Food Court Renovations: Lessons Learned
Besides the active involvement of the facility executive, Braun says there are several “lessons learned” a facility executive can incorporate into a food court renovation.
• If you are considering a food court expansion, egress from the space might be a limiting factor. Before you plan any food court renovation, review the size and number of exits; that information will determine just how many seats a project can add or accommodate.
• Democracy is a good thing, but too much input can mire a food court renovation since so many individual brands will be represented. Ask your food court vendors big-picture questions such as “What would make this a better food court?” and “What do you think your customers would like more?” Don’t ask them what color it should be or what finishes you should select.
• Commission renderings of the project to show current and prospective food court tenants. In addition, make these available for workers so they can envision what’s to come. Everyone needs to feel the project is going to be worth the time and potential disruption.
• Think in phases. Braun suggests renovating small spaces at a time to avoid any of your food tenants needing to shut down during the renovation.
• Think of your food court as more than just a lunch spot. Make it the hub or center of activity. Use lounge seating for those visiting your food court outside of lunch hours. Create places to collaborate or to work remotely so they can perform tasks on their mobile devices. Food vendors will appreciate the additional income these activities can generate.
Regardless of the building type and size, leasing professionals agree the presence of a superior food court has become increasingly important to companies in their site selection process, given the growing emphasis now placed on employees having easy access to quality food choices. Moreover, a well-designed food court gives workers an uplifting place to go for a break or lunch and can help stimulate their body and mind throughout the rest of their day.