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David Pendered

ATL concessions contracts: Details show who wins or (maybe) breaks even

By David Pendered

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration proposes a sweeping restructuring of the food and drink concessionaires at the airport.

Reed declined Monday to talk about the concessions program and instructed his media officer to refer all questions to airport General Manager Louis Miller. Reed has been adament in maintaining that this procurement will be free of political meddling.

The proposed contracts would create a new landscape of restaurants, coffee shops and kiosks in all the existing concourses, the new international concourse that’s to open next year, and the atrium, according to the administration’s documents.

The Atlanta City Council is slated to consider the proposed concessions contracts at its first meeting in January, on Tuesday, Jan. 3. The council’s Transportation Committee approved the package Dec. 14, after a lengthy discussion.

A clear winner in the administration’s proposal is Hojeij Branded Foods, Inc. Hojeij would move from overseeing a dozen spaces on Concourse E to overseeing most sites on the fast-paced Concourse A, which is a main gateway for Delta.

Hojeij greatly expanded its bullpen of restaurants for this competition, adding Ruby Tuesday, Pappadeaux Seafood, Varasanos Pizza, and others, to a franchise list now comprised of Arbys, Freshen’s, Caribou and similar establishments.

Hojeij was established in 1992 as Donuts-R-Us, Inc. by Carol Hojeij, of Tyrone, according to records with the Georgia Secretary of State. The company changed its name to Hojeij Branded Foods, Inc. in 2004. In October 2010, the company amended its articles to provide for the issuance of non-voting shares of stock, state records show.

HMSHost took a hit by losing the domination it now wields through its control of more than 50 restaurant spaces in concourses A, B, D and T.

But Host and its partner, ATLchefs, would be compensated with new sites in the atrium, Concourse C, and nearly exclusive control of the new international Concourse F. Host/ATLchef will share the international concourse with Global Concessions, Inc.

Host and Global now partner on concourses B, D and T, according to airport tenant records and incorporation papers filed with the Georgia Secretary of State.

Host once was part of the Host Marriott Corp. and now is part of Autogrill S.p.A., an Italian restaurant and retail concessionaire.

One new prime concessionaire would open at the airport – Delaware North Companies. Delaware North and its partner, THS Atlanta Partners, would oversee food and beverage service in concourses D and T.

Delaware North was started in 1915 by three brothers in Buffalo, N.Y. as a popcorn and peanut vendor. Now it is a global concessionaire.

Atlanta-based Concessions International and its partner, H&H, would consolidate its business into Concourse B. Concessions International now controls about 45 spaces in the atrium and concourses A, B and C.

Concessions International is chaired by Herman Russell, who has created a dynasty of companies. Concessions International got its start in the airport food business in the 1970s through a joint venture with Host, according to the company’s history page.

Watch this space for a look at four smaller concessionaires the administration says should get contracts.

David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.



  1. Burroughston Broch December 21, 2011 1:50 pm

    Don’t believe what they say – follow the money.

    The situation has been the same with every Mayor since Sam Massell – keep the Mayor’s buddies in the ATL food chain.

    Corrupt to the core.Report


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