Conceptional Services

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23/12/2019 Juicy Journal

Thank you 2019, Ready for you 2020!

Every Christmas, we create unforgettable moments to connect with our loved ones and let’s face it, food is always the connecting factor. At Conceptional, we are creating those moments every day of the year. Whether we are developing a new F&B concept or shaping a F&B destination.


Looking back at 2019, our founder and CEO Reoewein Niesten said: “This year was a stepping stone for us in our drift toward internationalisation, specifically focusing on the Asian market where we see a great opportunity for us to develop our services. We are constantly learning and I believe this ability to adapt is what makes us stronger as a company. Because the world of Food and Beverage is changing extremely fast, we, as foodservice consultants, have to be able to cope with these changes”


Every project took us to a different place and we always kept an eye on interesting trends, opened our vision to new food cultures and stayed on top of our three domains of expertise while leading projects internationally. We are now ready to tackle new challenges and expand our services even further.


We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you to all the people we worked with and for, for their trust and collaboration. As 2020 is soon to come, we wanted to open this new decade with some insights on a very dynamic and changing part of our business: F&B placemaking.

Countries Conceptional has worked in.


Where is F&B placemaking going to ?

Due to the rise of online shopping the market is experiencing a drop of retail sales and high-street footfall. That is why ’Placemaking’, the art of reinventing the modern-day town and city by creating vibrant social hubs, has become increasingly important.  Traditional shopping malls, as they were developed for decades, are now being reinvented. They are being turned into mixed-use development projects where retail, leisure,  Food & Beverage, residential spaces and offices are combined into a holistic scheme. This phenomenon is part of a profound change in consumer expectations and shopping habits as well as the emergence of the ‘’experience economy’’. Developers are aiming to turn their locations into destinations, where retail is no longer the only reason for visitors to come.  Doing good is not good enough anymore, and companies need to rethink their perception of a successful development to remain relevant. At Conceptional, we see some major changes in F&B placemaking:




Financial models & 
landlords/operators relations

The real estate model around placemaking evolved from fixed rents to variable concessions environments that allow more flexibility for landlords and operators. In this new configuration, the relationship between landlords and operators is oriented toward cooperation to share a mutual perspective on the future of the place instead of maintaining a unilateral relation. It is not only about the GLA anymore but also about defining the right mix of concepts, the right positioning and pricing to create a coherent offering. The diversity of target groups gathered into one scheme also deserves special attention to be able to cater to every generations’ needs. Food and Beverage is becoming a driving factor to shape this unique mix. Therefore, we see a paradigm shift as operators now benefit from a larger negotiation power with the landlords, who are eager to get the operators’ concepts in their properties to ensure their competitive advantage. Today more than ever, landlords are rethinking their own identity, trying to find their roots. They want to build something authentic that they can own as a place, forming the center of a community by being truly integrated within the environment. Having a vision is a prerequisite to any successful development. It is not uncommon to see landlords developing concepts of their own so they can shape their vision even further and share it with their audience. 




It is part of the idea of an integrated space that it should benefit the environment and that it allows its visitors to relax and take care of themselves. For this reason, green spaces within these projects have become increasingly important to contribute to a pleasant experience.

The developments of places like Aventura ParkSquare are being described as “a city within a city’’. Featuring residences, offices, restaurants and sports clubs, Aventura Parksquare embodies the idea of modern mixed-use property developments around the concept of Live, Work and Play. The focus of these kinds of developments are building communities while enhancing the well-being of their residents.

Aventura Parksquare – Florida 




The integration of technology has changed the world of retail with enhanced visitors experiences like in Hong Kong’s Yoho Mall, where visitors can queue for their favourite restaurants via the mall’s app. This kind of technology does not only make the experience more pleasant for customers, but also increases the time spent in other shops. The customer journey is now integrated, from their physical journey at the location, to their virtual journey before, during and after their visit.


Developers need to be aware that through this virtual journey, F&B operators are in touch with a relevant target audience outside of the location. Developers should thus facilitate extended opening hours to maximize this incremental sales for both parties, driving full profitability of the F&B locations through enabling online ordering services. 


Technology is also making an impact when planning the development of new spaces. The use of heat maps allows developers to think in terms of visitor flows throughout the day and to design spaces according to the way people live, altogether creating more unique, impactful places. The growing impact of data driven business models, allows for the use of customer- and retail analytics to develop a better offering.



Offline communities 

By placing leisure, retail, Food and Beverage, offices and residential areas into one project, developers can create communities that enhance the living experience of residents and users in a significant way. A great example of retailtainment is given by The House of Vans in London where art, music, street culture, fashion and a café all come together to create a unique experience where visitors can spontaneously socialize in a place where they were traditionally limited to shopping. 

The House of Vans – London



Vertical retail

As rent prices in cities are rising, more places  are starting to develop vertically, taking advantage of the heights metropolises offer. To maximise space, rooftops have become entirely integrated into the development of buildings.

An example of this phenomenon is the urban farming rooftops project in the Parisian Marais neighbourhood which will be the largest urban farm in Europe when it opens in 2020. Another example of such maximization of space is  BIG’s  ambitious ski slope project on top of the Amager resource centre in Copenhagen, that opened a whole new vision on placemaking. 

The Amager Resource Centre – Copenhagen


What role does Food & Beverage play in this new configuration?

It is very important for landlords nowadays to develop the right F&B mix and vision. In Europe, the amount of space dedicated to food within existing properties has grown from 5% one decade ago to 10-15% today and is expected to reach 20% in some markets by 2025. It is even higher in Asia, where the strong eating-out culture results in up to 30% of space dedicated to foodservice. It is no accident that we see this trend within the industry. Increased footfall, longer dwell times, higher spending and sales growth are all positive effects that come with the development of foodservice within properties. The power of an appropriate Food and Beverage offering can turn a space into a destination. Furthermore, the growth in the delivery segment is revealing an opportunity for landlords to optimise the profitability of Food and Beverages outlets within their schemes by developing their online delivery activity.


To create a successful ‘destination development’,  authenticity and uniqueness are key when choosing F&B partners that will increase willingness to travel. The success of Foodhalls in Europe demonstrates a growing interest for food destinations. For developers, thinking wisely about how they want to invest in the Food and Beverage offering is a considerable advantage when creating an attractive location where people want to stay and come back. At Conceptional, we work towards creating impact through Food and Beverage. We think of placemaking as a holistic process where every aspect of the scheme is taken into consideration. Our focus is on creating the right mix of F&B concepts, units and square meters while outdoing expectations. When developing a scheme, each concepts’ unique proposition needs to come together to tell a cohesive story while maintaining a healthy mix to sustain a competitive advantage and to reinforce the uniqueness of the place.


Our team spotted some major trends that will shape the near future of Food and Beverage amongst which: story-telling, plant-based/vegan, indulge concepts with iconisation, data driven concepts, themed restaurants, transparency, a rise of young creative chefs, newtro and extremelisation. In a future article, we will go through these trends and provide insights on why we believe they will impact the way we eat.


All these changes leave us wondering: is shopping centre still the appropriate naming for those places we go to to gather, play, eat, work, live and so much more? Are we still talking about consumers, or are we referring to users, visitors, citizens? One thing is certain, the world of Food and Beverages Placemaking is changing, and we are seating in the front row.


In the next edition of the Juicy Journal, we will focus on the pressure that food and beverage concepts and stores are experiencing when they need to grow, and how we can help you monitor your own growth.  In the meantime, we wish you wonderful holidays! If you would like to get in touch with us, feel free to contact Reoewein Niesten at

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