SSP continues to shine in the North American market
The food and beverage on offer at US airports has improved dramatically in recent years, and SSP has undoubtedly been one of the key drivers of this radical turn-around, as SSP North America CEO Les Cappetta explains: ‘Innovation and investment in the brands in our portfolio, the environments we create, and the products we offer have done much to raise the bar across the airport F&B business in the US.’
SSP’s new food and beverage offer at New York’s JFK Terminal 4, where the company is the sole food and beverage operator, is just one example of this sea-change. The high quality of the offer at JFK, which was part of a $1.2 billion expansion project for Delta Air Lines at the terminal, was acknowledged when SSP won six top honours at the hotly-contested ACI NA Excellence in Airports awards.
Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, which also took home a couple of prizes at the ACI NA awards as well as a prestigious Moodie FAB award earlier in the year, was one of the first outlets to open at JFK. With something of a cult following, the brand was an instant success at the airport, and a second outlet is scheduled to open in May. Other brands that have been performing well since the first phases of the terminal redevelopment project were completed include La Brea Bakery, Cake Tin, pioneer in ‘urban barbeque’ Blue Smoke and another FAB award finalist, Uptown Brasserie.
And there was more to come. In March, 1930’s inspired restaurant Central Diner opened in arrivals, providing a relaxing rendezvous for meeters and greeters as well as airport staff and passengers with longer dwell times. This was joined by Camden food co., which offers travellers local foods from regional farms and artisanal producers, offering organic, fair-trade and healthy options for all tastes. Since they began trading, both of these outlets have been delighting passengers – as well as airport client JFKIAT, which is very proud of the new facilities.
The project at JFK is just one of a country-wide programme of development, following a phenomenal string of sizable contract wins. Alongside the deal at New York, gains at Phoenix, Houston, Reno, San Diego, Sacramento, Milwaukee and Vancouver doubled the company’s revenue. They also shifted the organisation’s centre of gravity from small airports to the major hubs.
‘There’s every reason to believe that its outstanding commercial success will continue,’ states Cappetta. ‘SSP North America is currently far outpacing its revenue and profit projections and we’re now working on plans to continue our expansion at more of North America’s top-class airports. We’re in a very good place.’