Delta Brings Unique Quick Dining to JFK

Delta, JFK - New York/JFK

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.

Delta JFK Bar Brace Terminal 3

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:

Delta JFK Croque Madame Terminal 2

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.

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26 comments on “Delta Brings Unique Quick Dining to JFK

  1. Croque Madame. They must have some Québécois or Frenchmen working for them. A croque madame is a variation on a croque monsieur, which is an open faced sandwich with ham, mustard and cheese grilled pizza style.

  2. Call me critical, but can the Ipads take the “abuse” of the flying public on a daily basis? I’m just saying………….

      1. At the very least?
        Ever enter a lavatory on an aircraft and the mirror is broken? take your assigned seat and notice the power port wires hanging from the armrest? Passengers are very rough on aircraft, I can only imagine the abuse those Ipads will take.

    1. That’s a great question, and I imagine the only way we’ll find out is by watching and waiting. They have to have done some user testing to see if it’ll work but you never know until you try it out.

  3. I am more interested in knowing what kind of food they offer. That ultimately determines if I’ll sit there.

    As for the power plugs… I can already see people carefully nursing their cup of coffee while they hang out there for three hours during their layover watching a movie on their laptop.

  4. I’ve used that service at terminals 5 & 6 on two JetBlue flights, the last time was this past September. It was at boars Head deli in both cases.

    Now what is going to happen to the location in the photo once Delta completely moves out of terminal 3? Are there plans to build a new location in the terminal 4 extention?

    1. That’s still years away, but I would imagine that if this concept proves to work, it will find a way into Terminal 4. Not sure who has the concession contract over there right now, nor do I know when it expires.

  5. Seems like you would still have to wait for a seat if all of them were taken just like any other place. They can’t be serving anything that great if you are guaranteed your meal(s) within 10 minutes.

    Should be a good test for Apple to see how much abuse the iPad can take and Oliver said above, that will be one greasy screen.

    So how do you pay for your food?

    I guess older people will have to find some where else to eat, as most would not know what to do. If my elderly mother sat down, she would be sitting there all day waiting for someone to take her order.

    The first think that popped into my mind when I saw the first photo was ‘A 21st century Woolworth’s lunch counter’……LOL

  6. I did try the new steak house in the Delta terminal at LGA last month, however to try and cut a steak with a flimsy plastic knife was not a great event. They did not think that one through

  7. Seems like most of these comments are negative, but I actually like Delta’s approach. Yes, the iPads will need some maintenance, and there are bound to be some kinks to be worked out, but cutting labor and improving efficiency are the keys to sustainable business. Even if the concept isn’t as successful as Delta hopes, this is a progressive move in determining the best service setup for airport food vendors. I’m just waiting for the day they implement this service on the seatback screens — each passenger is given the opportunity to make one drink/food order (or one per hour on longer flights), swipe your credit card if applicable, and the FA hand-delivers it on a first-order, first-served basis. It eliminates carts in the aisles and the need for FAs to bother passengers who don’t care to be served. Yes, old people are on the losing end of all of these scenarios, but they’ll cope because they have to.

  8. Somebody should pay Gordon Ramsey to duplicate Heathrow’s “Plane Food” at one of the major U.S. terminals. Spectacular to-go “picnics” in insulated containers with three courses, four choices per course. Mmmmmm.

  9. As someone from the otherside of the world (australia)I have always been amazed why anyone would want to travel to europe via USA. Asian airports are designed to make passengers welcome and provide a service and make moneyb from supplying that service.

    US airports have always been places of torture. Mayber things are changing.

    1. Michealbarry – “””””US airports have always been places of torture. Mayber things are changing.”””””

      No our government still wants to make travel an unfriendly experience. While some airlines/airports may try and make things nicer, we all have to deal with government rules and all in the name of ‘security’. After all we all know more then 3.4 ounce (100ml) of shampoo is a dangerous treat to everyone.

  10. I just left JFK – the Croque Madame thing totally wowed me. So, so many power ports. The entire gate area is restaurant booth seating. IPads didn’t seem to be in place. A waiter came around and asked people if they wanted anything. You don’t have to order, you can just sit there if you want. There are no “customer only” signs and it is the only place to sit, at all, if your flight is at gate 22.

    It is a very cool concept.

    I had a hot chocolate and a pastry which set me back $7.50 + tip. The hot chocolate was watery and bland, not the best ever. The pastry was too hard (ordered at 8pm, probably baked 14 hours ago?). So, it’s maybe not the freshest made food, and not the cheapest, but the presentation is very very nice – really great experience, and a huge improvement from the standard gate area. Mood music and coloring and styling is all very similar to Virgin America onboard decor. (A lot of the other food did look pretty appetizing, can’t say how fresh or stale it tastes though.)

    Very convenient to mix food and power outlets. Best was the waiter himself – a real waiter. Not an indifferent, unintelligible, barely alive cafeteria worker. This guy had the same classy demeanor and style as you would find in a high-end table-service coffee shop. For an airport, that is really striking.

    The place is still very new – booze is on the menu but not yet available. And they were busy installing light bulbs in all of the streetlamp lanterns attached to the booths. Really hoping this concept succeeds and spreads.

    1. Thanks for the report. That’s interesting that it’s replaced the entire gate area. A cool concept that can probably get people to buy food when in fact they never planned on doing it. But hey, if you have power outlets everywhere . . .

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