There was certainly a lot of buzz throughout the industry prior to RECon 2013 in Las Vegas, signaling a positive shift from what we’ve seen the past few years at the conference. I wholly expected to see a lot of momentum building around redevelopment opportunities. To my surprise, it seemed like there was more interest in new development, especially in urban areas and brownfield sites. I also noticed a lot of interest in unique, chef-driven restaurant concepts. In my latest blog post at Chain Store Age, I discuss some of my initial reflections from this year’s conference and give my take on what it means for the industry moving forward.
One of the most distinctive new retail trends I’ve noticed so far at RECon is in the restaurant category, where unique chef-driven concepts keep coming up again and again. It seems like this trend is indicative of the fact that some in the industry are starting to look at the restaurant component in a new light: as an opportunity to define your project and help transform a retail or mixed-use development into a true destination. Generally speaking, the more unique your restaurant concept, the greater the size of the trade area you can pull from.