After four years of proving the model in Lisbon, Portugal, media-and-entertainment company Time Out Group PLC is scheduled to begin rolling out food halls across the U.S. early next year.
First up: Time Out Market Miami, expected to open in early 2019, where the group is developing a 17,500-square-foot food hall in Miami Beach that will include 17 outlets from famed local chefs, including Jeremy Ford of Stubborn Seed; Michael Beltran of Ariete; and Alberto Cabrera of the former Bread + Butter and Little Bread.
Later in 2019, Time Out plans to open locally curated food halls in New York, Boston, Chicago and Montreal.
Time Out’s first and only existing food hall in Lisbon is often cited as an example of how food halls can become a destination. The Lisbon market — which at roughly 70,000-square-feet is much larger than the planned Miami site — had 3.6 million visitors in 2017, and 1.9 million in the first half of 2018 alone, an increase of 12 percent year over year, said Didier Souillat, Time Out Market CEO.
Revenues for the first half of 2018 at Time Out Market Lisbon were also up 50 percent year over year, he said, reporting adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, for the period of 1.6 million pounds, in British sterling, or roughly $2.1 million according to current conversion rates.
“It took us four years from the opening of Lisbon to understand how to get it working better and to prepare it for global expansion,” Souillat said, saying the group plans to grow the food hall concept around the world. “But we have to explore the U.S. first.”
Since Time Out opened the market in Lisbon, however, the food hall craze has rapidly spread in the U.S., with other prominent restaurant operators also multiplying similar formats in cities across the country, including Front Burner Restaurants, and Michael Mina’s Mina Group.
What makes Time Out Markets different, however, is the connection with the namesake media company, which publishes dining-and-entertainment guides in 108 cities in 39 countries and claims a monthly audience reach of 217 million.
The editors of the guides in each city will have input in selecting vendors that will go into the Time Out Markets so “best players” that represent the local dining scene are selected, said Souillat.
Those chef-restaurateurs are invited to open an outlet in the food hall for one year, which is renewable, in exchange for a percentage of sales.
“We actually make the deals with the chefs very simple, where we ask them to come in with an order taker, a couple of chefs, pots and pans and six or eight items for the menu that represents them well,” said Souillat. “We take care of everything else.”
That includes the promotional power of the Time Out editorial staff in each market. There is minimal Time Out coverage in Boston, currently, but the company is ramping up there in conjunction with the food hall, Souillat said.
“What we tell our chefs is that everybody is busy on Friday and Saturday,” said Souillat. “What we can do is make everybody busy on Monday lunch.”
Not all vendors for Time Out Miami have been finalized, but the chefs and restaurateurs that have signed on so far include:
· Ford, who is planning a Korean concept that might include dishes like “Krun-chi Chicken,” a fried chicken sandwich with kimchi and a buttery furikake-dusted potato roll.
· Beltran is planning a wood-burning concept called Leña with a menu that will include smoked short rib with grilled escarole; smoked half chicken with grilled fennel and orange; and shareable dishes on weekends.
· Cuban chef Cabrera will open The Local Cuban, offering dishes from his childhood, including media noche croquetas.
· Multiconcept operator Matt Kuscher will bring his Kush concept to the food hall. The original Kush features decadent burgers and an extensive craft beer lineup.
· Also from Kuscher will be an outlet of his Stephen’s Delicatessen, Miami’s oldest deli, which he took over in 2017.
· Coyo Taco, a taqueria created by Alan Drummond and Sven Vogtland with chef Scott Linquist will feature tacos with made-to-order tortillas.
· 33 Kitchen, a Peruvian restaurant owned by Sebastian Fernandez will offer dishes like tuna tiradito, ceviche de corvina and crispy octopus.
· The barbecue concept Miami Smokers will debut a Charcuterie Bar by Andres Barrientos and James Bowers.
The Miami food hall will also have three bar outlets, as well as a demonstration kitchen and an art gallery space. Souillat said the average check for food will be around $20.
The market will be cashless and food will be served on “proper china,” with glassware and silverware, he said.
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