Running a Restaurant/Food Court Leasing


Hello David:  I have a food concept that I am looking to execute in different food courts and airports starting out in the New York region. I have been in talks with several leasing offices but still cannot find a ball park number of how much rent and expenses food courts charge. I have also been looking into opening locations in cities like Manhattan. My question is are rents as high as a city like Manhattan for food courts or much less than that? For example- a 1000 sq ft restaurant with a 1000 sq ft basement can run anywhere from 6k to 7k a month in Manhattan. Are food courts this high? Thanks.


Hi Nik,

We have had experience with a lot of food courts although none were in NYC.  As an independent operator, you should expect to pay between $8000 and $10,000 per month in rent and cam for a food court space.  I know this is not what you wanted to hear, but it is most likely what you will encounter in a "Class A" mall.  We have connections with Simon and with General Growth Properties (two of the largest mall operators in the USA) and have negotiated leases for our food court clients in the past.

Something you should consider though is that with a good concept, your annual sales can exceed $1000 per square foot.  We developed a concept many years ago in Raleigh, NC that was able to reach nearly $1400 per square foot in sales.  So there is a trade-off.  High rent, but potentially high sales volumes and very little advertising dollars that you will need to spend if you are in a prominent food court position in a strong shopping center.

If you would like to bounce your concept off of us, feel free to email me and arrange a time to talk.  No fee, no pressure, no obligation.  We can be a good sounding board for you and possibly be a resource to help you develop and market your concept.

My email address is:  I look forward to visiting with you.

David Foster
Foster and Associates
(417) 877-0428 (office)
(417) 849-1903 (cell)

Running a Restaurant

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David Foster


We have been in the restaurant industry for over 40 years and consult with restaurants, casinos, food court concepts, bars and hotels nationwide. We love helping restaurant operators succeed and can answer any questions related to restaurant start-ups, business plans, operations, labor costs, food costs, liquor costs, employee turnover, marketing, operational improvements, franchising etc.


I am a seasoned foodservice veteran with nearly 50 years experience in the industry. My extensive background includes overseeing multi-unit, multi-concept restaurant operations ranging from cafeterias to fine dining, and everything in between. I have a strong hands-on operations and marketing background that give me a unique insight into the “Real World” challenges of the restaurant industry. I have extensive concept development, menu and recipe development and kitchen layout and design expertise. I am effective in analyzing operational needs and identifying practical solutions in today’s very dynamic foodservice environment. In the industry, I am respected by my peers and have served on the Board of Directors of the Missouri Restaurant Association and have been a featured speaker on the subject of Home Meal Replacement at various national events. I also served on the Culinary Advisory Board of the Ozark Technical College as well as serving on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Ozarks.

Member of the National Restaurant Association, Past Board Member of the Missouri Restaurant Association, Past Board Member of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Ozarks

The Consultant, Seasoned Views (a trade magazine for the restaurant industry, QSR - a publication dedicated to quick serve and fast casual concepts.

Attended Drury University, Springfield, MO, Varsity Management, SRI

Awards and Honors
I have had restaurant projects featured in The Consultant (a magazine for foodservice consultants with worldwide circulation). I was honored for achieving the highest level of management competence by the Selection Research Institute.

Past/Present Clients
Sugar Creek Casino, Classic Rock Coffee Company, Mark Twain Brewing Company, Springfield Brewing Company, Bruegger's Bagels, M&M Grill, Paco Joe's, Holiday Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Buffalo Run Casino, Golden Corral Corporation, Crosswinds Café, Chinese Chef, Mr. Dunderbak's Old World Market & Café, Bullfeather’s Wings and Grille, Mainstreet Market, Bear Rock Café, Cartoon's Oyster Bar & Grill, T's Redneck Roadhouse, Jim's Steakhouse, Neighbor's Mill Bakery & Café, Crazy Vine, San Francisco Oven, Maria's Mexican Restaurant, Andy's Frozen Custard, The Granite Club, Umi Japanese Steak, Seafood and Sushi, Springfield Grocer Company, US Foodservice, Premium Standard Farms, Smithfield, Dakota Organic, Kraft Foods, Allens, Inc.

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