Return of the food hall

By Prof David Russell in partnership with Peter Russell

Forbes reported, at the start of this year, that “food halls are the new food trucks” and that we’d see many more of these opening in 2019. This has certainly been the case with approximately 20 opening across London in the past year.

Working with this concept of food delivery is something we at Russell Partnership Consulting have extensive experience of, coming from work with major events across the globe. We define a food hall as “a space which delivers fast casual food from a collection of independent outlets utilising a mixture of counter and full-service options”. This is delivered in a boutique and eclectic style, offering speciality food in a dining destination.

Food halls meet many of the growing trends that are happening within the industry such as the increased popularity for more personalised food options and a desire to move away from homogenous brands and onto gourmet niche offers. Growing trends displayed within food halls also consist of health-focused dining, communal meals and budget friendly options – all available in this all-purpose environment.

When we examine this in relation to the student food experience, the food hall format lends itself perfectly to this environment. Many students will dine together but want to eat different meals due to preference and necessity. We also know that the lines are more blurred than ever before when it comes to dining, socialising and working with food hubs becoming a ‘third space’ for students and university staff alike. Furthermore, a recent report from savethestudent.org states that students spend an average of £29 per week on food and takeaways, demonstrating that students continue to have a budgetary allocation for food and beverage options.

This poses the question: are food halls the answer for universities looking to diversify their central food and beverage offering, while also driving the student experience?


What are your thoughts? Let’s chat… @RP_Consultants

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