Waterfront's food market to shut next week - with a new UK-owned format taking its place

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The Time Out Market will replace the current V&A Food Market.
The Time Out Market will replace the current V&A Food Market.
V&A Waterfront
  • The V&A Food Market in the Waterfront in Cape Town will be closing next week. 
  • In its place will come a Time Out Market, which is owned by a UK-based group.
  • Only three of the 40 tenants of the V&A Food Market have so far been accommodated in the Waterfront.
  • For more financial news, go to the News24 Business front page.

The V&A Food Market in the Waterfront in Cape Town will close its doors next week - and will be replaced later this year by a new food hall format owned by Time Out, a UK-headquartered group famous for its magazines.

The new Time Out Market will be located in the 27 000m² space, which will be fitted with 14 kitchens, four bars, and a stage.

There are currently more than 40 tenants in the V&A Food Market, who sell a wide range of foods. So far, the V&A Waterfront has been able to house three of the current Food Market tenants, namely Knysna Oyster Co, 7 Colours Eatery, and Royal Tea elsewhere in the shopping area.

Selwyn Roberts, who sells Hyppolitas artisanal chocolate products at the market, says the news of its closure came unexpectedly in October last year. In November, the vendors were informed that the market would close in January. The last day of trade will be on the 26th.

"I feel disappointed, especially since the new market will be run by an overseas company. The whole point of the current market was to be proudly South African," says Roberts.

He said turnover at the market seemed to be good and picking up following the pandemic. He has since opened a retail space in Canal Walk.

"It is disheartening. Some vendors were not able to make a move to a new venue," says Roberts.

"[The closure of the market] is leaving some people devastated and without jobs, including three of my staff members," another vendor, who spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity, said. She said it is especially hard to have to close during the peak summer season, which is traditionally a busy trading period for vendors.

She has one other shop in Cape Town and tried to find an alternative spot at the Waterfront or surroundings but there was nothing available.

"We have had applications from the majority of the tenants in the Food Market and now have most of them on our waiting list should something appropriate come up. Unfortunately, when we did have space, tenants were not interested in places offered to some - such as at the Clock Tower - and now we are fully let," says Donald Kau, the spokesperson of the V&A Waterfront.

"The vast majority of the remaining tenants currently have alternative premises that they or their brand trades from, so this is also not their only income source."

Kau says Time Out Market will be responsible for curating the food market and managing the space under a contract agreement. New vendors have to be independent operators - no chain restaurants. Time Out will select and curate their food offering.

The first Time Out magazine launched in London in 1968, offering a guide to the best art and entertainment, food and drink, attractions and hotels in the city. 

Time Out now has a presence in 333 cities in 59 countries.

The first Time Out Market opened in 2014 in Lisbon. Time Out Markets in major cities in North America, the Middle East, and Europe followed. The markets aims to represent the best food, drink and culture in a city.

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