Market Halls CEO Andy Lewis-Pratt has no plans to introduce competitive socialising into his venues, saying of the food hall model, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

He said despite the success of experiential concepts like Flight Club, he had no plans to anchor future Market Halls with such a brand, at least not for the next few years.

Speaking at MCA and Restaurant magazine’s Generation Next event, Lewis-Pratt told delegates that 22-40 was the biggest demographic age group visiting Market Halls venues, while West End had seen regular shoppers visit for the first time. 

He said analysis had shown the principal reason the appeal of the business, beyond the quality of the food, was the vibe.

The former X-scape boss said no operator had left against their will, and cited the example of Flank, which revaluated its offering after a disappointing start at Victoria, explaining that the profit-sharing model made it mutually beneficial for the landlord and tenant to find a route to success.

Addressing early stage operators, Lewis-Pratt said: “Market halls works because we create a vibe. Our private equity backer did a massive amount of work on customer satisfaction, and it was the vibe we created that people liked most.

“People are talking, smiling, happy, interacting properly, not on their phones. That’s what makes a great food hall.”

He said after chef-led Flank started off “too purist”, the menu was simplified after two weeks, with turnover tripling overnight.

Market Halls has around 300 operators on its list of people who want to come in.

He said liked the three or four ‘favourites’, operators which are resident in multiple Market Halls venues, to anchors in his previous career in shopping centres.