Every year, I get the honor of being one of three judges at Airports Council International-North America’s (ACI-NA) 2013 Airport Concessions Awards. These awards tout the best of the best in airport food/beverage, retail and service concessions. I’ve been a judge since 2008, and each year, the competition has done nothing but improved.
In my travels, I’ve seen how airports have stepped up their games, and that was reflected in the record number of entries this year. And the pinnacle of those awards is the Richard A. Griesbach Award of Excellence winner. The award honors Griesbach, whose influence on the commercial development of airports extended far beyond his employment with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which oversees Washington National and Washington Dulles airports.
Despite so many airports worthy of the overall honor, it was clear in the judging room that San Francisco was the right pick. I have written extensively about what makes airport concessions program successful. That includes outlets that offer a sense of place and a good mix of national, regional and local concepts. And it doesn’t hurt if you can get those in facilities like the International Terminal and Terminal 2, as you do at SFO.
And let’s look at some of those concepts. On the retail side, it ranges from luxury brands like Gucci and Coach, to local ones like Ghirardelli Chocolate and SF Uncorked. On the food side, SFO has Vino Volo (one of my very favorite concessions), Wakaba, Napa Farms Market and Andale. And on the services side, there the Yoga room, the Freshen Up shower facility and a world-class art collection.
So next time you’re in my original hometown airport, take some extra time to see what makes it an award winner.
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Sacramento International Airport’s Terminal B – WOW!! (the 2012 Griesbach winner)