10 questions on Foodservice in Shopping Centres to Jonathan Doughty, JLL

Jonathan Doughty, Head of EMEA Foodservice at JLL, was speaking at the “Restaurant Real Estate Congress 2016” in Berlin about Shopping Centres, the new “social places”. kplus konzept as event partner was on the spot and took the opportunity to interview the industry expert about the future of foodservice and his culinary preferences…

What is your favourite food?

J.D. I love the food of Asia and the Pacific Rim countries. Thailand, China, Japan, Korea and places like that. If it is exciting, fresh and quick to cook.

k+ What is the future of food in Shopping Centres?

J.D. I think it will be very positive, as long as the owners of the shopping malls start designing great food places, not just functional spaces.

k+ How do they do that?

J.D. It is not that hard. I always say “imagine you are not in a shopping centre” and then do what you would normally do. I don’t understand why shopping centre owners feel they have to make food spaces so boring. The high street isn’t, the town squares and city centres are not around the world, so let the designers be creative.

k+ Is food getting better in shopping centres?

J.D. Yes it is – without doubt and we are also building “great places to be” as well as just putting in food. In the German market especially, the guest is now understanding that some centres have functional food and others provide really nice places to eat and drink. They are now completing with the best of the town and city centres.

k+ Sweet or Savoury Food?

J.D. What a difficult question! I love meat, especially if it is cooked “low and slow” like BBQ or smoking, but I am also addicted to Ice Cream. I think I should have lived in America, but I would be even bigger than I am now!

k+ What is the next big thing?

J.D. I think that the foods from the emerging countries that currently have real troubles will be amazing for the rest of the world. The food of Iran (Persian) is incredible and I am sure that this along with Syrian, Palestinian and North African will be a “game changer” for our industry.

k+ How did you vote at Brexit?

J.D. I am proud of being a European, and have always considered myself to be European, not English. I voted to stay in and it was a very sad day for me when we voted to exit. I am a huge fan of our new Prime Minister, Theresa May, and think that things will work out ok in the end. I want to still come to Europe!

k+ Beer or Wine?

J.D. The simple answer is… both. I can’t imagine a world without either. My gorgeous wife is Czech and they make some of the best beer in the world. I am also a massive fan of wine, especially classical French, which goes back to my time in hotels!

k+ Is great design important?

J.D. Yes it is, of course, but it cannot be used as a “medicine” for poor operations or planning. Great design needs to compliment a great operation, not replace it. I always think like a car. A brilliant engine and chassis also needs to have a stunning body and plenty of curves!

k+ What makes a great shop fitter and design company?

J.D. I knew you were going to ask me that! I guess, for me, it is all about collaboration and the ability to work with other people. Your business has to understand what all the team want from a project and deliver it, without being too pushy. Listening, taking the time to talk and being flexible are all important. Overall, I think the best businesses are those that know the points that are important and worth fighting for!