Food Halls are hot commodties in both the restaurant and real estate industries. For this Food Hall Focus feature, Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine reached out to Joseph A. Magliarditi, President/Chief Executive Officer of The Food Hall Co., which is taking a unique spin on this business model.
Magliarditi began his career as a financial analyst, before entering the hospitality industry and leading some of the most iconic properties in Las Vegas, namely the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and The Palms Las Vegas.
Based in Dallas, The Food Hall Co. is currently building a 100,000-square-foot hall in Nashville with more to come. The company puts entertainment first, and food and beverage second. From programming to design to culinary curation as an art form, the team actually runs the beverage program and offer license agreements for their food partners versus a traditional lease. The Food Hall Co. supports their partners with marketing, PR, POS support and more.
Is there a glut of food halls?
In my opinion yes, but I believe the definition of a food hall is part of the problem. What I mean by that is we’re seeing any size – even two or three – of a grouping of food purveyors being called a food hall and we would not classify those as such. Ultimately, I think what’s being called a food hall is incorrect and the term needs to be further defined. But even with that, I do think there’s a glut of food halls.
A successful food hall requires proper, targeted curation, operational execution, and perpetual marketing that emphasizes the combined product to the consumer.
What secret sauce has Food Hall Co. discovered?
We believe that a food hall that purely focuses on food has limited sustainability. We believe that you need a combination of what we would call the Five Pillars: food, beverage, entertainment, special events, and corporate or group events. These are the elements we think are essential to a sustainable food hall.
Additionally, we believe our curation process of food, beverage and entertainment is unique in the marketplace which translates to more traffic, more revenue and allows us to be a more formidable long-term tenant for a landlord.
What are challenges of food halls in Texas?
In my opinion the Texas market is no different for food halls than any other state, so I don’t think there is any unique set of challenges to Texas.
What elements go into a successful food hall?
A successful food hall begins with understanding the goal of the developer and how it aligns with the strategic plan of the food hall operator. This is followed by a collaborative design process to be sure the hall is set up to accomplish the desired goals. Next is execution. A successful food hall requires proper, targeted curation, operational execution, and perpetual marketing that emphasizes the combined product to the consumer.
If we do our job correctly, there is an energy you experience when visiting our food halls that’s hard to match in other concepts.
In what ways do you look strategically at the food hall model to make it more sustainable and profitable?
We take a ‘hands on’ approach to operating the business. From Operations to marketing and everything in between, we have a full team in place managing our food halls, ensuring our customers have a great experience every time they visit.
A big part of that is our curation approach. It’s not just the food offerings but also the beverage program and entertainment. It never stops. What we are seeing from others in the market is a much more hands-off approach. Most aren’t operating their food halls. They act as a master tenant and simply subleasing spaces in their hall.
How do you create an experiential destination?
We combine those five pillars discussed with a 52-week marketing calendar so the venue feels like it is constantly evolving. From the food, to the beverage program to the entertainment lineup, any given week of the year there is something everyone will enjoy. This creates a unique atmosphere in a well-executed food hall. If we do our job correctly, there is an energy you experience when visiting our food halls that’s hard to match in other concepts.