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"New eats landing at Long Beach Airport?"

Sunday, July 10, 2005

New eats landing at L.B. airport?
By Felix Sanchez
The Long Beach (CA) Press-Telegram

LONG BEACH - The City Council on Tuesday will decide on a new concessions
operator at Long Beach Airport, a move that could offer travelers a host of
new eateries there. City staffers are expected to recommend that the council
end its current month-to-month contract with El Dorado Services, which
decided against submitting a proposal to continue, and approve a new
concessions agreement with Creative Host Services Inc. of San Diego.

As part of its proposal, Creative Host said it would partner with Legends
Restaurant & Sports Bar, Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill, Sweet Jill's and
Polly's Coffee Bar and TGI Friday's to operate restaurants, snack bars, and
kiosks at the airport.

The council also will vote on an agreement with Paradies Shops of Atlanta
for running airport newsstands and gift shops. 

Both contracts would be for operations in the airport's current terminal,
which has 10,542 square feet for concession service and sales, including
food, gift, news and retail convenience operations.

El Dorado Services has run concessions at the airport since January 1994
under two five-year contracts. El Dorado has been operating under a
month-to-month agreement for the last nearly two years as the airport
studied a new concessions operation.

The airport staff in May 2004 hired Airport Concession Consultants to search
for operators to upgrade services at the airport.

Whoever is given the concessions contract will have first negotiating rights
with the city if and when additional terminal facilities are built.

An Environmental Impact Review is now under way on proposals to improve and
add more space to the existing terminal for concessions, offices, baggage
handling, security, restrooms and other services.

Creative Host operates more than 170 concessions at 40 U.S. airports and has
revenues of more than $150 million, making it a favorite candidate from the
search, officials said.

Its proposal to secure licensing agreements with Legends, Rubio's, Sweet
Jill's and Polly's also were key to the recommendation, according to
Christine Andersen, city public works director.

The Legends proposal would have it operate the upstairs restaurant in the
main terminal. It was unknown what impact the recent fire at Legends'
Belmont Shore location, which destroyed the business, would have on the
proposed agreement.

An alternative concept would use TGI Friday's, according to a letter to the
city from Creative Host CEO Sayed Ali.

Paradies operates more than 400 retail concessions at 60 U.S. airports and
has revenues of more than $450 million annually.

Paradies' rent would be based on 16 percent of gross from news and retail
sales and 20 percent from retail and gift sales, with a minimum annual rent
of $100,000 to the city's Airport Enterprise Fund.

Creative Host would provide first-year revenue of $450,000 to the fund.

The City Council will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

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