Food courts may be found in shopping malls, airports, and parks. In various regions (such as Asia, America and Africa), it may be a standalone development. In some places of learning such as high schools and universities, food courts have also come to replace or complement traditional cafeterias.
The average cost of a meal per person in an American food court in 2004 was $6.
Typical usage 
Food courts consist of a number of vendors at food stalls or service counters. Meals are ordered at one of the vendors and then carried to a common dining area. The food may also be ordered as takeout for consumption at another location, such as home or work. In this case, it may be packaged in foam food containers. Food courts may also have shops which sell prepared meals for consumers to take home and reheat, making the food court a daily stop for some.
Food is usually eaten with plastic cutlery, and sporks are sometimes used to avoid the necessity of providing both forks and spoons. There are exceptions: Carrefour Laval requires its food court tenants to use solid dinnerware and cutlery which it provides.
Typical North American and European food courts have mostly fast food chains such as McDonald's and Sbarro, with perhaps a few smaller private vendors. Cuisines and choices are varied, with larger food courts offering more global choices. Asian and African food courts are mostly private vendors that offer local cuisine. In Singapore, food courts and hawker centres are the people's main eating choice when dining out.
The second-floor food court at the Paramus Park shopping mall in New Jersey, which opened in March 1974, has been credited as the first successful shopping mall food court. Built by The Rouse Company, one of the leading mall building companies of the time, it followed an unsuccessful attempt at the Plymouth Meeting Mall in 1971, which reportedly failed because it was "deemed too small and insufficiently varied."
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- Stamford University Food Court
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- "CARREFOUR LAVAL REINVENTS THE SHOPPING CENTER FOOD EXPERIENCE WITH ITS NEW DINING TERRACE" 4 November 2009
- Food & leisure - Eating in Singapore, famous Singapore food
- "Rouse Left Mark On Malls, Not Just His Own". Shopping Centers Today (International Council of Shopping Centers). May 2004. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
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