Airport Business

MAY 2017

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COVER STORY 26 airportbusiness May 2017 Chicago has 77 neighborhoods that are home to diverse cuisines, said Green. "And we want passengers to have a taste of our cuisine and hopefully entice them to come back as tourists," she said. "Plus local concepts are important to our bottom line because they are well received and bring in money." For example, the Wolfgang Puck restaurant in O'Hare's Terminal 3 was closed, said Green. "It re-opened as Publican Tavern in July 2016 and brought in locally sourced food and bev- erages," she said. "In March, Publican Tavern was voted as the best airport restaurant/bar for atmosphere in USA Today's Travel 10 Best Readers' Choice Awards. Sales at Publican are up by 31 percent over the previous concept." When it comes to airport concessions, it's all about getting the right balance of local and national concepts that passengers will enjoy. MWAA and CDA have the challenge of doing it at two different airports. MWAA's Baker says he looks at it by con- cept and operator. "If you look at National and Dulles, around 45 percent of our concessions are local to Maryland, Virginia and D.C.," he said. "We've had concepts like Five Guys that grew from a local restaurant to a national one. & Pizza is another concept that's growing like gangbusters." But it all kicked off with the pursuit of Ben's Chili Bowl, an iconic D.C. restaurant in the U Street neighborhood. "I began conversations with them even before President Obama was elected in 2008. I had come from Atlanta and was looking to create a sense of place, and you can only do that with iconic brands," he recalled. "At the time, Ben's had just opened in the Washington Nationals stadium and they weren't sure they were ready to expand further." The mix of local versus national concepts at O'Hare and Midway is different, said Green. "Midway is more of a local airport where approx- imately 50 percent are local brands and that has definitely been proven to be successful there," she said. O'Hare is an international airport with more international passengers flowing through, said Green. "So you will see fewer local brands there," she said. "Because of the type of passengers we have going through O'Hare, we have to make sure that we provide passengers with recognizable brands and showcase local brands." Some of the local brands in O'Hare include Sarah's Candies, Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Garrett Popcorn Shops and Argo Tea, said Green. "CDA partners with small busi- nesses like these to help them become successful." At Sa n F ra ncisco International, 87 per- cent of the airport's food and beverage concepts are local, said Nashir. Some of t ho s e concept s i nc lude 2 4 t h & Mission Taco House, Boudin's Bakery and Café, Lark Street Grill and Three Twins Ice Cream. Austin-Bergstrom has 22 food and beverage vendors, said Halbrook. "Of that, we only have two that aren't local -- Vino Volo and Auntie Anne's," he said. All four airports work with their communities to entice local businesses to bring their concepts into terminals. CDA's Green focuses on finding great quality products and services based in Chicago. "We do passenger surveys twice a year asking them what they like and want to see in our air- ports," she said. "We then do a needs assessment and create data to identify needs and wants, priori- tize them and move forward to categorize the ones that can be successful at our airports." Some of those brands include Big Bowl, Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, Goddess and Grocer and Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless. MWAA spends a lot of time talking to local businesses, said Baker. "When I came to D.C. in 2005, one of the first things I did was talk to people on what concepted best represented the city and where were good places to eat," he said. "Washington has grown and changed and that's reflected in our airports, so we do quite a bit of outreach in the community." Nashir's team regularly visit San Francisco's neighborhoods and attend small business devel- opment events. "We look at restaurants and ask if it would translate at the airport and can food be delivered quickly enough," she said. "We ask does it say San Francisco, or is it a fresh new concept that's getting acclaim from the neighborhood or does it have a great story to tell?" Austin-Bergstrom reaches out to local business - es and they reach right back, said Halbrook. "When the airport was built in the 1990s, we had an advi- sory board guiding us, giving us a target of having 60 percent of concessions be local," he said. "We've exceeded that because of the success of local brands in the community. It's also a matter of civic pride and gives travelers a sense of place." READ MORE: WWW.AVIATIONPROS.COM/ 12324228 Chef Geoff's inside Washington Dulles International Airport offers hundreds of beers, wines and alcohols for passengers to enjoy while waiting for a flight. MWAA Ruta Maya - roasted coffee beans ready to grind. Sandy L. Stevens The recently renovated ThunderCloud Subs and Ruta Maya coffee shop at Austin -Bergstrom International Airport. Sandy L. Stevens

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