10 Things to Look Out for when Viewing Spaces in Malls

First Published: 27 Mar 2021
Last Updated: 27 Mar 2021
Checklist for 10 things to take note of when viewing potential space in a mall

As a first time mall business space owner, viewing spaces in malls to rent can be confusing and often times overwhelming. What should you be looking out for in your potential business space?

Appearance may be Deceiving

Some customers think that shops in MRT stations are high potential spaces for F&B businesses.

The reason they think this way is due to an internal calculation of something like this:

  • If the daily commuters averages 500,000 for this station, there will be a total of 15,000,000 footfalls per month.
  • Of the 15,000,000 footfalls, if you take just 1% you will get 150,000 customers buying from you.
  • If each customer spend $5.00, you will have a total revenue of $750,000 per month.
  • Based on a nett profit of 25% of $750,000 – $187,500 nett profit per month.
  • Conclusion: Wow! This space for my business is definitely viable! 

This is far from the truth. When it comes to footfalls, we like to introduce you to the difference between destination-customer and dynamic-customer. 

As the name implies, dynamic customers are moving customers where they just want to get from point A to point B, and commute to their destination. 

Thus, you will see a lot of MRT crowd are largely dynamic crowd and they will be ‘passing by” your business. 

In fact, you want to avoid dynamic-customers and you will want to have destination-customers. 

Destination-customers are customers who specifically travel to a certain cafe or restaurant. 

One of the classic example is you see swamp of customers walking to Ding Tai Fung and queuing up there. 

Read more: Types of Crowds in Malls

Your List of 10 Things

So you ask yourself why they are doing so well, and how can you do the same? 

This brings us to the important consideration on how you should evaluate a space, broken down to 10 different factors:

  1. First, identify where the escalator is and the direction of the escalator (Although some malls alternate their direction of the escalator from time to time).

    If the space is located right at the entrance of the mall and you are a single-out restaurant (ie. not in the cluster of restaurants), then often, this space will be quiet because consumers like to walk into a clusters of dining choices to compare and decide what to eat.

    This is the reason that, if you notice, malls have a tendency to often mix groups of F&B businesses together. 

  2. Study the space across 3 different timings of the day and over 3 different days in the week. So for example 10am, 12pm and 7pm on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. This will ensure you gather an average feel on the footfall of the space. 
  1. Reducing space on-site. What should you look out for when doing so? You can use a clipboard and create a table with different age-groups and tick against the age-groups when you see customer passing by that fits your criteria. This will create a tally on the age group for the customers in this mall. From there, you will gauge whether these are the audience that will buy your products. 

  2. One of our trade secrets in term of how you can use neighbouring concepts next to the proposed space that you are evaluating is to purchase from the stall and keep the receipt when they open at 10am and buy another item when they about to close at about 10pm.

    From here, look at the difference between the receipt numbers. For example, take the difference between your 10pm number (#1008) and your 10 am number (#0008) – You will find out that they have a total of 1,000 customers for that day. Isn’t that a neat trick?!

  3. The success of your concept lies in the synergy of the concepts around the proposed space. For example, if your are a cut fruits take away kiosk concept, you will want to locate along the clusters of restaurants or cafe.

    The reason is simple – you are an after meal concept. Thus, you wouldn’t want to be in a group of takeaway kiosks with similar concept like yours. Variety is king.

  4. Is my concept a main meal, snack or after meal concept? This is really important but the genre of the mall normally plays a big part to your business success.

    For example Jewel Changi Airport – Consumers travel there to shop and to dine with their family and largely you will realise that destination-restaurants will do well there. Guess what? Take away meals concept will suffer big time because this mall is just not meant for this kind of consumer behaviour. 

  5. Parking space is a very important component to consider. Parking charges also play a big part. You will see a large volume of shoppers driving to the mall with after 6pm per-entry parking charges and also for those malls which you could claim for parking fees when you spend a minimum of say S$50.00 comes with free parking. This will encourages shoppers and hence healthy footfalls. 

  6. Anchor tenants are one of the most important consideration you might think of. For example, Waterway Point main anchor tenant is NTUC Finest and you will see the demographics of consumers in the queue.

    That is the best indication on the target audience for the mall. From there, you can double check with your target audience of your concept and if that resonates with your concept, then the space would be a right fit for you. 

  7. Numbers game – The footfall of the mall plays a big part to your business success. In the end it’s all about numbers. Imagine a footfall of 4,000,000 footfalls per month with high rental versus a footfall of 1,200,000 per month with a lower rental based on the same size space – which one would you choose?  I guess the answer is pretty obvious 

  8. Take over condition – Getting into malls comes with huge initial costs and one of the largest costs is the fitting out costs. Fitting out costs generally comes out to around S$220 per sqft. So imagine for a restaurant of 3,000 sqft, you will be looking to invest S$660,000 in fitting out alone. Thus, for some malls they allow incoming tenant to take over existing condition left by outgoing tenant and improvise from there. Doing so will largely reduce your overall initial outlay. 

We hope that this will provide you with a clear perspective in what to expect if you are exploring a business in the malls and what to look out for!

Big Picture: 11 Steps to Get Your Business into Shopping Malls

If you are wondering how can you get into malls, we have created an infographic below that can help you with your process — Find out more in detail here: 11 Steps to Get Your Business into Shopping Malls.

We Know Malls and Have Your Interest in Mind

Have an idea? Looking to expand? Found a mall you want entering? Let us know and we’ll be pleased to help you! We have a team of real estate relationship managers, business consultants, interior design consultants, marketing consultants, fulfillment consultants, and much more to assist you in any queries you may have.

Getting into a mall requires a process and it starts with your concept. Got a great idea for the mall? Talk to us and we can make it happen for you by recommending suitable malls and spaces for your needs. We know the in and out of Malls and will be with you every step of the way!

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