Following a major redesign, the Wintergarden reopened last week with a number of new operators taking up residence in the expanded site.
Giraffe, the family-friendly restaurant chain founded by Russel and Juliet Joffe and Andrew Jacobs, has taken up the new, custom-built 3,700sq.ft restaurant space overlooking a lake and play area.
Six brands have taken up tenancies at the Dartmouth shopping centre for the first time - Wasabi, Tortilla, Square Pie, Indi-Go, Lola's Cupcakes and Tossed are all now open in the relaunched Wintergarden.
Lend Lease, Bluewater's owner, revealed the Leslie Jones-designed refurb had increased the number of covers in the area by 50 per cent to more than 1,000.
Following The Wintergarden reopening and the November 2011 launch of The Plaza, home to Wahaca and Jamie's Italian, Bluewater now hosts 14,500sq.ft of space dedicated to dining.
Catering sales in the centre’s 50-plus bars and restaurants increased by more than 20 per cent last month from a year ago.
"Shopping is a leisure pursuit, which makes it a social one," Russell Loveland, senior asset manager at Lend Lease, said. "The ability to spend time with friends and family, without compromising on location or choice of food, is therefore vital.
"The redevelopment of the Wintergarden reflects this growing trend by delivering social dining on a scale never before seen in the UK, led by a fantastic line-up of brands.
"It is a very exciting concept, and one that readily integrates with social media and in-mall technology."
As BigHospitality reported earlier this year, expanding and emerging restaurant concepts are now increasingly turning to shopping centre developments as must-have locations for their growth plans.
The reopening of the Wintergarden comes in the same month it has been announced restaurant operators are being sought for a new one million sq.ft shopping centre development at the Redditch Kingfisher centre.
Following Capital & Regional’s acquisition of the centre in May, the Kingfisher centre is currently undergoing plans which will see a refurb of its mall and the introduction of a family dining area.
Property firm Davis Coffer Lyons is now seeking operators for four new restaurant units below the cinema, from 3,200 to 7,500sq.ft in size, available to let from 2013.