Restaurants replacing department stores as anchor tenants

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2016 | commercial real estate

Florida residents may be surprised to find out that Americans spend more money in restaurants than they do in supermarkets, and this love affair with eating out is throwing a lifeline to commercial real estate’s struggling retail sector. The increasing popularity of online shopping and the collapse of several prominent retailers has cast a shadow over the future of the nation’s shopping centers and arcades, and many mall operators are looking to franchise restaurants and eateries backed by celebrity chefs to put a stop to years of decline.

Even ubiquitous food trucks are being courted by commercial real estate owners and managers as a way of driving foot traffic to retail locations. Some malls have even gone as far as sectioning off part of their parking lots to create outdoor food courts. Convenience and value are buzzwords in the new economy, and food trucks have quietly grown to become a $2.7 billion business.

This kind of growth rarely goes unnoticed, and some retail sector landlords are looking at food trucks and budget restaurants as potential business opportunities rather than just tenants. Other mall operators believe that large chain restaurants or even supermarkets could soon replace department stores as their primary tenants.

Successful entrepreneurs are known for seizing opportunities wherever they find them even if it means stepping out of their comfort zones, but they rarely take these steps before seeking legal and financial advice. Experienced real estate attorneys could help commercial property developers, investors or owners who wish to diversify by assessing the nature of the legal and regulatory challenges they may face. Attorneys could also strive to protect their clients from legal pitfalls by recommending changes to lease agreements that make them more appropriate for a different kind of tenant.