A third of visitors to retail malls in EMEA only go to eat and drink there, not to shop.

According to a recent report by CBRE, shopping centers are now the go-to location for eating and drinking throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).

A survey of 22,000 consumers in 22 countries across EMEA found that 41% of them preferred eating in malls, compared to 10% who preferred eating at cafes and restaurants on the main drag and 7% who preferred eating in retail parks.

One-third of those surveyed said they only went to shopping malls to eat or drink. Even those who had only come to the center to eat or drink continued to shop four out of ten times.

90% of those surveyed in the UAE and 86% of those surveyed in South Africa rated the availability of food and beverage as important, and more than half of those surveyed in both countries (57% in the UAE and 65% in South Africa) almost always ended up visiting shops even when they were there for food and beverage. The opinions of those in the UK lagged slightly behind those in the UAE and South Africa; 65% of them rated the availability of food and drink as important, while just under half (47%) would ultimately visit the shops after.

According to Andrew Phipps, Director of Retail Research and Consulting at CBRE, EMEA “It is obvious that having a strong food and beverage selection is essential to attracting customers and generating revenue for a shopping center. The days of visiting for a meager fast food offer or an unappealing food court are long gone. Now that they are draws in and of themselves, what really excites consumers is the allure of a superbly conceived and executed eating and drinking experience.”