2 MIN READ
September 12, 2019

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Consumers want boutique, experiential retail. Food halls could be the answer.



A retail phenomenon is getting the attention of Canadians and bringing life to untraditional shopping spaces – and it might make you hungry.

Food halls are opening across the country, breathing life into everything from office buildings to suburban malls, as developers search for innovative ways to use vacant space.

While most of the country’s food halls can be found in Toronto, locations have opened in Montreal, Vancouver and even Calgary.

As this trend continues to grow, investors, owners and occupiers should pay attention. Increased foot traffic is important in the age of online shopping, and food halls seem to be driving it.

Food halls

Hungry for Boutique Offerings

Technology continues to alter the retail landscape as consumers embrace the convenience of shopping from home.

The exception to the rule? Experiential retail. Boutique fitness classes and high-end clothing retailers attract shoppers looking for tailor-made experiences they won’t find anywhere else.

These same consumers are increasingly demanding a variety of high-end health-conscious food choices, which the food hall concept readily provides.

Examples of this trend are growing by the day. Oxford Properties was able to backfill the vacant Target space in Upper Canada Mall with a hugely successful “Market & Co.” food hall. It also introduced “The Food District” at the Square One shopping centre in Mississuaga, where foot traffic over the past year has increased by double digits.

Meanwhile, Oxford has launched Galeries de la Capitale, its third food hall in Quebec City, and Calgary is home to the Avenida Food Hall & Fresh Market, a wildly popular food hall comprised of 42 vendors and restaurants.

Food halls

Takeaways from Eating In

There are plenty of tasty takeaways from this trend. For one, food halls invite shoppers to stay in retail spaces longer. They also make malls, office buildings and non-traditional spaces a part of the regular dining rotation.

Instead of grabbing their food and heading out, consumers are more likely to sit, talk and peruse nearby offerings. The more foot traffic to food halls, the more foot traffic to the surrounding retailer. And once a retailer is part of a consumer’s daily routine, it tends to stay that way.

Investors, owners and occupiers stand to gain from a boost in foot traffic and sales. Working with the right professional is key to understanding how to incorporate and develop good hall concepts. CBRE has everything you need to know about retail services to build your advantage and stay ahead.

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