Cool Street Cantinas
The Millennial embrace of experiences over
material goods is clearly visible in the sheer
volume of restaurant activity driving the
Cool Street phenomenon. In roughly half of
the markets that we surveyed and included
in our Top 100 Cool Streets, restaurant
businesses outnumbered actual retail
businesses (not including service retailers)
by a ratio of 2:1. Some of the neighborhoods
in our survey have yet to develop a
significant retailer presence and are
essentially foodie clusters. Craft brewing
such as Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati or
North Park in San Diego has been the
driving force behind the renaissance of a
number of the Cool Streets on our survey.
We see fine dining as central to the
rejuvenation of New Orleans’ Warehouse
District, while taqueria and authentic
Mexican food appears a driving force in
virtually every Cool Street market.
Cool Street neighborhoods are pretty
democratic when it comes to food; from
food trucks gone bricks-and-mortar to fast
casual chains and the highest-end chef-
driven concepts, growth has come from all
directions. While this reflects the greater
trend of growth taking place throughout the
entire retail world, it is yet another trend
largely driven by the Millennial consumer.
According to the latest data released by the
U.S. Commerce Department (May 2016),
sales at food and drinking places accounted
for 12% of all retail sales. This is the highest
level recorded in the 30 years this metric
has been tracked. From 1992 to 2010, this
metric averaged just 9.7%.
Cheap gas prices are playing a role in this,
but it is important to note that even in past
boom periods this number only infrequently
climbed above the 11.0% threshold.
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census
THE COOL STREETS OF NORTH AMERICA
Americans are spending more of their retail dollars
eating out than ever before and evidence suggests
Millennials are at the forefront of that trend.
CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD