Complaints by the public represent business opportunities for new entrepreneurs. When searching for a good business idea, you need look no further than finding where people are spending money on dissatisfying choices. You don’t need a grand plan to capture a worldwide market. A successful small business is more likely to embrace a simple solution to a local problem. One such area of consumer complaints has been inferior food choices at airports.
Some enterprising New Yorkers heard the complaints and set about providing consumers with better food at Terminal D in LaGuardia Airport. It started with Prime Tavern, operated by OTG Management. The celebrity chef at top Manhattan restaurant, Porter House, was hired by OTG to create the Prime Tavern concept, write the menu, and train the staff. The result is that Prime Tavern provides high quality service, meals, and a wine list.
Travelers no longer suffer through bland meals from national chains. They eagerly spend their expense account money on the choice presented by Prime Tavern. It’s a throwback to the days when airports featured some of the best restaurants in many cities. Back in 1950s and 1960s, people in New York who were not even traveling ventured to Idlewild—the precursor to John F. Kennedy International Airport—for dinner at the Golden Door. LAX in Los Angeles and O’Hare in Chicago also featured top eateries. But as air travel become more popular with the masses, fine restaurants gave way to national chain establishments selling high volume output from small kitchens.
OTG has partnered with other well-known chefs to provide more restaurants in Terminal D. Additional choices are slated to arrive soon. The projects feature local New York restaurateurs who are simply opening second locations at LaGuardia. And the traveling public is embracing them. The airlines deliver passengers right to the restaurant doors. With fewer domestic routes offering complimentary meals, more airline passengers are spending extra for their meals. Airports have learned that satisfying the frequent business travelers is key to capturing some of their expense money.
Facilities managers are recognizing that a better passenger experience is also likely to increase air travel. The idea of blending restaurant dining with flying is being replicated at airports around the country.