CitySession: Eat the City

Date & Time
Second Floor Bar and Brasserie, Harvey Nichols

Food, drink and hospitality; the driving forces of a new kind of urban renewal.

It would have been all too easy to give up on our towns and cities. With the ‘click and collect’ culture cutting through the hamstrings of traditional retail, many thought the high street was dead. Experience, however, tells us a different story…

People are still making their way down the high street, looking for something different. We’re still putting on our best bib and tucker to make a day of it. All over Britain – and the world – we’re still heading into our towns and cities, and the key? Food and drink. We’re flocking to our urban centres in search of an experiential blast of gastronomic pleasure. We’re coupling it up with some amazing retail, a gig and a show or two, but food, and drinking, is now the vital ingredient.

CityCo and the Heart of Manchester BID will host a lively panel debate to discuss how a symbiotic relationship between retail and Food & Beverage (F&B) can help to reinvigorate our city centres. 

We’ll feature inspiring speakers from the city, retail, academia and the F&B industry who’ll discuss how disruptive digital technologies and the fundamental changes in retail logistics are changing our shopping habits and having an impact on our high streets. We’ll also be looking to the future and asking how leveraging a multimodal shopping experience can make our cities vibrant, dynamic and resilient spaces.

Eat out and prosper

In Manchester’s retail heart, the resurgence of food and beverage, has been a considerable force in our improved prospects for prosperity, overseen by a food-friendly team steering Manchester’s Business Improvement District.

In the ‘shoulder hours’ from 5pm to 8pm we’ve seen city centre footfall growing on average by 3% each year, above the national average. In the last 12 months that growth has been even more pronounced, with a 6% growth in footfall after work compared to the year before; a phenomenal result given that a few years ago there would be a wholesale depopulation of the city centre after the peal of the factory whistle.

The Corn Exchange has seen a £30 million makeover to become foodie central, Manchester Arndale is introducing more ‘casual dining’ and King Street has had retail units converted into eateries – so where there once was cashmere, sweaters and silk you’ll find tapas and tabbouleh and where once stood banks, you’ll now find pizza and pasta.

Please see below for our panel.


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