Article by Francis Loughran, Food and Beverage Director of Future Food, Melbourne.

A food and beverage mix that reaches all customer groups and price points is integral for success but it’s not just about what you can get and for what price. Clustering of concepts and clever design promotes customer engagement as well as efficient functioning of not only a collective food precinct but also individual outlets. Learning what is involved in the successful design of a food precinct comes with many years of observing, experiencing and re-shaping them to the point where we now believe that working alongside the design team, from the architects to the engineers, is an invaluable step in developing a space that customers and operators benefit from.

Over the coming weeks, we are going to delve into the depths of food precinct design exploring how design touches every part of the project not just from a visual standpoint but also a functional one. Architects seek us out for our master planning skills and experience, particularly in spatial planning and the creation of hospitality precincts in shopping centres, airports, mixed use and other types of developments so to begin the series, we are going to give you the Future Food perspective on architecture and design when it comes to creating F&B precincts that are functional, impactful and responsive to the overall project.


1 | It’s not all about structure. A successful F&B precinct must be permeable and accessible from a number of different aspects as well as transformable to respond to future changes. Pop-ups and entertainment generate customer curiosity and patronage so integrating these opportunities into the initial design is beneficial for precincts as well as overall projects.

2 | You must consider spatial planning as a factor for attracting great operators that are reflective of the time and trends. This means determining customer purchase paths and designing a precinct that is sensitive to these. Great operators mean more customers visiting which results in a boost in rental returns and asset value.

3 | Day-to-day design practicalities, whilst less inspiring in terms of design, are integral to operating a successful F&B space. F&B-specific insight into how to integrate these into design plans is vital to creating a well functioning and therefore, successful F&B space.

4 | Sometimes GLA (gross leasing area) can be over- or under-specified for an F&B in an overall project. This can result in a blunting of potential revenue for the client. Carefully calculating the GLA and ensuring the space allocated is ‘just right’ is important for getting maximum return on investment.

5 | On top of visual appeal, the architectural plan needs to be considerate of loading dock requirements as well as the back-of-house (BOH) interface and services. These factors are purely practical yet critical to the success of a precinct.

A beautiful space is important, we’ve touched on that many times before but there are specific requirements of a F&B space that need to be integrated into the initial plans of a project in order forthe precinct to operate smoothly, take advantage of space, nurture the natural foot path of the customer and generate a buzzing, lively place for people to be, socialise and experience.

In coming weeks, we’ll bring you further Future Food blog posts on design and architectural planning in relation to front-of-house (FOH), back-of-house (BOH) and purchase paths as well as where they seek their inspiration for F&B outlet and precinct design in their hometown of Melbourne.


Feature Image courtesy Future Foods:  The Emporium, Melbourne – a successful integration of architecture and masterplanning to create one of the City’s most reputable dining destination.





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