Community-based retailing is challenging the ‘big end of town’ for the dollars of foodies and family diners, new data suggests.
The government’s ‘Food demand in Australia: Trends and issues 2018’ report found that ‘Meals out and fast food’ jumped to 34 per cent of total food expenditure by a household in 2015-16. This represents more than a doubling from just 15 per cent in 1988-89.
‘Hubs of community life’
According to specialist property development advisors DMA Partners, neighbourhood retailers have learned from major players such as Westfield and Stockland. They’re now using architectural design, dedicated amenities and quality dine-in restaurants to draw customers back to suburban centres as “hubs of community life”.
DMA Partners Managing Director Ryan Andersen said: “Local centres are tuning in to this societal change. They’re leveraging off what they already have – great local market awareness, parking convenience and lower overheads.
“But they’re also adding stylish, variety-filled dining precincts. These appeal to the local audience and in particular family diners.”
Household food spend $104.38 a week
According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian households spend an average of $104.38 per week on both food and beverages consumed on premises.
“This could equate to multiple trips to the café or a meal out with the family on the weekend,” Mr Andersen said.
“The trend has been growing year on year. It’s in no small way due to the increased offering and quality of community-based neighbourhood and subregional centres.
“The evolution of shopping-centre food offerings means that access to premier culinary experiences is no longer the reserve of patrons of ‘supercentres’ such as Melbourne’s Chadstone or Brisbane’s Chermside.
“We’re currently fielding interest in the dining tenancies from a range of local and national operators. They’re attracted to the substantial unmet demand for this type of offering in the Yamanto (Queensland) catchment area.”
‘All about the experience’
Mr Andersen says the overall experience of dining out is becoming ever more important.
“Dining in or near a retail centre is no longer simply about grabbing a bite to eat,” he said. “It’s all about the experience. Can I park easily? Are there a range of choices on offer? Not only of food variety, but also in terms of restaurant style and location. Alfresco? Eat-at-the-bar. À la carte?
“When you add this consumption growth to the key decision drivers of accessibility, proximity and awareness, it’s not hard to see why subregional community shopping and dining hubs are really coming into their own.”