FINE FOOD & WINE F&B ramps up pressure on retail dwell time

While airports and other operators will relish the surge in food & beverage spend per head, an explosion in premium eateries, fine food and wine experiences, and local gastronomic concepts can prove an unwelcome distraction for travel retail. Luke Barras-Hill reports.

particular city or region. Examples include the Book &

Bourbon Southern Kitchen at Louisville International Airport – a spot on the famed Bourbon trail – where customers and Bourbon aficionados alike can sample authentic Kentucky cuisine while sipping on one of more than 80 bourbons. In the soon-to-open Louis

New dining concepts are diverting dwell time away from travel retail. D

F&TR as a crucial source of non-aeronautical revenue at airports is a message that

continues to reverberate worldwide. According to data from ACI

Europe, retail has sustained its position in Europe as the leading ancillary contributor in the 10 years to 2017. During that time, it has lifted its share by four percentage points (44.2%). Food & beverage has lifted its share

by 0.8 percentage points (5.7%) in the same period. However, perhaps more critically it has generated growth in spend per pax of +19.8% in the five years to 2017, against a decline in retail of -7.1%.

“While fine dining and other elevated experiences are certainly growing in demand and presence, we also recognise that to meet the needs and expectations of all travellers, it is important to develop a balanced food and beverage programme.”

Stephanie Havard, Executive Vice President of Restaurant Development, HMSHost


As a result, competition continues to stiffen between both sectors as they vie for customer footfall, penetration and conversion, often from the technology-obsessed, smartphone generation. “Eating is definitely the new

shopping,” responds Stephanie Havard, Executive Vice President of Restaurant Development at HMSHost, an Autogrill company. “We still see demand for traditional

dining experiences, but it is clear that more and more people are willing to try new things and broaden their horizons. In general, people are growing more adventurous with food, especially younger generations (Gen-X and millennials) who are now travelling more for work and pleasure. “For this growing segment of the

travelling public, there is a huge interest in eating mindfully, locally, and authentically. Their approach to dining is no longer just about convenience – it’s about enjoying an immersive, cultural experience.”

A break from routine Havard says HMSHost is placing more emphasis on multi-sensory cuisine experiences, amplified by the visual design, smells and flavours of a

Armstrong International Airport terminal in New Orleans, passengers will be able to feast on meals from popular local chefs and restaurants; Mondo by Susan Spicer, Munch Factory by Jordan and Alex Ruiz, and visit Emeril Lagasse’s new restaurant. “Whether they opt for a local or

global dining experience, our guests are always looking for shareable and experiential dining experiences,” continues Havard. “This is something we purposefully

deliver through exceptional cuisine and beverage offerings, as well as striking interior designs featuring sense-catching ‘vibe’ elements such as local art, great music, speciality lighting and cool technology. “While fine dining and other

elevated experiences are certainly growing in demand and presence, we also recognise that to meet the needs and expectations of all travellers, it is important to develop a balanced food and beverage programme with a mix of restaurants that provide variety not only in price point, but also in service style, speed, and food category.” An alternative to seated

dining options are fine food retail areas, which possess scope for development. “I think there is perhaps more

that retailers can do to attract consumers to fine food areas,” comments Fabrizio Canal, CEO, Food Accademia. “Perhaps link with the latest

cookery and food-inspired books that are trending internationally and

APRIL 2019

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