Mar. 9—Areas USA has taken over a contract for food service at Hobby Airport, putting an end to the 20-year run at the airport of local restaurant chain Pappas.
Both companies have a history dating to the mid-1960s and both are privately held. That's where similarities end.
Areas has a global reach and history of offering travel concessions that is at a different level than that of the local favorite.
Founded in Spain
Areas was founded as a catering and concessions business in 1968 in Barcelona and early on worked with Jacques Borel, who is credited (some would say accused) of introducing fast food to France, to open restaurants along French highways.
As Areas spent a few decades enlarging its contract catering and travel concessions business in Spain and the rest of Europe, French contract catering company Elior was also expanding, looking to gain a foothold in Spain.
In 2001, it did just that through an alliance with Areas, which a few years later landed its first U.S. airport concessions contract at Miami International.
Airport contracts in Los Angeles, Chicago
By 2015, Areas had also won contracts to provide food service at Los Angeles International and at O'Hare International in Chicago. The same year, Elior completed a takeover of Areas.
In 2019, with Elior looking to sell Areas, Paris-based PAI Partners, a private equity group, helped launch Areas as a separate company.
Today, Areas is the third-largest company in the travel retail, food and beverage market. The company partners with restaurants to provide food options such as major hamburger chains and local favorites.
Restaurants Areas could bring to Hobby
The Spot Bar
Pei Wei Asian Kitchen
Clutch City Coffee
More facts about Areas
Annual revenue: About $2 billion
Annual customers: 348 million
Number of countries: 10
Operations: Concessions at 87 airports, including Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago; 844 motorway restaurants and points of sales; service at 80 railway stations.
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