Food Precincts: The Social Ground of 21st Century
The food and beverage sector in Myanmar is growing rapidly and shows no sign of slowing down. There are new restaurants, bars, cafe, and even food courts opening in Yangon every single week, giving food bloggers, vloggers, and Instagrammers plenty to share with their followers. So why is it that F&B is a one brick and mortar business that continues to get investment when all other traditional businesses are being replaced by online substitutes? While food and beverage precinct helps fuel the modern world of digital era with endless content for millennial to connect with the world, F&B space does something far more powerful. The fact is, F&B space is a common ground that brings people together to meet, greet, and eat together which is something that cannot be experienced via technology—yet. Food and beverage spaces give an opportunity to create human connections and strengthen bonds that goes beyond direct messages and live feeds -something that fast-paced, tech savvy population needs and wants more of.
(Food City at Myanmar Plaza offers an integrated dining precinct for people to enjoy wide variety of food and drinks)
In 2016, Kreate saw an opportunity to develop Food City, the first ever food court which is also the first ever integrated dining space in Myanmar with different restaurant operators coexisting in one place. It is also the first of its kind to integrate technology by using a prepaid card to set a way for a cashless payment system for F&Bs in Myanmar. With changing tides, Yangon is becoming a culture hub, welcoming globetrotters and professionals from all over the world. Thus, creating a need for good variety of food and a space to socialize. People have noticed Food City, appreciated the offering and pricing, and are now visiting it as a ‘food destination’ with friends and family.
(Millennials being introduced to the food court cashless payment system in Myanmar)
Food precincts such as food courts are an example of a space that has achieved human connectivity amidst the hustle and bustle of business district rush hour. Whether you are a consultant taking a quick lunch break before your next meeting or a parent taking your family out for dinner, this place provides a temporary refuge from a stressful day at work or distractions of smartphones for a nice meal by yourself, colleagues, or loved ones.
(Cool pressed juice from Juicetopia at Food City drinks station is made from fresh fruits and vegetables sourced locally)
Although technology cannot replicate the experience of a F&B space, it is a driving force of its success. Without Instagrams, Facebooks and Twitters of the world, food and beverage precincts would not be driving the growth of the F&B franchises and independent brands. This means that whilst a food precinct might be the social ground, it is being pushed along by technology and it should be set up for this. Must try menu items, creative store designs, and unique experience are all things that promote personal sharing of the experience on social media. This generates social following leading to more people visiting, recreating the experience they saw on their screen and sharing once again.
So, as time goes on where majority of the socialization is happening online, it is becoming more and more significant that people are using their experiences at F&B spaces as a time to remove or reduce interaction with the screen and to reconnect face to face.