Posts by Carol

An explosion of food markets across Australia has increased competition for both specialty fresh food and unique, artisan prepared food providing opportunities to attract local consumers and international tourists.  Opportunities exist to increase performance through developing place-making strategies to establish global market status while maintaining a true local profile maintaining the integrity and essence of a vibrant market place.  Competition escalates between food markets and fresh food halls within shopping centres with both looking to offer a ‘market’ experience to gain market share of the non-discretionary food shop and more discretionary prepared food and dining dollar.

The appeal of food markets across Australia has grown considerably over the last few years.  The market format has evolved from the weekend farmer’s market model to include more socially interactive environment with the integration of prepared food and entertainment. Food markets have become a social magnet across a diverse consumer range attracting families, singles, youth and local and international tourists.

The emergence of gourmet food trucks, international and local artisan pop-up concepts has created a heightened social and sensory experience reflecting our diverse, multi-cultural array of food producers and farmers.

Markets across the globe are becoming more permanent structures within well designed venues creating functional operating spaces, weather resistant and extended trading and providing comfort levels for consumers to dwell and graze. The market places of today take a civic approach connecting the local community with rural farmers and local producers alongside craftsmen, artists and entertainers promoting kinship and ethical community values.

Prime examples include the evolution of Borough and Camden Markets in the UK and the Chelsea Markets in the US, all examples of a successful transition from fresh food market places to foodie destinations.  Chelsea Market reported an increase of around 30% in visitation after transforming from a more traditional produce market by incorporating prepared food elements derived from the fresh onsite produce. Initial resistance from locals concerned with maintaining the integrity of the market has been overwhelmed by the injected energy in this thriving destination located in the Meatpacking District in New York.  Now a prime piece of real estate, the market attracts over 5 million visitors per year both local and tourists and trades 7 days a week from 7am until 9pm.

Historically, the ‘market place’ provided more than just a venue to purchase fresh food and general supplies.  It allowed rural and urban people to meet and connect, sharing news and knowledge.  Today our markets reflect this ‘feel good’ factor with the community.  The unique mix of local and ethnic food and produce attracts our diverse, multi cultural population and food tourists from across the globe offering a real snapshot to the region/country and its culture.

Creating the ultimate market place should include both sets of users groups – local and tourists. The strategy, based on market research and analytics, starts with a concept vision that includes developing a compelling product/stall mix, innovative design and layout features, adequate operational services and facilities, active marketing and events plan to activate and support a forecasted increase in visitation, sales and highlighting potential increases in leasing revenue and asset growth across a broader trading platform. Mapping out the strategy and business plan is essential to deliver the critical success factors prior to executing the design and development plans.

The following photos showcase the new (October 2014) Markthal in Rotterdam.

The covered market, located in the city center of Rotterdam, comprises 96 fresh produce units and 20 hospitality and retail units. The roof of Markthal is shaped by an arch of 228 apartments. A four-story underground car park offers 1.200 parking lots. This combination of market and housing is the first of its kind, making it a world premiere.

Markthal - Rotterdam

Markthal – Rotterdam



Also review Yagan Square – Australia’s latest civic market concept currently under development – showcasing WA’s innovative producers. An award winning design by Maddison Architects, I was fortunate to be engaged to develop the concept into a sustainable enterprise combining a range of permanent primary and secondary tenancies and a flexible offer of temporary stalls, pop-ups and food vans.  Additionally, across this 3 storey structure and surrounds, the concept included strategic placement of cafes and restaurants utilising key vantage points, external areas, train station pedestrian track and urban laneways. Yagan Square (MRA – Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority) in the centre of Perth’s CBD projects a strong civic statement.

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Maximising GLA – Transform the smallest spaces into active places – Turn quirky spaces into desirable revenue generating opportunities

Maximising GLA in commercial properties is always a challenge for leasing executives, particularly when refurbishing an existing site.  It is equally as important to activate all areas to increase circulation and maximise sales opportunities for all retailers.  Reducing dead spaces and filling difficult spaces can provide a connection across all retail, food and leisure, bringing a precinct to life.  Dark disconnected corners, under stairs and escalators, carpark entrances, secondary entrances and exits can be given a new lease of life by designing and curating unique food and retail tenancies showcasing alluring concepts.

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Casual lease kiosks or pop up options create variety and excitement showcasing new to market products that often transfer to permanent retail lease opportunities. Developing external clusters of food or retail trucks and pop-up stalls can provide additional promotional marketing events to attract a target audience.  This externalisation of food and retail brings the offer out to the community.

The strategic distribution of retail concepts on the external facade can allow retailers to trade across a wider day segment, and food with custom designed external seating areas provides an active and welcoming statement. The distribution, layout and junta position of retail and food tenancies, if carefully aligned to the demographic shopper profile, can have a positive impact on sales and utilisation.  This requires the development of a leasing strategy to create well defined precincts or cluster targeted at specific user groups.

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Rebranding is not merely about changing a logo and signage.  It is a cultural shift based on consumer and product research careful analysis and strategic insight at all stages of the process. This strategic, analytical and disciplined approach continues as part of the ongoing evolution, delivering on brand promise across all consumer touch points.

The transformation of the brand strategy can vary depending on the key elements identified in the evaluation phase. A firm positioning strategy can include:

  1. Expanding into new markets – broaden consumer base, inject new product lines.
  2. Align and update the image and values with current and emerging markets.
  3. Connect with consumers – a new customer service and loyalty strategy
  4. Create a new culture – energetic & inspiring
  5. Remain competitive and profitable

The re-branding strategy must be easily transformed into the brand experience. It requires authenticity, consistency, attention to detail and engagement across the retail team.


