Food halls continue to buzz in 2020, and they show no sign of slowing down. Even the mighty Corona virus can’t halt the march of the food hall, so as we’re exposed to the latest emerging trends in food halls, we thought it would be good to share 10 of them with you.

ONE: Local heroes: food halls champion brands with a strong, local presence, plus emerging players who want to trial their concepts before committing to bricks and mortar. 

Fresh St. Market, Canada, celebrates local producers at a weekly instore farmers market. Image courtesy of Fresh St. Market.

TWO: Ordering and paying is exclusively digital, with food arriving at numbered tables. A seamless, queue-free experience for customers that gives venues ongoing marketing opportunities. 

THREE: Delivery will be integral, with collections by established partners. Live stream webcams in kitchens broadcast dishes being made, showcasing expertise.

Deliveroo Editions, dark kitchen in Australia. Image courtesy of ABC News.

FOUR: Hygiene: be clean and seen to be clean but don’t compromise on visual or tactile design quality, or customers will focus on cleanliness to the detriment of experience.

FIVE: Focus on only-in-person perks such as insta-friendly, interactive spaces to boost engagement: consider private pods that make out-of-home time extra special.

In-person engagement. Not a food hall. Lush offers an instore only hand washing experience. Image courtesy of Lush.

SIX: Individual orders are how food halls operate, even when diners come in groups: embrace solo diners by allowing seating areas that welcome and celebrate them.

SEVEN: Comforting but challenging experiences: pair the exploratory with the familiar, as per Filipino brand Jollibee’s banana ketchup-topped spaghetti with fried chicken. 

Jollibee. Image courtesy of Curiosity.

EIGHT: Shorter menus, simpler dishes: food halls are purveyors of high quality, accessibly priced. See Copenhagen’s Noma: from Michelin stars to a two-choice, open-air burger bar. 

Noma. Image courtesy of Noma.

NINE: Anything but meat including crops that don’t use a lot of water, incur food miles or engender monocultures will strike a chord with sustainability-focused consumers.

TEN: Sensory cues help to evoke atmosphere: the smells, the sounds, the chatter, the noise, the buzz!

Picturedrome. Image courtesy of Picturedrome.

So, what do you think is going to be a hit in the course of the next 10 years? Will food halls persist and flourish as a format, or will they wither?

We’ve designed some of the most commercially and critically successful food halls in the world. If you would like us to design your next food hall venture, get in touch.