World Famous Las Vegas Nevada. Vegas Strip Entrance Sign in 80s Vintage Color Grading. United States of America.

I just returned from the National Restaurant Association Financial Officers and Tax Executives Conference in Las Vegas. I participated on a Real Estate Leasing Trends panel with Adam Schwegman, head of the eat/drink department of General Growth Properties and George Galloway of Next Realty Mid-Atlantic, with Ryan Cupersmith of Ernst & Young as our moderator. While there, I was able to soak in some knowledge myself. Here are some of the highlights of what I learned:

  1. Restaurants may be the new anchor in retail developments. A center has to provide an “experience” to motivate consumers to shop at the center as opposed to sitting home and buying over the internet. Restaurants have become a great way to create an experience and draw customers in.
  1. Restaurants are immune to internet competition. Last time I checked, you can’t buy a prepared meal over the internet that comes with a server and clean-up crew, so restaurants appear to be safe from internet competition, at least for now.
  1. GGP has a separate eat/drink department dedicated to restaurants. As head of that department, you would have to spend a lot of time trying new restaurants, right? Now that sounds like an ideal job.
  1. The mobile food app is the new critical feature for the fast casual sector.
  1. While most people agree that there is simply too much retail space, it may be more accurate to say there is too much antiquated retail space.
  1. The new accounting guidelines regarding capitalized vs. operating leases will not have any impact on most retail tenants.
  1. There’s a lot of great restaurants in Las Vegas. To confirm this, I ate at the Hot & Juicy Crawfish The hot & juicy sauce on my shrimp dish was unbelievably good and addictive. Additionally I had tremendous sushi at the Aria.
  1. Many tenants are paying too much for their legal representation on leases. Several people in the audience seemed to like the fixed-fee arrangements we provide, and the other tips I shared on how tenants can reduce their legal spend on leases were well-received.

If you would like to know more, give me a call and we can grab lunch. I know this great shopping center that has a wonderful restaurant right in the center of the action.