These Enormous New Food Courts From China Could Soon Be Coming To American Malls

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Photo: By HerryLawford on Flickr

The next food court service innovation in the U.S. could come from China, reports Carolyn Surh at QSR Magazine.Food courts in China aren’t like they are in the U.S. The ubiquitous American food court is filled with the same brands — a couple fast food joints, perhaps a Chinese spot. a Cinnabon, and of course, a Sbarro’s.

In fact, Chinese food courts are often the “primary draw” for malls, whereas in the U.S., only 7 per cent of customers go to a mall specifically for the food court.

What’s different about these Chinese food courts?

They’re usually much bigger than the ones in the U.S. 

For instance, one of Shanghai’s newest food courts has 11 full-service restaurants, 24 fast food stalls, 11 snack stalls and a whopping 66,700 square feet of dining space, seating 1,000. The typical American food court is a mere 15,000 square feet, with 15 stalls.

They’re also not uniform. They range from the familiar little stands to entire luxury, full-service food courts. It’s because China isn’t one contiguous market, and there are varying tastes everywhere.

“The variety and move toward more upscale food courts, many believe, could give U.S. restaurants a glimpse of things to come state-side,” writes Surh.

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