If there’s one area where Delta is really working to do some innovative stuff, it’s in airport dining. The airline has already made some major changes at LaGuardia, and now Delta is doing something cool at JFK. If you’re flying through JFK, you’ll now be able to sit down, order your food from an iPad and have it delivered within 10 minutes. While I don’t care about the iPad, I care that this speeds up the dining experience. That should mean more money for Delta as well.
Think about the generic dining experiences at airports today. You can do the grab and go with fast food or pre-prepared meals, or you can sit down at places like Chilis, Fridays, or some of the local spots that are now becoming more popular. The problem, however, is that it’s generally slow. You have to wait for a table, then wait for your server to take your order, then wait for your food . . . you get the idea. Here’s what Delta is proposing now.
Bar Brace is now near gate 15 in Terminal 3 at JFK. What’s so special about it? As you can see, there are iPads at every seating area. The beauty of this is that you can sit down, instantly place your order, and have it delivered to you within 10 minutes guaranteed. I assume this allows the restaurant to run with fewer staff and it speeds up the process tremendously. In a normal restaurant, you wouldn’t want to feel rushed, but at an airport, you just want to get in and out quickly so you can catch your flight.
Of course, you will still have to wait to get the food and you’ll want to sit while you’re eating, so what did these guys do? They put power outlets in every seating area. Perfect. Re-charge your computer and your stomach at the same time. They’re also doing this in Terminal 2 with Croque Madame at gates 21 and 22:
The concept will be coming to LaGuardia later this year as well. This will let people get their food faster, recharge their laptop, and get on their way. It also helps Delta sell more food by having more turnover per seat. It’s a win-win, and that’s great.
While Delta will undoubtedly get much of the credit for this, I imagine that most of it belongs to OTG Management. No airline does the food and beverage itself at an airport. In fact, most of the time it’s airports or terminal operators that award the contracts to a concession management firm. OTG has won some big contracts and done some really good things with them. For example, OTG is the dining partner behind the restaurants in JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at JFK. These guys are really at the top of their game. With any luck we’ll see them getting the concession contracts in more terminals.
The restaurants are already up and running at JFK. If you pass through and have a chance to use them, chime in with what you think.