By converting some existing retail space into restaurants, cafés, bars, and counters, brands can create exciting customer-centric destinations that activate redundant, or lack-lustre space. This is particularly helpful in a world where more customers are increasingly shopping online. 

According to JLL Food Service, 40% of visitors base their choice of shopping centre on the dining options available, and that shoppers spend 12% more on retail when they eat out in a centre. We’re betting this is true of the high street, too. So ultimately, strong dining options help to build a compelling customer retail experience, increasing footfall, dwell time and revenue generation.

From Primark to Burberry, see how non-food retailers are embracing foodservice to increase their footing on the high street. 


Makeup brand Glossier recently partnered with Rhea’s Cafe in San Francisco to offer diners an opportunity to test and buy Glossier products while dining on fried chicken sandwiches. Yes, that’s right.

Image courtesy of Eater SF

Ali Weiss, SVP of marketing at Glossier, argues that the purpose of the space is to enable customers to socialise. “People don’t just visit Glossier to buy products,” Weiss says. “They hang out, create content, chat with our editors, and make friends with the stranger trying Boy Brow next to them.” “Above all, the goal is to create people-centric experiences that foster meaningful connections.” And there are few ways better to do this than over food and a drink of something delicious.

Image courtesy of Eater SF

At a similar scale, Burberry has created an all-day café at its London flagship. The food is seasonal and British, leaning into their brand story. Similarly, Ralph Lauren opened Ralph’s Coffee on the second floor of its Polo flagship on Fifth Avenue in New York. And Gucci launched a bistro, Gucci Café, in its store in Shanghai’s IAPM shopping centre.

Image courtesy of Luxuo

Primark Birmingham 

At a larger scale, the world’s largest Primark opened its doors earlier this year in Birmingham. Spread over five floors, it features three cafes including Disney at Primark with interactive tables and Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes, in-house Mezz restaurant, a Primarket Café (which will give back five per cent of every kilo of coffee sold to the coffee bean growers), and a café with a Disney-themed menu and interactive game zone.

Image courtesy of The Independent


Ikea’s food menu, ironically or not, has become so popular that some people only visit the furniture store to eat, prompting the chain to consider a separate chain of restaurants. Ikea Greenwich, their latest and most London-lifestyle-centric store yet, features a restaurant, bistro and a Swedish food market.

Ikea Greenwich also taps into other current zeitgeisty trends, like sustainability, featuring solar panels, greywater recycling and rainwater treatment (reducing the store’s water use by up to half). There’s also a Learning Lab, where customers can get tips on how to make purchases last longer and upcycle.


Courtesy of Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s new superstore concept at Selly Oak, Birmingham, is the first branch to host a food market. 180-seat food court area ‘Wok Street’ serves Asian street food and ‘Little India Kitchen’ offers freshly made curries. It’s been highly successful as a solution to multiple problems: how to turn unhelpful space into a destination, how to improve customer dwell time, and how to cater for customers’ diverging tastes, while not alienating existing customers.

At CADA, we know the value of food across the retail, leisure and hospitality spectrum, and at all market levels. Food is, undeniably, for everyone, and we believe that adding food service to retail is not only good for brands, but also customers. Get in touch to see how we can help you.

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