Food halls have been opening at a rate that’s made them difficult to ignore.
From a guest’s perspective, food halls provide the opportunity to pick and choose from different vendors to create just the elevated (shared or single) artisanal and chef-driven meal they want. They can drop impromptu without needing to coordinate party palates ahead of time. Food halls also offer a place to linger while enjoying the hustle and bustle of a busy food market.
From the operator’s side, the format is attractive as well. Tenants share overheard expenses while getting the exposure and traffic that comes from being part of a high-profile venue. For up-and-coming entrepreneurs, it’s a way to break into the business without a lot of capital. For established, even celebrity chefs, it’s a way to meet the people where they are and sell to their food—and their brand—to a broader audience.
New food halls are emerging most often in once-abandoned urban spaces as local governments and neighborhood groups bend over backwards in to pave the way for developers. There’s fierce competition for coveted vendor spaces. For operators looking to nab a spot, this means having a tight concept that’s on-trend and can turn orders quickly—all while offering food quality that’s several notches above standard food court fare.