Of the many trends in the restaurant and leisure property industry that have surfaced recently, our London leisure property experts would highlight the incredible rise of ‘premiumised informality’ in food, something that is catalysed by commercial clustering. So what is commercial clustering, and how has it impacted the world of street food in London and the rest of Britain?
How has commercial clustering impacted the world of street food in London?
The effect this has is to multiply the customer base by the number of leisure properties in the ‘village’. This works particularly well when the properties in the cluster are distinct, yet have similar values. It is also helping the continuing proliferation of independent vendors that prioritise local, high quality produce.
A perfect example of this is Shoreditch’s BoxPark. A pop-up mall crafted from storage units, Box Park is comprised of a variety of fashionable clothing stores, trendy restaurants like Bukowski and Voodoo Ray’s, and concept bars like Rum Shack. Each 300 sq ft unit is different, but each attracts a customer interested in distinct, bespoke, local products, so each unit can draw customers from the whole customer pool.
Box Park has been so successful that it has been given £3 million by the council to help open its second iteration in Croydon, south London.
Like the regeneration of Croydon, Brixton has also seen the clustering effect in the Brixton Village market. Here, customers will find well over 20 cafés, restaurants and bars, including Franco Manca, Honest Burger, Fish, Wings & Tings. While Brixton Village remains a fantastic attraction for premium, street food and boutique concepts, it has also attracted more established brands to Brixton. Additionally, these independent restaurants’ success has led to expansion across the capital, with – for example – Franco Manca now about to open their 14th restaurant in Covent Garden.
Close by, Atlantic Road has attracted premium Mexican chain Wahaca to the area. Meanwhile Three Eight Four, a rustic meat-based restaurant is enjoying success on Coldharbour Lane, drawing food lovers from around London to Brixton.
Commercial clustering isn’t just something taking place in the capital, although it is perhaps most successful there. In regional areas like Newcastle, events like the Boiler Shop Steamer, a monthly celebration of food, drink, music and art draws significant traffic from the region, alongside vendors from across the UK.
At the next event of the month, almost 30 vendors will be gathered to impress their customers’ taste buds. Premiumised informality features heavily, with Coop Chicken House, Hip Hop Chip Shop and Pizzette all making appearances. Trendy Ouseburn pub, The Cumberland Arms – alongside the Wylam Brewery – will be serving craft ales, and local Jesmond favourite, The Fat Hippo, will be serving its on-trend premium American favourites.
An obvious form of commercial clustering is the shopping mall. And nowhere has this been more successful recently than in the Leeds Trinity Centre which runs through the city centre, generating £209 million gross added value per year. Inside the mall is Trinity Kitchen, an indoor street food paradise with 105,000 sq ft of available space, where the vendors rotate on a regular basis, with favourites returning if demand is high enough.
Trinity Kitchen is successful because it draws customers from all around the mall, and from across Leeds city centre. With shoppers using the Trinity Centre as a main thoroughfare through the city itself, foot flow around Trinity Kitchen is high, and customers are likely to be drawn in by the ‘village’ effect.
These are just a handful of examples of how commercial clustering is impacting the restaurant and leisure industry, helping the independent food scene to thrive in London and across the UK.
If you are landlord looking to let your property to drive commercial success through clustering, get in touch with one of our experienced London restaurant property experts today.
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