discern what passengers really want. The focus groups
consist of airport stakeholders and business and leisure
travelers. Specific questions will be asked about the
types of products and services the individuals would
buy; which brands they are seeking; what they might
purchase and have shipped home; and what they
see elsewhere that they would like added at Phoenix
“The focus groups and surveys help determine what
to put in our RFPs,” Kucharz said. “The results tell us
what we need to try to bring in to the airport to meet
the needs of our travelers.”
Kucharz said that it is known that travelers want
power outlets and bottled water, but, specialty retail is
something that needs to be further examined, she noted.
What type of shops and merchandise do travelers want?
The airport is studying whether travelers prefer branded
stores or brand names. For instance, are travelers
looking for Coach handbags in various shops or a well-known store that sells the products?
Travelers do appreciate one-of-a-kind, locally
produced items, Kucharz said. For example, the store
Mosaic in Terminal 4 offers Southwestern artwork,
jewelry and other items that travelers won’t find
The Sky Harbor staff wants to replicate in Terminal
3 the same success that it achieved with the Terminal
4 food and beverage concepts. “We want to bring in
the same local message in future retail development
that we were able to achieve with the Terminal 4
food and beverage concepts,” stated Roxann Favors,
deputy aviation director for business and properties.
The airport surveyed Terminal 4 business and leisure
travelers by several means and considered ways that the
feedback could be incorporated into the final product.
Overall, travelers indicated that they wanted a mix
of local and national concepts and that price was a
consideration, Favors said. To answer these needs,
the airport added a diverse mix of local, regional and
national restaurants to Terminal 4, which serves 80
percent of Sky Harbor’s customers. This included
well-recognized concepts such as McDonald’s, Panda
Express, Paradise Bakery and Starbucks. Local
specialties that received acclaim from both the
community and travelers were added as well. Popular
Arizona restaurants now serving Phoenix Sky Harbor’s
passengers include Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s
Barrio Café, offering made-at-the-table guacamole; La
Grande Orange with innovative pizzas and sandwiches;
and Four Peaks Brewery with an eclectic selection of
food and signature craft beer.
Two contracts were awarded for the Terminal 4 food
and beverage renovation. The first went to HMSHost,
which opened restaurants in phases throughout 2012.
The second contract was awarded to SSP America,
and new concepts started arriving in 2013. The final
restaurants, including local favorite Lo-Lo’s Chicken
and Waffles and regional favorite Wildflower Bread
Company, among others, will be opening by the end of
“Our goal is to provide visitors with a taste of some of
the best restaurants the Phoenix area has to offer,” said
Assistant Aviation Director Tamie Fisher. “We stressed
the balance between local, regional and national brands
as a sustainable goal to achieve the greatest in customer
satisfaction.” Feedback so far would indicate the
Terminal 4 restaurants not only are meeting customer
needs but also enticing local residents to come to
the airport to eat and share their enthusiasm for the
restaurants on Twitter.
In addition to offering a variety of alternatives for
hungry travelers, the Terminal 4 restaurants operate
on the concept of street pricing, meaning that when
travelers dine at a restaurant at Sky Harbor, the
price is the same as it is anywhere in the Phoenix
Each new restaurant also is designed to be inviting to
travelers. Many of the restaurants provide power outlets,
a highly requested amenity, so travelers can work while
enjoying a meal. Cheuvront’s Wine Bar, located pre-security in Terminal 4, for example, offers not only an
extensive wine list but outlets at the bar.
“Our focus is on our customers and customer
service,” Favors said. “We want to make sure we have
the concepts our customers want.” A
Heather Lissner is a public information officer at Phoenix Sky Harbor
International. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.