CBL malls host 'Food Court Wars'

CBL malls host 'Food Court Wars'

August 8th, 2013 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

The headquarters of CBL and Associates is located next to Hamilton Place Mall in East Brainerd.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

TO WATCH:

Food Channel, Sunday, 7 p.m.

CBL and Associates Properties Inc. officials have seen a lot go on at their myriad of malls over the years, but a “food war”?

A half dozen of the Chattanooga-based shopping center company’s malls are serving as battle sites in the Food Networks’ “Food Court Wars” series, which ends Sunday.

“I think the shows are fun,” said Mary Lynn Morse, CBL’s senior director of mall marketing. “It has been a neat process to watch.”

In the episodes, two teams compete against each other for the chance to open a restaurant — rent-free — for a year at a CBL mall. The teams must create a food court concept in 48 hours and then outsell their competitor in a single day of business at a mall.

On Sunday, the winner will be revealed, according to Food Network.

“The teams competing are all true restaurateurs, testing their culinary skills and business acumen,” said Allison Page, senior vice president of programming for Food Network, in a statement. “They have put everything on the line to fulfill their dream.”

Morse said the series’ production company called CBL, one of the nation’s biggest mall operators, and asked if it was interested in taking part in the program, which began July 7.

“It offers our malls some added exposure,” she said about the series hosted by Tyler Florence.

Morse said the episodes have revealed some interesting food concepts not typically found in CBL malls, such as Jamaican food or homemade flavored potato chips served on the main course rather than on the side.

CBL is willing to take a look at participating again in the series if it’s renewed, she said.

Food Court Wars traveled to malls in Spartanburg, S.C.; Wausau, Wis.; Midland, Mich.; Burnsville, Minn.; and Charleston, S.C., and Meridian, Miss.

Food Network is distributed to more than 100 million U.S. households and averages more than 9.9 million unique web users monthly, according to the company.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.