Food Courts

Can someone explain to me the purpose behind a “food court”?
While shopping you used to be able to stop between stores and grab a quick bite/drink and then continue on with your shopping.
Now you need to finish your shopping, or bypass stores that you would have otherwise browsed through, to go to one secluded section of the mall and then struggle through too many selections of what to order. You get so frustrated that your shopping trip is “done”.
From a retail point of view this seems rather stupid. Most retailers understand the importance of “impulse buys” – the little displays that you find as you are headed towards the checkout. In a mall entire stores become those “impulse displays” but as you are racing to get to the food court you ignore them completely!
And then they wonder why malls are failing. . .