Unlocking the Secrets to Profitable Airport Grab-and-Go Food

By Federal Industries Jul 30, 2023

Traveling is as popular as ever, and the demand for airline travel continues to rise. Airports have to keep up with so much demand, in part by providing high-quality meals for hungry travelers. These days, though, consumers want more from their dining experiences, so airport grab-n-go food has to match what they could find in a restaurant. 

Fortunately, with high-tech grab-n-go display cases for airports, businesses can take advantage of the landscape and earn bigger profits by catering to customers who want something fast and delicious. Even airport fine dining can set up grab-and-go spaces where rushed travelers can still capitalize on quality.

Let's take a closer look at airport dining trends and see how grab-and-go foodservice plays a role.

Convenience Takes Flight: The Changing Landscape of Airport Food

There was a time when traveling was a much more casual affair, when people could take the time to eat and relax before boarding their flight. However, with modern security lines and other hassles at the airport, most travelers are looking for speed and convenience over anything else. 

That said, food quality has to be on the same level as the restaurants within the airport. Now that most hubs are starting to offer fine dining and more variety, grab-n-go options must keep up. Fortunately, many establishments can double dip and offer in-person dining as well as pre-packaged dishes for those who have little time and a big appetite.

Grab-N-Go: The Convenience Revolution in Food

For a long time, the primary options for grab-n-go food were pre-made sandwiches or burritos, which would require a microwave to heat up first. These days, however, consumers expect much better dining options in the grab-n-go cooler, including salads, wraps, and even sushi and poke bowls. 

The rise of high-quality pre-made food can be attributed to numerous factors, including the business of the modern lifestyle and how most customers are stretched for time. At the airport, most people don't arrive super early anymore, opting instead to arrive with just enough time to grab something to eat onboard the plane.

So, restaurants and other foodservice operations that want to increase revenue can add grab-n-go foods to their menu to make it more convenient for customers while still delivering the same quality and service. 

The Evolution of On-the-Go Refreshments in Airport Beverage Choices

Along with food dishes, beverages have also become far more diverse and high-quality. While sodas and water still reign supreme, customers want more options, including teas, smoothies, cold brews, and more. In some cases, a traveler may not be able to sit down and eat for a few minutes, but they can drink a high-calorie smoothie as they make their way to the gate. 

Also, some airlines don't offer complimentary beverage services on flights anymore, nor can liquids be brought through security. So consumers must supply their own drinks when flying and it has to be purchased after the TSA checkpoint. Having various options in a grab-n-go cooler allows travelers to take their pick and stay refreshed until they reach their destination. 

Strategies for Success in the Airport Grab-and-Go Food Market

Just because speed and convenience are important to modern travelers doesn't mean that all operators can find equal success. Here are some top tips to make airport grab-n-go food much more profitable. 

Understanding Peak Times

While the airport can be busy at all hours of the day, some periods are better for foodservice than others. Also, operators can take advantage of slow periods (i.e., early morning) when most vendors are closed. If one station is the only game in town, it can capture a lot of business. Plus, with grab-n-go options, the establishment doesn't need extra staff to run the station. 

Understanding Customer Preferences

Airports see people coming in from all over the world, so customers expect a certain level of quality and diversity. While operators don't need to expand their grab-n-go menus substantially, they should offer more than just Ceasar salads and ham sandwiches. Plus, operators can provide different dishes and see what sells the most. From there, they can adapt their menu accordingly to drive more sales. Hot display cases can further allow versatility and diversity and ensure better profitability. 

Learn more about selecting the right grab-and-go display case for your airport foodservice operation. Schedule your free display case assessment today.

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