You and your friends want to dine out but everyone is craving something different. What do you do? Go to a food court!
The first successful food court was established in a mall in the USA in the late 1970s. Today, the concept of a food court has scaled to great heights.
Initially, food courts would be set up in places like malls, adventure parks etc. The idea was to have people spend more time in one arena and make it a one-stop solution for everything. Now, food courts are set up independently and advertised as a place where you can get various food options. Their presence can be seen at places such as airports and railway stations to food truck parks and along the highways as well as in corporate and commercial buildings.
Whether you are an aspiring restaurateur looking to set up a food outlet or an existing restaurant owner looking to expand into the food court business, Petpooja POS is there to handle all your restaurant operations smoothly, no matter the number of outlets or the type of outlet.
However, like every coin has two sides, operating a restaurant outlet in a food court has its pros and cons. Let us take a look at them below:
Why Should You Set Up an Outlet at a Food Court?
Food courts, in their entirety, are a big investment for the owners. They are usually set up in areas with a higher customer visit rate such as places of entertainment such as malls, theatres etc.
A lot of shoppers prefer to munch while they shop or even prefer to eat at the mall so that they can head straight home. This feature is also used in bigger airports and train stations where there is a constant stream of visitors with a longer wait time looking to grab a drink or a bite before boarding.
Food courts also are always lively and located in an open space which is an inviting characteristic and draws people to spend time there.
Increased Brand Exposure
Customers usually browse through all the outlets in the food court before finalising where they want to eat. This leads to people becoming aware of the existence of your restaurant. You don’t have to even put in any extra effort on marketing and advertising. This is also called organic marketing.
People visiting food courts are also usually up for experimenting with new food. You can use that to your advantage. Ensure you plan your menu in such a way that it seems interesting enough for diners to try. Furthermore, the only way you can make your brand/stall appealing is through the signage and the basic decor. So, it is recommended that you make the display attractive.
Reduced Operating and Labour Cost
The outlets in a food court are much smaller in size in comparison to a small or mid-size restaurant. There is a common seating area among all the outlets. It is also self-service i.e. customers have to pick up their own food when their order is ready. You have to hire only minimal staff to work in the kitchen and maybe one or a maximum of two people to handle the order-taking and billing process. The labour cost is, therefore, reduced.
A food court outlet requires much less investment than a restaurant area. A kitchen area and a smaller display cum customer interaction area is allotted to each outlet and there is no further payment needed to be done therein. Moreover, there is no spending to be done for the basic maintenance or interiors of the stall. The rent is also less in comparison with a standalone physical restaurant. Hence, the operating cost is also lower. Your only focus is the quality of food.
Why Shouldn’t You?
A major con to operating a restaurant outlet in a food court is that there is a high number of options available for customers to choose from. This means that customers are confused about where to eat and there is not much you can do to hold their attention.
Their idea behind visiting a food court is that they get to choose from a variety of choices. Therefore, you have to constantly keep on evolving and adapting to the audience’s tastes and be consistent with your quality.
The basic idea of a food court is to have multiple outlets of restaurants under the same roof. This, unfortunately for the restaurateurs, also means that the competition is very high. Diners tend to get lost among the array of alternatives available to them and this in turn affects the frequency and the number of people visiting your outlet.
Another downside is that your prices must also be competitive with the other brands. There is a high chance that a diner may choose another outlet over you because of the pricing difference. So, be aware of the market trends and plan everything about your outlet accordingly.
Minimal Customization & Personalisation
This is one of the main reasons why you should think before opting for an outlet in a food court. The layout and the design of each section/stall of the food court are pre-decided by the builders. You have to choose from the available options.
There can be no changes made anywhere inside the stall without the express consent of the principal owner of the food court.
You are allowed to experiment with the display and the creative interior of the spot allotted to you but can make no permanent changes.
Food courts can be a good option if you are a rookie or want to start small with minimum investment. It also helps you keep an eye on the competition on the job and learn from their mistakes.
It is also a great way to soft launch your way into the market and see whether the food you are selling is accepted by the audience or not. Food courts are usually visited by people of all classes and hence you can also discover your target market and what works and what doesn’t.
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