Most of the cities are already well saturated, especially those with a number inhabitants above 100k.
Last year there were 49 new shopping malls opened whereas in 2016 there are 37 malls planned tobe opened including 18 in cities above 100k. Total modern shopping malls GLA in Poland at the end of 2015 was on the level of 10,8 mln sqm.
In relation to an increasing number of shopping malls there has been an increase also in the popularity of the shopping malls looking at it from a leisure time perspective. Polish people love doing shopping in malls and young generation can’t imagine their day to day “hanging around” without meetings in shopping malls. This means that coffee shops and restaurants play significant role in the shopping malls especially in bigger Polish cities.
According to the latest research there are in total app. 16,000 gastronomy points in Poland of which 11,000 are located in 8 biggest Polish cities. 12% of them (approximately 1,350) are located in shopping malls. Nearly 50% of the gastronomy points are located in food courts and 50% in the remaining areas of the malls.
Popularity of the restaurants, coffee shops and, in general, food courts is closely connected with the demographic changes such as decreasing size of households and a growing trend of unplanned eating – “on the way to…”. Today’s food courts are not the same as they were 10 - 15 years ago. Consumers in Polish malls have grown more demanding in aspects of choosing the right place to eat, relax, rest or meet with friends. Sophisticated architecture and adequate zoning have a big influence on their choices.
Following saturation of shopping malls in bigger cities, all “older” malls focus on optimization and repositioning and the same time performing renovation, re-modelling or even get extended. As a result the food courts have become bigger to meet customer needs and remain sufficiently attractive to keep up with competition.
Thinking about 21st century shopping mall concept we can’t ignore the role of digital communication. While consumers spend more time away from home, in the office, travelling and on the other side, thru internet and mobile apps they get almost unlimited choice and easy access to products they are interested in.
This trend has a strong influence on modern malls concepts where special, dedicated e-zones for chatting/ tweeting are part of a design of the mall food courts and entertainment areas.
Summarizing, leading shopping malls have become a natural destination points in the city, offering wider choice of products, activities and entertainment where gastronomy plays major role, therefore it is natural for gastronomy operators to make their brands available to the loyal customers in the places they spend most of their free time and simultaneously - having in mind still underdeveloped street market in Poland - creating a great opportunity for the first contact with potential new customers.