Just as much as those market-driving millennials like fast casual, slick branding, sexy Instagrams, and mobile ordering, they also flock to food halls, so much that food halls are popping up in smaller cities after already exploding in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
It makes sense. When Datassential asked consumers what they like most about food halls, the answers aligned closely with millennial drives: affordable food, all-day dining options, customizable ordering, and convenient grab-and-go products.
If that in itself isn’t a formula that full-service, sit-down joints can adapt for their own use, there’s more. Food halls themselves have had to adapt, too, from Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, which has been around since 1893 to newly opened Morgan Street Food Hall in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Consumers want unique dining experiences that appeal to more adventurous palates coupled with artisan markets so diners can purchase ingredients to re-create dishes at home. Take Union Market in Washington, D.C., as an example. Cuisines run the gamut from Ethiopian to Burmese and market stalls sell global spices.
Meanwhile, in Miami, La Centrale boasts an all-Italian lineup in its 40,000 square feet of space. The food hall houses 14 restaurants and five bars, and seats more than 600 people. The market claims 1,000 different Italian retail items and more than 500 wine labels. What is perhaps most unusual is that, like big brother on the scene Eataly, La Centrale is home to full-service dining, too.
If you can’t locate your restaurant inside a food hall, you can at least bring the inspiration to your location. One of consumers’ biggest complaints about food halls? They’re too crowded and have poor service. Offering a variety of menu options and ensuring full service is done at its finest can combine the best of both worlds.