Every wondered why it’s so hard to get a good meal in airports? At Fly&Dine, this is a question we grapple with each and every day. Major food site Eater.com wondered the same thing and came through with a massive feature by Anna Roth about the trials and tribulations of the airport restaurant world. It’s called “Why Running a Good Airport Restaurant is So Difficult,” and it’s a long read worth diving into for twenty minutes or so.
In the story, Roth covers high rents, massive insurance policies, and staffing snafus as major impediments to running a successful airport beyond the confines of security. She speaks to key personnel at ATL, PDX, and ORD to get to the bottom of her question in a really well-reported piece. Here’s an excerpt:
Chef Duane Nutter of Atlanta’s One Flew South has also run into staffing problems. If it’s hard to find experienced cooks, servers, and bartenders to come work at the airport, it’s even harder to ask them to pay the $160 for a TSA screening that can take two to three weeks to be approved. Many find other jobs in that time, he says — jobs that don’t require them to commute to the airport, take the train in from the staff parking lot, and get through security just to begin their shift.
Then there’s the airport system for accepting deliveries, which is a hassle at best, because small local producers can’t just pull up to the restaurant and hand off supplies; they need to go through a whole process to get themselves, and their products, approved by TSA. Deliveries can only be accepted for a small window of time, usually in the wee hours of the night, which requires more staffing on the part of the restaurants.
Check out the full story here and discover why you’re so hard-pressed to find a sit-down meal you can actually enjoy at our nation’s airports. It’s a fantastic in-depth look at the issue.