DALLAS—Before COVID, food halls were not only the fastest growing trend in food and beverage but one of the hottest growth concepts in the greater retail world. Food halls became a critical part of landlord and developer strategies to backfill empty space in ways the now-challenged department store sector once did, according to the latest Cushman & Wakefield Food Hall Report.

Food halls adapted quickly to the crisis, perhaps more than more retail categories. In fact, 75% were able to stay open during lockdowns by pivoting to the ghost kitchen model.

Moving into the post-pandemic era, more landlords and developers will need to backfill retail space lost to the crisis. Reconfiguring shopping centers towards those concepts may well resonate with consumers. Most importantly, large swaths of the independent restaurant community are going to need a rebuilding mechanism with lower inherent risks for all. This improved operational model would allow for higher profit margins and low barrier-to-entry, says the report.

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Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown is an editor for the south and west regions of GlobeSt.com. She has 25-plus years of real estate experience, with a regional PR role at Grubb & Ellis and a national communications position at MMI. Brown also spent 10 years as executive director at NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area chapter, where she led the organization to achieving its first national award honors and recognition on Capitol Hill. She has written extensively on commercial real estate topics and edited numerous pieces on the subject.