About 50 people participate in the workshops,
with most of the attendees interested in opening
a business at the airport. In addition, architects,
attorneys and others who provide services to concessionaires often attend. Many of the workshop
attendees eventually submit proposals, providing a
broader range of options when the evaluation and
selection process occurs.
The workshop agenda includes an explanation of the request for proposal (RFP) process and
an overview of business operating procedures at
Chicago’s airports. There is also discussion on how
to become ACDBE certified and the requirements
outlined in the RFP to have ACDBE participation.
Workshop participants are encouraged to ask questions throughout the presentation.
Navigating the RFP and ACDBE processes and
becoming familiar with the unique terminology
used in the airport concessions industry can be
challenging. The concessions workshops provide prospective airport concessionaires with the
opportunity to gain some understanding of the process to open an airport concession and the related
rewards in doing so.
Concessions Program Goals: The workshop begins by
outlining the CDA’s concessions program goals: to
provide high quality products and first-class services to customers for fair value while optimizing
revenues to the airport. The program also focuses
on enhancing the image of the airport through
facility designs, providing an opportunity for local
businesses to thrive, promoting “Chicago character,” as well as incorporating sustainability in construction and daily operations.
Opportunity for Business: It is critical for potential
concessionaires to understand the type of environment in which they would work and how to be
successful. Therefore, the presentation provides
an overview of airport passenger traffic, business
terms, hours of operation, the number of passenger
enplanements at both airports, and the type of passenger traffic that occurs at each airport.
The presentation includes an overview of the
prior year’s concessions results by selling category,
including total square footage, and sales and sales
per square foot for the 177 stores in the program at
O’Hare and the 49 stores at Midway.
Promoting Airport Opportunities: Workshop attendees
are encouraged to sign up for Web alerts by visiting
the CDA website, www.FlyChicago.com. The CDA
sends Web alerts announcing bid opportunities,
open houses and workshops, among other topics.
Workshop Conclusion: The workshop concludes with
a listing of informative websites and an invitation
to contact the CDA concessions team with further
questions. Prospective concessionaires are encouraged to review past concessions RFPs posted on
the airport website for further insight about submitting a proposal.
Request for Proposals Process: One of the central
points of the CDA’s outreach efforts is explaining how a concessionaire is awarded a location at
Chicago’s airports. The CDA leases space through
the RFP process.
The process begins when the CDA identifies
locations available as a result of expiring leases
or new development space. Once the CDA has
determined the desired use for the location, an
RFP is created and issued to the public. The
RFP notice is published using local media and
advertised in the CDA Web alert. Any business
interested in leasing space may submit a proposal
within the timeframe specified in the RFP.
After the due date, RFP responses are reviewed
by an evaluation team that is comprised of employees of the CDA, other city of Chicago departments
and sister agencies, industry experts and academic
professionals. After its review, the evaluation team
interviews potential concessionaires. The committee then forwards a recommendation for the
successful bidder to the CDA commissioner. Upon
approval, the selected concessionaire and the CDA
finalize a lease.
The commissioner’s selection is introduced as
an ordinance to the Chicago City Council and the
council’s committee on aviation, both of which
must vote to approve the selection/ordinance.
Once the lease is approved by the city council
and executed, the concessionaire prepares architectural plans and submits them for review and
approval. After construction is completed, the concessionaire may open for business.
Typical Lease Terms: Most concessions agreements
are between five and seven years in length. The
term of the agreement is specified in the RFP.
The RFP often will include a range for an
acceptable minimum annual guarantee fee (MAG)
and percentage fee rates. RFP respondents have
the opportunity to propose MAG and percentage
fees in their submission. The RFP also will