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ACROSS Retail Realestate Magazine

Going global

In my last article, I talked about the need to introduce new operators into our industry, to allow the smaller operators and companies access into the world of shopping centers, and to support them as they grow.


The title was “little people become giants” and it has received an enormous amount of comment and response from colleagues around the world.

ACROSS is an interesting platform for us, especially now that we are “JLL Foodservice Consulting” and not “Coverpoint.” We have been contributing for several years now and every time we publish a new article, it provokes debate, discussion, and dialogue for the world of foodservice in shopping. This is healthy for all concerned and should happen, as we are now living in a world where nobody knows the answers anymore.

The steady and rather unexciting progress that the shopping and leisure industry was making 20 years ago has been turned on its head. New designs, new formats, internet shopping, the “rise of experience,” international operators, expansion, and terrorism, global migration, and a whole host of other things, have made our world much more uncertain and unpredictable. In many ways, this is a good thing. The development of a whole new generation of top class assets and the growing professionalism in our industry is exciting to see, supporting a complete change in how things are done. Those who are holding onto the past, and doing things “the way they have always done” are missing out now and are likely to be left behind, regardless of size and scale.

Expanded work

One of the amazing things about being part of the JLL “family” is the incredible depth and breadth of the resources that are available to the internal teams and to our client base. We have been a proud part of JLL for just over a year and a half now and it is working really well for both parties. Our work has expanded, our geographical area has expanded and with that comes a need to know more about where we are going and what we are doing. This is no different from a retailer or foodservice operator looking at global expansion.

I was reading an amazing piece of research by our colleagues at JLL called “Destination Retail 2016,” which has just been produced and is available to internal colleagues and external clients. In the 65 pages, it talks specifically about Food and Beverage, which in itself speaks volumes about the changing world of retailing, but it also focuses on how retail places have changed, what the top 50 cities around the world are, and what the needs and wants of the retailers who want to be there are. More interesting for me, “Destination Retail 2016” talks about the impact of technology, but also the need for physical stores. The breadth and depth of the report is fascinating and, while I thought I knew retail, I have been amazed at what I don’t know! Life is changing very fast and the perspective on other cities in the report is insightful, useful and a little bit worrying, when you see where the global growth is coming from and likely to lead to.

In many ways that is why we joined JLL. We were stretching out across the world and had only one office at the time, with my team coping with travel, extended stays and nights away from home, as our business went from local, to national, to regional and then to global. The access we now have to over 200 offices, a massive research capability, an army of colleagues around the world and local intelligence is allowing us to develop our services to support and grow with our clients. We are now training teams in Spain, France, Germany, Turkey, and the UK. The combination of the intelligence of documents like “Destination Retail 2016” and our very practical and focused advice, means that global expansion and development is not quite so challenging for the foodservice operators who choose to work with us.

Staggering attention to detail

We recently spent a morning with the team from 5 Guys in the UK, not to talk property or development, but to understand the production, standards, specification, and delivery that happens in each of their stores around the world on a daily basis. The attention to detail was staggering. We had five of our team arrive at Westfield London first thing in the morning, to be treated to a masterclass in the 5 Guys product, service, and mission. We knew why we thought it was so successful and why it delivers way above sector sales per square meter, but when you meet the training team, the people who produce the product, and those who check and validate store operations, it becomes so apparent why all of this had to be right before the brand expanded globally. Without this attention to detail, the brand, and the quality it delivers, would have been lost as expansion happened. There’s no need to worry about that, as visiting one of their restaurants borders on a religious experience! Again, I thought I knew a lot about burgers and fries, but our time with 5 Guys has taken that to a whole new level.

So what is the message this month? Simple really. If you are thinking of “going global” with your brand or operation in foodservice or retail, take as much advice as you can get and share as much as you can about what you do and how you do it. Taking brands into new cities can be a scary thing and leasing to new brands in your shopping center or leisure site can be equally scary. We are all learning and, as the world changes, we will need more of the interaction and knowledge from operators and more from global services companies like JLL. Yes, I am proud to be part of JLL because we are actively doing things to help our clients grow and prosper.

My father, who has been a mentor and inspiration for me all of my life, and who gave my company the “Coverpoint” name through his association with cricket as a brilliant player, said to me very early on in my consulting career: “People don’t know, what they don’t know – help them and you make money.” Fortunately, he was right…


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