Food halls are growing in popularity across the nation. According to Restaurant Hospitality, new food halls are opening at an average of nearly one per week throughout the U.S. These large-scale dining areas offer consumers much more than typical food courts or even restaurants.
While the basic format of a food hall could be considered similar to that of a food court, the idea behind it is much different. Food courts tend to offer fast-food options in a place where activities besides eating are the main event. Food halls, on the other hand, are destinations in and of themselves. Sometimes set up in renovated warehouses, apartment buildings or factories, food halls have a more upscale ambiance and feature more sophisticated food options.
Food hall patrons enjoy the benefit of finding many unique dining choices under one roof, all while having the option of gathering and socializing with friends in a casual-yet-refined environment. Research by the Culinary Visions Panel shows that nearly 60% of consumers like food halls because of the array of foods available. It’s not uncommon to find authentic Spanish churros in one booth and traditional Cantonese char siu in the next.
Food halls have many advantages for chefs and operators as well. Generally, overhead costs of a food hall are less than those of a restaurant. There are many shared spaces and shared costs, including dining areas, restrooms, security, landscaping and maintenance. For some operators, this can be a benefit, but others may see it as a risk, as it limits their amount of creative control over the dining experience as a whole.
Whether you’re considering a venture into the world of food halls or trying to compete with them, understanding their appeal is very important. Browse our Resource Center to learn more about how to maximize your operation with information about the latest food trends.
Barrett, Liz. How to operate in a food hall, Restaurant Hospitality, April 2017.
Wilkes, Tad. Food Halls and Markets Still On-Trend, Hotel F&B, March 2017.
Food Halls Go Upscale, Market Watch, May 2016.