Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Food Glorious Food

Last week, my dad came into town and I managed to grab dinner with him in the Flatiron District. After dinner, however, my dad was craving cappuccino. But by 8:30pm all of my usual coffee spots were closed and I was at a lost. I did a quick search for something other than Starbucks in the area and chanced upon a Toby's Estate Coffee & Espresso on google maps, around the corner from where we were.

When we got to Toby's, we realized the cafe was part of an even larger retail concept which included an outpost of Strand Bookstore and Club Monaco. I can drink coffee, read a book and buy a dress- the full experience! As retailers continue to modify and adapt their store formats (especially in urban areas) to offer more than just products, food and drinks are fast becoming the go-to formula to introduce a unique experience to customers. By outsourcing these types of services to other businesses, as in the case of Toby's, retailers are also sharing rent burdens.

Last week, Fung Global Retail and Technology wrote a cool article summarizing the different types of food services found in many of London's stores. From cafes to sushi bars in Topshop and Selfridges, I decided to look for the New York equivalents and here are a few popular examples of food experiences in traditional store formats:

In the UK, food service has been shown to play an effective role in encouraging shoppers to “stay longer, spend longer”. Brits who eat during a shopping visit dwell on average 27 minutes longer, and spend 18% more per visit, according to property management firm JLL. In London—where many shoppers are more affluent and the choice of casual dining is countless—stores that offer foodservice can see shoppers dwell only 10% longer, but spend 38% more on average, according to Intelligent Business Systems.

If the same effects were to apply here in the US, retailers searching for ways to drive sales might be well off finding a food and beverage concept that aligns closely with the existing brand and products in-store. 

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