Foodhalls creating Retail Theatre

Given these unprecedented times in retail, many department stores have a brisk trade in their Foodhalls.  While the lure of window displays and browsing the fashion and home floors of a department store is exciting, there is one area of the store that is must visit – The Foodhall & Wine Shop.

This department play an integral part of the success any store.  Whether you are purchasing  a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, or something sumptuous for supper, Foodhalls within department stores generate serious revenue for the business. Most of these stores will produce their own label/branded goods and the most famous is Fortnum & Mason in London. Products include Tea, Coffee, Biscuits, Jams and their famous honey from the beehives situated on the roof of this iconic London store.

We all know that the London stores such as Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason have superb Foodhalls, but how many of us are aware of the stunning Foodhalls in stores around the world such as Jemoli in Zurich, Printemps in Paris, Ka De We in Berlin and Woolworths in Cape Town, to name just a few.

While many people would not associate Visual Merchandising with a Foodhall or Wine Shop, during my career as VM Manager at Selfridges in London, I oversaw the Foodhall & Wine Shop where we used to create some stunning concepts and promotions. Good Visual Merchandising is not only confined to the latest fashion trend or home accessory. You can even make Food look exciting and sexy! Creating retail theatre is not only for store windows.

More recently, I was involved with the launch of Habitat by Honest Bee in Singapore.  The On-line grocery company were launching Habitat, a unique 60,000 sq. ft food wonderland. Their first bricks & mortar store. The business model was a multi-sensory, tech-meets-food grocery and dining experience like no other; see, smell, hear, touch and taste fresh flavours and food items from across the globe. Customers would scan the item on their iPhone and pay using their iPhone.

In addition to this many food retailers now include a Coffee Shop and sometimes restaurant within their Foodhalls. These include Dean & Deluca,  Jones The Grocer and Eataly.

Here is a selection of photographs from my files. So next time you visit a department store, go and visit the Foodhall & Wine Shop.

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