Trinity Leeds’ ABC of F&B

Published:  25 October, 2013

Land Securities’ Trinity Kitchen in Leeds has set new standards for shopping centre catering

Seven months after opening Trinity Leeds, Land Securities has unveiled the centre’s new dining concept, Trinity Kitchen, a new take on the traditional food court which stands as a shining example of the way catering can be done in shopping centres. Could it mark a step-change in the industry’s approach to F&B?

The 20,000-sq ft food hall features seven permanent restaurants representing a range of emerging catering brands, and five street food vendors which will change every four weeks – a feat that involves transporting the vans and stalls up to the first floor of the centre from the outside of the building using a bespoke lift.

Vietnamese noodle bar Pho Café, Chicage Rib Shack, PizzaLux, 360 Champagne & Cocktails, Notes Café, burrito vendor Tortilla and Chip + Fish make up the long-term leases – all are new to Leeds and, for the majority, it is their first venture outside London. And the first five street food concepts include a vintage tea and cake shed, New York-style hot dogs, a Piaggio van offering traditional foccacia and wraps and Indian snack stall Manjit’s Kitchen.

Trinity Kitchen was a late change to the design, envisioned only once the centre was under construction, and project management director Andrew Dudley admits it has been a challenge. But he’s adamant the decision to increase Trinity’s catering offer from 13 to 24 per cent was the right one, and he is delighted with what it achieved.

“Two and a half years ago we started to talk about our vision of a food hall – something truly special that would bring a greater mix of food to Leeds and an edgy, urban environment into a UK shopping centre for the first time. The fantastic food brands have helped us on this journey and all operators absolutely understood and joined us on this vision.

“We could see the way the world was going with regard to food retail, we’d signed up great restaurant brands for Trinity Leeds but we had far more demand than we could accommodate,” he explains. “We saw the opportunity to do something with this space and to move beyond anything that’s been done in a UK shopping centre before.”

Land Securities recruited Richard Johnson, founder of the British Street Food Awards, to help develop the concept and bring in the best of street food from around the UK. Vending positions are booked up for the next six months.

“People like sharing plates now.” says Johnson, “it’s not about going out for a meal and having a starter, main and dessert – those days are gone. It’s becoming more about spontaneous eating opportunities, and Trinity Kitchen fits the bill, mixing edgy restaurants with the individuality that comes from street food vendors, bolted onto the side.

“It’s completely authentic. What we have here are modern food heroes showcasing wonderful artisan produce and doing the best they can do.”

Interior design specialist Fusion has combined warehouse and street alley styling. Intended to be a social eating space, it has the flexibility to provide intimate seating areas alongside spaces for live entertainment and events.

“Trinity Kitchen is an assault on your senses; there’s graffiti, patterned tiles and something like 25 different types of furniture. Where else would you see exposed wires and cables as part of the design?” asks Dudley.

Trinity Kitchen also features a giant touchscreen with a number of interactive functions from food related games to a live music playlist. And visitors can display and share their images and tweets by tagging #TrinityKitchen.

“We’ve heard our competitors are saying this is the best idea in food retail for the last however many years. There are a lot of people keeping an eye on us – some may try to copy us but delivering something as authentic as this will be tricky. We’ll have to wait and see,” concludes Dudley.


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