Shopping Centers Today

JUL 2014

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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Page 23 of 59

Falafel to go national, speculates R.J. Hottovy, a restaurant analyst at invest- ment research firm Morningstar. "If you look beyond Mexican and Asian, it's fairly fragmented from the other cuisines that are out there, so there's an opportunity for a company to fill a void," he said. "There is demand if you look nationwide, especially if you go to urban [areas]. A lot of times you're seeing college towns with con- cepts like this." Perhaps Just Falafel's biggest chal- lenge right now comes not from like-minded concepts, but from the fast-casual sector in general, Hottovy says. Many of these chains, whatever the cuisine, are going public and ex- panding rapidly. Yet there is only but so much good real estate, experienced personnel and consumer demand to go around, of course. The fast-casual market could get quite overheated over the next few years, he says. Fast-casual concepts are increas- ing in number by between 7 and 8 percent yearly, versus an restaurant industry average of 0.5 percent, ac- cording to Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant analyst at consumer research firm NPD Group, who says she foresees no cooling off for at least 10 years. Any vegetarian concept, though, would encounter difficulty in much of the U.S., Riggs says. NPD says that less than 0.5 percent of all meals served in the U.S. are vegetarian and that this number has remained unchanged over the years. "In some of these towns in Middle America, they're not as willing to try something that they're not even able to pronounce," she said. "It's not going to be in Des Moines, Iowa." But a well-run concept could find success in some of the larger metro areas, especially those on the coasts, Riggs says, and they may also draw the Millennials, a generation seeking healthier eating options than earlier generations. Just Falafel executives express confidence that their chain can be strong just about anywhere in North America, though. "There is an ever-growing aware- ness for the healthier aspects of the Mediterranean diet, and related foods such as hummus are becom- ing more mainstream," said COO Michael Biggins. "Our brand has the flexibility to promote certain at- tributes according to the target cus- tomers in a specific market." Which means that there is no reason Just F a l a f e l c o u l d n ' t f l o u r i s h i n D e s Moines, too. S C T 24 S C T / J u l y 2 0 1 4 r e T a i l i n g T o d a y For multiple generations and through multiple real estate cycles as Simons Real Estate Group, M.J. Neiditz & Company, and Richard S. Korris, we've counseled our partners and clients on developing, managing and growing their assets. Now we're combining forces to create a unique full service frm. Introducing Figure Eight Properties. The new guys on the commercial real estate block that you already know by name F8PRoPERtIES.CoM / 860.313.5400 22-24_SCT_JUL14_Just Falafal.indd 24 6/12/14 5:50 PM

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