. Cushman & Wakefield said that mini food halls, covering less than 10,000 square feet, began popping up in urban office and multifamily properties in cities such as Chicago, San Francisco and New York City. Now food falls are rising in so-called second-tier cities such as Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Minneapolis. They’re even providing a boost to suburban mixed-use developments. Why have food halls become so popular? Customers love them. “They resonate with consumers, drive foot traffic and are ideal fits for a marketplace in the midst of a newCommerce-driven disruption,” Brown said. “food halls offer consumers a definitive experience, and for that reason, they’re largely e-commerce proof.” The Revival Food Hall in Chicago is a good example. Located in the heart of downtown, the food hall features such eateries as the Brown Bag Seafood Co., Farmer’s Fridge, Furious Spoon, Graze and the Hotchocolate Bakery. The Westside Market in Cleveland is another example of a bustling food hall, this one featuring vendors such as Judy’s Oasis Gourmet Middle Eastern Food, Kim Se Cambodian Cuisine and the Juice Garden.