Local heroes

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Ohio now has over half of its concessionaires as local minority-owned businesses, helping to support the community while also boosting passenger satisfaction.

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) passed a significant milestone recently when the opening of Aircuts & Day Spa pushed local minority-owned businesses at the airport past the 50% mark.

As well as providing passengers with an authentic experience, this supports local and small businesses, which in turn supports the local community.

Tina LaForte, Vice President of Fraport Cleveland, the developer and manager of the concessions programme at Cleveland Hopkins, says this was a conscious decision that has far-reaching benefits.

“A diverse mix of retail and restaurant options enhances the concessions offering,” said LaForte. “Local operators and concepts bring a true taste of the region to the experience of our guests. And that’s what guests look for – local flavour.

“We also believe in bringing opportunities to small and local business owners, who may not otherwise have the resources to start a retail business at the airport. That’s the impetus behind our Launch Pad program.”

LaForte said that the 50% milestone, while significant, is not the end of the story. Fraport will continue to look for opportunities where it can to add local operators and brands to the concessions mix at CLE. That’s not surprising, when you look at customer reaction and satisfaction ratings.

Local hero: Bar Symon is one of the homegrown F&B favourites boosting passenger satisfaction ratings at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport

“The passenger reaction to local concepts has been outstanding,” says LaForte. “For example, Panini’s Bar & Grill is a very popular concept that opened a new 2,540sq ft restaurant in Concourse A this year.”

Food & beverage favourites including Bar Symon, Bruegger’s Bagels, Cleveland Shines, Chick-fil-A, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Subway are locally owned and operated.

“Passenger satisfaction also bears out in concessions sales,” added LaForte. “We hit a new record with sales per departing passenger reaching US$11.34 through May 2019. The airport is also on track to exceed 10 million passengers this year.”

The airport received its highest customer satisfaction score in over a decade from Airport Council International's Airport Service Quality (ACI-ASQ) survey, earning a score of 4.30 out of 5. The most recent ACI-ASQ score (Q1 2019) for restaurant/eating facilities continues to climb, rising from 4.00 in 2018 to 4.18.

“Our local operators overwhelmingly contribute to the success of the concessions program with unique offerings, great service, and lots of local cuisines,” added CLE Airport Director Robert Kennedy.

“We are focused on enhancing the airport experience and delighting our guests with a variety of shops, restaurants and services that celebrate the region.”

“Local operators and concepts bring a true taste of the region. And that’s what guests look for – local flavour.”

Panini’s Bar & Grill is a very popular concept that opened a new 2,540sq ft restaurant in Concourse A this year

FAB eZine

August 2019

FAB is published monthly by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd).

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