Andrew Lynch, CEO, SSP
The last few months have been some of the busiest yet for us here at SSP. We have celebrated the success of new contracts at Phoenix and Hangzhou, the introduction of new units in Oslo, the opening of our first businesses in Austria and the opening of Finland’s first Starbucks.
While each of these is a success story in its own right, there are common threads between them and the challenges facing our industry. At the FAB conference in Amsterdam, I spoke about the task of increasing uptake levels (or ‘penetration’), and its importance to the on-going success of F&B operations in travel hubs.
The work undertaken in partnership with airports to help deliver the right brand, in the right place, in the right format is a first step in driving sales. Great operations must then follow and we saw some excellent examples of these at the FAB awards. The majority of hospitality providers are now skilled at maximising spends once travellers are in the restaurant, café or bar. We therefore need to look at how we can attract more travellers to spend their time in an F&B environment in the first place.
To do this we have to meet a number of challenges. These vary from early calls to gates, fluctuating consumer confidence, lower frequency but higher load flights, and the increasingly demanding battle for travellers’ attention as the use of technology continues to grow apace. In addition, as more and more passengers take to the skies for the first time, we also have to appeal to the new traveller (notably those from the rapidly expanding BRICs regions), who may be unfamiliar with the airport environment.
Food and beverage is well placed to meet these challenges. We are a friendly, human face in an increasingly virtual world. And in our connected universe, we can bring service to our customers while they remain in touch with friends
This year’s FAB awards recognised the restaurants and bars around the world that do this so well. I would like to add my congratulations to those that won, and those that were shortlisted, for continuing to make airports and stations around the
world even better places to be.