Full-service evolution breaks food hall mold. The whole notion of a food hall revolves around it being limited service. Customers walk in, choose an appealing concept, order, pay and find a seat or take food to go. Developer Jamal Wilson intends to break that mold.
The Hall on Franklin in Tampa, Fla., is a full-service food hall. Diners take one of the 200 seats in the 8,000-square-foot space and a tablet-bearing server comes by to take their orders from any combination of the seven vendors under the same roof. A four-top, for example, can order from multiple concepts and can place new orders throughout the meal.
Check averages are running from $27 to $32, Wilson says, as customers take advantage of ordering several items, as well as shareable appetizers, for their meal. The average ticket includes items from three separate vendors, he says.
Depending on volume, the Hall on Franklin has seven to 14 servers on the floor during service. Labor costs are split among the vendors—each pays $137 a day. “There was a lot of hesitancy (among vendors),” says Wilson. “But I was really firm that this will separate us from other endeavors.”
In addition to sharing the labor costs, the vendors split other costs such as napkins, toilet paper and cleaning supplies. The hall is a partner through it all, maintaining control of the bar and the coffee operation.
A hefty reliance on technology helps manage the different guest requests. Servers can see, via their tablets, whether one of the concepts has run out of a certain item. And they can gauge how long it will take them to produce each dish.
At first, Wilson says, he had a hard time convincing restaurant operators to open in the hall. Now, “We have a waiting list.”
“We had to educate the community on what it is. We’re so different from a normal food hall.”
—Jamal Wilson, The Hall on Franklin