The trend for pop-ups or “restaurants without tenants” in Thailand’s Bangkok is giving shopping malls in the central business district and main streets in the suburbs a new lease of life.
The Mall Group, one of Thailand’s largest mall operators, recently introduced pop-up kitchens around its supermarkets. Patrons can buy fresh produce and ask for it to be cooked at these kitchens. Seating is limited at these pop-up restaurants but this food fad has caught on and it isn’t surprising to find queues forming at these new eateries, according to Siwanart Srisomsup, Retail Manager at JLL Bangkok
Another trend that is transforming the food-street culture of Bangkok is that of the mobile food truck. Summer Street, which serves grilled seafood and Daniel Thaiger’s burger truck are names that have gained a following. Potential patrons keep track of opening hours and the location of these trucks on social media platforms – an indication that the digital age has fundamentally changed the way people dine and socialize.
These F&B (food and beverage) developments have given some of Thailand’s malls and retail streets a revival. In Asia, up to 30 percent of retail space is typically allocated to food and beverage outlets. This adds diversity and vitality to the shopping experience and boost dwell time at malls.
The mobility of these pop-ups and food trucks mean that any empty spaces could be easily converted to food halls and indoor markets, helping to breath new life into some times derelict but architecturally exciting space, such as former factories, warehouses, office buildings and market places, according to Srisomsup.
In Bangkok, mall operators have used car-park spaces to host food and culture festivals. Boosted by rising income levels and an insatiable demand for fresh culinary experiences, these food halls have become very popular.