Excerpted from Southeast Real Estate Business story.
Food and beverage are also gaining popularity with their traditional retail counterparts as the latter now sees the benefits of locating their stores near successful restaurants, coffee shops and bars.
“Restaurants and other food and beverage concepts drive repeat foot traffic and lengthen the shopping experience, all which ultimately drives sales for the retailers,” says Whitney Butler, director of retail leasing at Franklin Street’s Jacksonville office.
Modern consumers are especially well informed on the impact of food on their overall health. This has led to the launch and success of several healthy restaurant concepts, including Chopt, Cava Grill, True Food Kitchen, Flower Child and Zoë’s Kitchen.
“The trend for natural and organic food is only growing,” says Franklin Street’s Butler. “The concepts that can capitalize on this trend will grow, too.”
On the consumer side, restaurants have become more cognizant of their social media engagement. Greg Eisenman, senior director of retail leasing in Franklin Street’s Atlanta office, says that social media has impacted the design of restaurants to create pictureworthy vignettes and has increased transparency.
“Social media has become a guiding light, whether for better or for worse, so restaurants have to consistently execute at a high level in every aspect of their business,” says Eisenman. “They must strive to keep their customer reviews and scores as high as possible to keep their loyal diners coming back, while attracting new ones all the time.”
As food and beverage has increased its presence in mixed-use developments, developers and government entities are working together to relax open container laws within those developments.
“The novelty of this openness is a win-win-win for consumers, tenants and landlords,” adds Tim Rogers, senior associate of retail leasing in Franklin Street’s Orlando office. “As the acceptance of open alcohol consumption in these open-container districts or zones grows and the well-documented success of these commercial projects continues, we can certainly expect the trend to persist.”