South Florida Counties Beyond Miami to Become Prime Spots for Retail
Published Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Restaurant growth in South Florida is spreading north beyond the cultural capital of Miami.

While Miami will remain a global restaurant powerhouse, more residents and jobs are helping Broward and Palm Beach counties become prime destinations for new eateries, according to a recent report from CBRE Group. Retail landlords in the two counties plan to add food and beverage businesses as a larger share of the total occupancy, the report noted.

In the past year, Fort Lauderdale in Broward County has led all of South Florida with nearly 14,000 new office-using jobs, according to CBRE. What’s more, the population of young professionals under age 30 rose 4.8% between 2012 and 2017, far above the national average gain of 2.5%.

“Fort Lauderdale is no longer just the city between Palm Beach and Miami. Quietly, a population drive is occurring,” the report reads. “Growth in the number of young adults within the labor pool will bring restaurants that wish to establish a strong local brand presence to Fort Lauderdale and to other cities within Broward County.”

Meanwhile, Palm Beach County is smaller than Broward and Miami-Dade, but its restaurant spending is strong because of higher household incomes and home values that allow restaurants to be less reliant on seasonal business, according to CBRE.

“Decades of New York to Palm Beach migration have brought significant wealth to the area,” the report reads. “This migration comes in the forms of people and firms, as favorable tax policies of Florida remain in place.”

Richard Lackey, a restaurant consultant based in Palm Beach County, agrees that Palm Beach and Broward counties are becoming more sophisticated food-service markets.

In many cases, operators from the nation’s biggest restaurant markets of New York, Boston and Chicago are surprised to find as good or better business in Palm Beach and Broward for a fraction of the cost, according to Lackey.

“When they open down here, they pay much less rent, but the profit is as high or higher, and that’s what they want,” he said in an interview. “It’s not the volume that counts, but the return on investment.”

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