GERMANY. Caviar House & Prunier yesterday opened an ambitious new concept at Frankfurt Airport, which Chairman Peter Rebeiz described as “groundbreaking” as the firm’s first airport Seafood Bar in the 1980s.

The Experience Store by Caviar House & Prunier in Terminal A’s Schengen Zone was soft opened on Monday morning in the company of Fraport executives. The full opening takes place today.

Rebeiz told The Moodie Davitt Report, “It is a very daring project, especially within an airport. We are taking the premium and luxury experience a step up from our existing retail stores and Seafood Bars.

“Our goal is first to promote our brands and food know-how to a new and younger audience, making the world of luxury food and beverages accessible enough for everyone to give it a try” – Peter Rebeiz

“It features state-of-the-art design; genuine and heavy silverware; plus tableware featuring some of the most daring designs in Europe. The menu offers the consumer a full tasting of all the products for sale, and delivers an experience at the same time of some very exciting associations between food, wine and table art.

“Everything is accompanied by postcards explaining each meal.”

“A retail store featuring a sophisticated concept of food tasting. An introduction into a world of absolute excellence when it comes to food and food service.” – Peter Rebeiz

Q&A: After the soft opening, Peter Rebeiz spoke to Martin Moodie about the concept.

Peter, talk us through the thinking behind the new store and what makes it different to what you’ve done in the past.

When we introduced the first Seafood Bar In the early 80s in the UK, we clearly took the food service concept in airports to a complete new level. Until then airport restaurants and bars did not take quality and service very seriously. The perception being that the passenger would eat and drink for free on the flight in any event and that in the airport terminal the passenger had very little time.

The Seafood Bar catered for a different perception and became a kind of ‘luxury fast food’. A place where consumers could consume first-class food products such as caviar, smoked salmon, oysters, lobsters and so on in less than 20 minutes.

A tasting menu allows consumers to choose any three, six or nine dishes from a collection of 30 for €25 per three choices

The offer was and still is targeting consumers that already have a certain lifestyle and understanding for such products. These are consumers that do not necessarily wish to learn anything new. Consumers who associate travel with unique food and beverage products – the kind of products that were once the service pride of most airline companies.

Airlines run a different business model to what they did some 20 years ago, to say the least. As a result, we find that passengers are looking more to have special experiences prior to take-off.

There is clearly a growing demand in airports for a higher food experience overall. And not just from the elite and business travellers but from across the whole passenger spectrum.

So how does this concept vary from your traditional airport model?

The new Caviar House & Prunier Experience Store and Counter is not at all an alternative to our Seafood Bars or a progression thereof. The Seafood Bars are designed as a restaurant providing passengers with a high-quality meal.

This new outlet was not designed to provide anyone with a meal as such. It is a retail store featuring a sophisticated concept of food tasting. An introduction into a world of absolute excellence when it comes to food and food service.

This is about introducing consumers in an extremely affordable way to the luxury food and beverage universe through tasting, story-telling and teaching.

Foodieducation: Each option is accompanied by informative postcards

For us, as a caviar and salmon producer, the product is the heart of everything. More and more non-food operators are starting to propose various kinds of food retailing – in most cases with an emphasis on potential volume rather than quality.

We felt we had to take our food retail outlets to a brand-new level. Everything in the outlet must be something special, from the materials utilised to the products on display. In the middle of the unit there is a counter (we call it the Experience Counter), where everything in the store can be tasted in different shapes and form. In some instances it will be prepared by local celebrity chefs.

For this we have created a tasting menu where the consumers can choose any three, six or nine dishes from a collection of 30 for €25 per three dishes. The consumer will receive a full food experience on a tray with specially designed dishes, glasses and bowls for the occasion.

The trays and tableware were designed by Herring in Berlin, the glasses by Riedel and all the silverware by Robbe & Berking. All the lamps in the unit were also designed specially by Herring for this outlet.

An upscale experience: The trays and tableware were designed by Herring in Berlin, the glasses by Riedel and all the silverware by Robbe & Berking

The counter has been designed with noble leather containing double plugs for every seat, allowing mobile charging and internet connections.

For every dish, the consumer receives a dedicated card with all the nutritional facts as well as instructions on how to compose this same meal at home – and of course on which ingredients to use from our store.

There will be a special selection of German plus French and international rare wines and Champagnes associated and paired with all the meals.

“We want to create a luxury food experience. One where taste, touch, smell and sound has been specially designed to generate a combined unique experience.” – Peter Rebeiz

It sounds fantastic. But it also strikes me as a logistics challenge, particularly in an airport environment.

Yes. In view of the complexities of preparing such tasting plates for consumers, plus the extremely affordable price structure we have initiated, we have had to limit the counter to 19 seats only.

Throughout the year we will create special tasting promotions of all kinds of food & beverages. Plus, we will invite certain star chefs from Germany to promote their particular food art and know-how.

Within three months of the opening we shall introduce a specially designed app for this outlet alone. The objective is to announce weekly tastings, special offers, Chef of the Month plus reservation and take-away promotions.

How would you sum up your objectives here Peter?

Our goal is first to promote our brands and food know-how to a new and younger audience, making the world of luxury food and beverages accessible enough for everyone to give it a try.

Secondly, we want to show and teach how to use our products in different and innovative ways.

Thirdly, we want to create a luxury food experience. One where taste, touch, smell and sound has been specially designed to generate a combined unique experience. All done in such a way, I believe, that only we could pull it off.

NOTE: The Moodie Davitt Report also publishes The Foodie Report, the world’s only media focused on airport (and other travel-related) food & beverage. The Foodie Report e-Newsletter is published every two weeks and The Foodie Report e-Zine every month.

Please send all news of food & beverage outlet openings, together with images, menus, video etc to Martin@MoodieDavittReport.com to ensure unrivalled global exposure.

The company also organises the annual Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference & Awards. This year’s FAB will be held in Helsinki on 20 to 22 June. Click here for details.