IRELAND. Dublin Airport is set to launch a major tender process for food and beverage, saying it aims to transform the offer across Terminals 1 and 2.

The airport is to tender an initial two contracts, which consolidate a series of F&B outlets into packages, in a new approach to leasing. The first comprises 21 outlets while the other covers four specialist bars that will also sell food. The 25 outlets are situated across T1 and T2, including in some of the boarding gate areas.

Dublin Airport is seeking a group of “concessionaire partners” to operate the outlets, saying it expects “major international players in the food and beverage sector will partner with Irish operators to bid for the business”.

The offer should include international brands but importantly, must showcase “the best of Ireland’s local food scene”.

Blending Irish and international flavours: The first phase of F&B leasing will cover 25 outlets in T1 (pictured) and T2.

The contracts are for ten years each, longer than many F&B concessions at major international airports. The airport company indicated that taking a long-term view would mean partners would have time to amortise their investments, and that this approach would facilitate changes to the brand line-up where appropriate.

The 21 food and beverage units are expected to have an annual turnover of about €35 million per annum, while the four bars are expected to generate annual sales of about €15 million.

The 21 food and beverage outlets that are being tendered have a combined area of more than 4,000sq m, while the four bars have a combined total of 1,350sq m.

The units going to tender include Alcock & Brown in T1, the Garden Terrace in T1, Burger King in T1 and T2, the Slaney Bar in T2, the Chocolate Lounge in T2, and the Gate Clock in Pier 3. There will also be a new bar unit in the international departures area of Terminal 2. (See tables for the list of locations.)

The list of outlets to be tendered under the first package and (below) the specialist bars. More tenders will follow.

“Dublin Airport has an ambition to become a destination for food, by helping our passengers feel a sense of connectedness to Ireland and by ensuring that everyone is well fed and ready for their journey every time,” said Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison.

“Passenger expectations of airport food have increased significantly, and we recognise that the food we offer at Dublin Airport is a key driver of overall passenger satisfaction,” Harrison added.

“We’re seeking a step-change in the food and beverage offer that is provided at the airport. We want to have a world-class food offer that is enticing to all our customers and that delivers quality, fresh and satisfying food to passengers.”

The popular Slaney bar in the heart of T2 airside (above) and Flutes Wine & Deli (below) are among those going to tender.

The new food and beverage units and bars are expected to open for business on a phased basis from early 2020, with existing outlets continuing to operate in the interim.

The transformation of the food and drink offer at the airport will take place over the next three years, starting with the first two packages noted above. Two further packages will be tendered over the next 18 months, also consolidated into a series of units. These will include a food and beverage package comprising 12 units and a specialist coffee package with four units.

Dublin Airport handled 31.5 million passengers last year and there are also about 19,000 staff based on the airport campus. The airport company noted that staff working at the F&B outlets under tender would have the right, under Irish employment law, to be transferred to the new operators.

In the latest Airports Council International (ACI) World Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards, Dublin Airport was the joint winner in its category of European airports with 25-40 million passengers a year, as reported.

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The company also organises the annual Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference & Awards. Last year’s FAB took place on 20-21 June in Helsinki. FAB 2019 will be held at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on 26-27 June.