US. Coffee giant Starbucks has spoken out on the ending of its exclusive US airport agreement with F&B operator HMSHost.

As reported, HMSHost is striking new coffee brand partnerships after the ending of the deal with Starbucks, which has run since 1991.

HMSHost said in a statement last Friday (31 January): “On Monday, HMSHost informed Starbucks of the plan to move away from exclusivity in an effort to broaden our portfolio of coffee brands based on what consumers and airport partners are demanding. HMSHost will continue to be a Starbucks partner and look forward to our new relationship as we serve our travellers.” The company has non-exclusive partnerships with Starbucks in other markets worldwide.

Kevin Johnson: “Going forward HMSHost will continue to be a partner but we’re moving to a model where they don’t have exclusivity and that’s going to give us more opportunity to innovate and try different things”

Speaking on CNBC’s popular ‘Squawk on the Street’ programme two days earlier, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson responded to scathing criticism of the HMSHost-run outlets by host, popular American TV personality Jim Kramer, by saying: “The whole dynamic of airports has changed dramatically over the last five to seven years. Certainly we’ve had a long-term partnership with HMSHost and the volume of traffic that we saw through our Starbucks stores in airports over this holiday season was phenomenal. So it’s clear we have to reinvent and rethink how we do this.

“HMSHost has been a long-term partner. They’ve had exclusivity in these airports. Going forward HMSHost will continue to be a partner but we’re moving to a model where they don’t have exclusivity and that’s going to give us more opportunity to innovate and try different things.

“For example, we’re working on some ideas, even with pop-up stores in airports that could move depending on time of day and where gate arrivals and gate departures are taking place. So HMSHost is going to continue to be a partner, but they will be in a model where they are not exclusive, which gives us a range of options to better serve our customers.”

The HMSHost-run Starbucks at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

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The company also organises the annual Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference & Awards. FAB 2020 will be held in Istanbul on 23 and 24 June. Istanbul Airport will host the event, which will be a celebration not only of the best in international airport dining but also of Turkish cuisine and culture. FAB 2020 will be supported strongly by Tum & Ictur, the concessionaire managing 34,000sq m of food & beverage space at Istanbul Airport.