In Atlanta, restaurants drive retail traffic more than ever

The tenant mix of Atlanta’s shopping centers is leaning more and more towards chef-driven and fast-casual restaurants, said participants at a recent Atlanta Retail Roundtable hosted by Shopping Center Business magazine.

Halpern's president, Bill Brown, participated in the Atlanta Retail Roundtable hosted by Shopping Center Business.

Halpern’s president, Bill Brown, participated in the Atlanta Retail Roundtable hosted by Shopping Center Business.

Bill Brown, president of Halpern Enterprises, participated on the panel along with more than 25 other retail real estate professionals in the Atlanta area. Comments from the roundtable were featured in the October issue of Shopping Center Business.

With more than 85 chef-driven restaurants planned in Atlanta, “restaurants are the new department stores,” said Michael Habif of Habif Properties.

In Halpern’s case, its new Smyrna center, The Shops at Belmont, will feature several restaurants including Creatwood Tavern, the latest dining concept by the owners of Whitehall Tavern, and Cielo Mexican Restaurant.

Besides seeking the ever-popular restaurants, Brown explained that grocery-anchored centers have shifted focus from soft good retailers (such as clothing stores) to service-related tenants (such as nail salons), due to changes in consumer demand.