Trends to consider when mixing experiences in Food Halls

Trends to consider when mixing experiences in Food Halls

Illustration by Celia Díaz.

New consumers’ agents and trends:

Convenience and social experiences:

The technology boom in on demand services has generated solutions for an accelerated lifestyle. E-commerce has changed restaurants’ business models by complementing them. A platform such as Uber-Eats takes users’ way of consuming to another level, by giving them access to customise and tailor their order as they please. 30% of casual restaurants with delivery have increased their sales by 7.2% (ISCAM).

Restaurants are stepping up their game as entertainment spots. 21.9% of monthly average expenses are destined to food and beverages, and the trend is increasing according to the National Household Income and Expenses 2016. Consumption centres are a reflection of lifestyle and the reinterpretation of public spaces.

Types of restaurants growing in demand:

Within the categories of Full Service Restaurants (FSR) and Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), there are two realities:


New millennial consumers no longer look for rigid atmospheres like the ones seen at traditional Fine Dinings. The Fine Casuals are having more game in the market since they are positioning themselves as restaurants where people can stay around for drinks and conversation after dining: gastronomic chef driven proposals with a casual atmosphere.

Casual predominates as a favourite among the Family Market and has a leading role at shopping centres all around Mexico.

(QSR) FAST CASUAL (Independent)

The Food Halls’ boom, (contemporary markets with a gourmet approach) replaced Food Courts at shopping malls, the Fast Casual format gained popularity, which means: Full Service restaurants created quick experience versions, and there is usually a popular chef behind them. There are already popular cases, such as the Food Hall pioneer at the Plaza Hotel in New York by Todd English or Joan Roca’s presence at the Mercado de San Miguel; even Anthony Bourdain invited the Guerrerense to be part of their market in New York.

Gastronomy favourites in Mexico:

Mexican food:

In Mexico, Mexican food is still leading with the highest penetration in the market, from informal street food “puestos” to fine dining restaurants. The versatility and richness of the food creates sub genders within the same gastronomy, some of the most popular are seafood and Oaxaca style cuisine. On the other hand, Mexican finger food such as tacos and tostadas are friendly for the Family Style that’s trending worldwide.

Asian food:

This gastronomic profile is taking over restaurants of all genders; Poke Bowls, Ramen and Omakase type bars are becoming more popular each day.

Terraza Cha Cha Chá

Performance expectation in the industry in the next five years:

1. Farm to table:

In Mexico, this concept is yet to spread. Restaurants lack values such as: organic, local supplies and temporality, from the garden ingredients, vegetable based food and socially responsible processes. These trends have already taken over the most innovative restaurants around the world, but it in Mexico this is still only part of the high social strata scene, but little by little, it’s beginning to spread in different consumption types.

2. Pop-up concepts:

Restaurants that overall focus on food. Concepts that don’t have a fixed space and therefore need a lower investment.

3. Fast casual meets Fine Casual:

Easy going service with gourmet quality ingredients. Examples: La Guerrerense in Ensenada or Don Vergas at the Mercado de San Juan in Mexico.

4. International food & beverages with local ingredients:

In Mexico, they are becoming the foreign classics, for example: Mexican Sake or local Gin. On the other hand, dishes that are not native to Mexico are being mixed with endemic ingredients from the region, generating cultural reinterpretations of the gastronomy, for example: Mutton cheeseburger with chicatana ants and Chihuahua cheese.


Behaviour between chains and mom-and-pops (Indies):

Casual style independent restaurants are bringing quality to the table and equal prices as restaurant chains, sometimes even lower. For example: Delirio by Mónica Patiño vs Chili’s.

Innovation is flowing in these types of restaurants because they are not obliged to standardize their processes like food chains, which means: flexibility to include seasonal products and ingredients. At restaurant chains, the pricing strategy is planned: there is precise knowledge of costs per dish and central kitchens that optimize the processes, they are careful with menu engineering and operation, however this takes away the artisanal in it.


*Our specialty is the Food & Beverage (F&B) industry.

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