Beaches – (Coastal Apparel Stores)

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(Design by David Byerlee – Photography by Blow Ink)

The stakes are high when undertaking a rebranding exercise in retail.  The process can be costly, disruptive to trade and confusing to customers.  Maintaining  customer appeal, loyalty, and credibility is at risk. With the help of social media, strategic marketing and a timeline and checklist it can be achieved without too much grief. Engaging the right design team and communicating a full brief is crucial in representing the brands values, product range and aligning with the consumer demographic.

A small chain of surfwear stores has successfully undertaken the task, refreshing and injecting energy into what was once a franchise brand.

Beaches has 2 store locations in South Australia at coastal shopping centres, servicing the die hard surf and beach culture and the urban population in this expanding residential zone.

The Beaches brand identity reflects the coastal culture and resonates in a youthful and approachable way to all ages, male, female, families and kids. Supported by a professional store fit out and innovative visual merchandising the company has drawn on its management and staff ‘s creativity as well as utilising the surfwear labels to fit out and visually merchandise designated areas of the store.  This specific collaboration between suppliers and store operators also assists to simplify the reordering process providing efficiencies for store managers and buyers.

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Adelaide – Alive!

Adelaide – Alive!

Posted By on Jan 29, 2015

On a recent trip to Adelaide, my mission was to discover what’s new in food. Always searching for innovative concepts, passionate operators who dare to go the extra mile, and destinations that offer amazing experiences.

Summer is definitely the time to visit as the city and surrounding areas come alive through the numerous arts festivals, sporting events, food markets and events. The refurbishment of the Adelaide oval and a calendar of events attracting locals and tourists provides opportunities for food operators to leverage from the increased foot traffic. As a result, a number of dining enclaves and pop-up events have continued to excite and attract crowds of people looking to eat and drink before or after an event, or just soak up the social energy while grazing over a share plate and a good local wine or two. Discovering the fine local food, wines and craft beers is now more accessible in the CBD, inner suburbs or on a road trip to the Barossa or McLarenvale.

After the new liquor license for small venues was introduced in 2013 a laneway culture has emerged in the CBD as well s a range of unique bars and licensed casual eating concepts across town.   While there is still an obvious absence of national brands in the licensed all day casual dining category (GYG, Mad Mex, Schnitz & Grill’d) the new local innovators of food and beverage have emerged triumphantly.


Look out for the innovative crew lead by Stuart Duckworth creating youthful and artful venues and pop-up events:

  • Royal Croquet Club
  • Royal Raj Racquet Club
  • Miss Miami Crabshack
  • Miss Lee’s Laundry & Bar
  • Little Miss Mexico
  • Golden Boy
  • Griffin Place – Mr Kims, Rocket Bar, Electric Circus, Rooftop Bar & Cinema

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Peel Street – CBD Laneway

A laneway destination full of  ‘on trend’ casual restaurants and bars by passionate and visionary operators is a hit with all ages seeking a vibrant and laid back night out. Peel Street offers just that and more! Spanish, Mexican, Serbian, Italian and more clever casual food, inventive cocktails, great wine & beer – day and night.

  • Mexican bar Chihuahua
  • The Clever Little Tailor
  • Barbushka
  • Bread & Bone
  • Peel Street
  • The Kaffana
  • Maybe Mae
  • La Moka
  • La Rambla Tapas Bar

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Casino & CBD area

  • Sean’s Kitchen
  • Madam Hanoi
  • Jamie’s Italian
  • 2KW Rooftop Bar & Restaurant
  • Street & Orana
  • Downtown HDCB

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Suburbs and Shoreline

  • Si Senorita – Holdfast Shores
  • Café Troppo – Whitmore Square
  • Vietnamese Laundry – Sturt Street
  • Adelaide Market – CBD


The Barossa

  • Maggie Beer
  • Langmeil Winery
  • FermentAsian

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Fast Food Majors Re-position Brands

Fast Food Majors Re-position Brands

Posted By on Jan 8, 2015

While there will always be a market for cheap, fried fast food, it is interesting to observe that both McDonald’s and KFC are developing new concepts in a bid to align with consumers and increase market share.  Creating brands in the casual dining arena allows access to a broader consumer base and the ability to trade across a range of day parts with a higher spend per customer.

The recent success and expansion of brands including Grill’d, Guzmen y Gomez, Mad Mex and Schnitz and the increased consumer demand for healthier, freshly made food is likely to have influenced these directions in Australia.

There have been numerous comments on KFC’s proposed introduction of beer and cider on their menu at a store destined for Sydney’s Parramatta and McDonald’s new healthy concept cafe “The Corner” in Camperdown.

KFC – Proposed at Church Street, Parramatta

Currently waiting on licensing permits and social ramifications of aligning alcohol with what has been perceived as a ‘family and kids’ brand in Australia, KFC expands its offer to capture the more lucrative slice of the market.  Researching their stores overseas highlights that it’s not just about adding alcohol to the menu.  It appears that the stores have a different look and feel, although an off shoot brand with a different name could be a more palatable option

beer and kfc

KFC sells a selection of beer in Canada


McDonald’s – The Corner Cafe – Camperdown

Will this format replace the bland McCafe model? Strategically located across from the Royal Alfred Hospital in Camperdown, an American style healthier food cafe has been launched.  The rebranding and store fit out meets the appeal of todays young and hip cafe crowd with the inclusion of sustainable style packaging, design your own salads, wraps and rolls, grab and go items with coffee in a relaxed environment.

The Corner Cafe by McDonald's - Healthy salad

The Corner Cafe by McDonald’s – Healthy salad

The next question is – will McDonald’s move to introducing alcohol as they have in Paris and Germany?

mcdonalds paris beer

McDonald’s Paris


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