Houston is fast becoming a recognized global gateway — with connections expanding internationally on a regular basis.
To meet the needs of the growing and diverse number of travelers coming through the Houston Airport System’s (HAS) two commercial airports, City Council this week gave final approval on $1.6 billion in concession contracts that will bring a wide variety of options to the more than 53 million passengers George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) see annually.
WDFG North America, Paradies, Host International, SSP America Texas, Latrelle's Galley and ATU Americas were awarded 10-year contracts to provide food and beverage, specialty coffee, retail services and duty free products to customers at IAH and HOU.
The final lineup provides a variety of products and services and meets the ambitious goals set out when HAS moved forward with plans to enhance the choices and customer experience at the two airports:
- Achieve exceptional customer service and experience
- Showcase Houston as a premier, world-class destination
- Create a sense of place
- Meet the needs of global and international passengers
- Offer greater variety and quality in products and services
- Encourage innovative, unique and exciting concepts
“The concession program is an important part of the customer experience and is integrated into the overall operation of the airport,” Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz said. “We wanted to create value for our passengers who use our airports to travel across the state or around the world. We were looking for products and services that satisfied the needs, wants and desires of our passengers.”
Among the world-class concepts coming to the airports are food and beverage vendors like Landry’s Seafood, Starbucks, Hard Rock Café, Chick-Fil-A and Wendy’s, as well as upscale product choices from Brookstone, Brooks Brothers, Spanx, MAC, Hugo Boss, Xpress Spa, Tumi, and M. Fredric.
Ensuring that “Houston” feel — creating a space that embraced the unique flavor of Houston and the surrounding region — a number of local concepts are now a part of the expanded options for visitors to the HAS airports. Among those are Hugo’s Concina, The Breakfast Klub, Hubcap Grill, Pinks Pizza, Ray’s Real Pit BBQ, Café Adobe, Space Corner, Univision, Spirit of Red Horse and Pinto Ranch.
“We were looking for great service support on the frontline or in the after-sale period — attentive standby assistance and no-questions asked return policies, as examples,” Diaz said. “This new lineup of choices offers world-class products, world-class service, and a world-class feel to a city and airports that are recognized for growth and innovation world-wide.”
As well, the new contracts will enhance the airports’ competitiveness and financial position. The new agreements are projected to generate more than $170 million in gross sales and double the rent paid to the airport.
“All the important boxes have been checked off,” Diaz said. “The new concessions increase the variety of food, beverage and retail offerings. They provide more and higher quality choices for the consumer. They offer the best in local, regional, national and international concepts — a very important point with our growing number of international travelers — and still creates a sense of place that is uniquely Houston.”
The new contracts will be phased in over the next several months and run through December 2025.