The 21st century has witnessed the arrival of a new concept in the food and beverages industry – that of a Food Hall. What is a food hall? The concept is young yet to have been conclusively defined but experientially, food halls have to do with a sense of diversity, localness and community. You will find artisanal restaurants, food-oriented boutiques and sometimes even handmade crafts shops, all under one roof.
The advent and subsequent success of a food hall has been underscored by the emergence of the experience economy, where economic value is created through transformational power of experiences (Pine and Gilmore, 1998). Food halls tap into the very values that underlie the experience economy: personalization, communality, locality and ethical consumerism. This is one – and the primary – explanation for why both Europe and the Americas has seen a fast growth the number of food halls.
Food halls have emerged as a buzzword in Georgia; however, while no stranger to food hubs and clusters, Tbilisi has yet to become home to a proper food hall. What are the key drivers of the food hall industry, which food halls have acquired a cult following and where does Tbilisi stand in relation to this 21st century phenomenon?