Nashville Overhauls Security While Revamping Concessions

Nicole Nelson
Published in: 

As Phase I of Nashville International Airport's (BNA) Terminal Renovation Program comes to a wrap, Raul L. Regalado is convinced the bar has been raised.

"We have the best of everything to go into the best airport in the country," says Regalado, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) president and CEO. "That is the standard we have set."

From fast food to sit-down restaurants, and newsstands to specialty retail, Regalado says BNA has covered the spectrum for its customers. "It has been very well received," he reports.

Facts & Figures

Project: Phase I of Terminal Renovation Program

Location: Nashville International Airport

Area: 900,000 sq. ft.

Retail Master Concessionaire: Hudson Group

Food & Beverage Master Concessionaires: Delaware North and HMSHost

Cost: $47 million

Cost of Retail and Food and Beverage Concessions: Approximately $20 million

Timeline: October 2006 - January 2009

Consolidated Security Checkpoint

The recently completed $47 million project extended far beyond retail and food. During Phase 1, the airport also undertook a dramatic revitalization of the entire terminal through the complete realignment of the security checkpoint and dramatic changes to public spaces.

Historically, BNA had two separate security checkpoints on either end of the main terminal lobby. Concessions were focused primarily in the concourses.

"We had two throats feeding the concourses that go back 20 years," Regalado explains. "As new security requirements came into play, we were forcing a lot of security equipment into spaces that were never designed to accommodate it. As a result, they were very congested, the lines were very long and it was not a very good service for our customers."

Nor was it a good working space for TSA and the airlines.

BNA consequently combined the two checkpoints into one consolidated area that is fed from both sides of the terminal. "It gave us a larger area," Regalado notes. "We increased the number of security checkpoint lanes and increased the overall throughput capacity as a result."

With waiting times cut dramatically, passengers have the opportunity to shop and dine among the array of concessions that was pushed beyond security as a result of 9/11 and new security procedures. A small representative sampling of food and beverage and retail locations has been retained on the non-secure side for employees and meters/greeters.

Country-Fried Shopping

Hudson Group executive vice president of Corporate Strategy and Development Michael Mullaney says BNA's revitalization efforts provided the retail specialist with a fresh shell. Hudson and the food and beverage concessionaires, Delaware North and HMSHost, combined to spend an additional $15 million finishing out the spaces.

"The envelope we had to work within was a huge improvement in and of itself. So that was the first step," Mullaney notes. "The second step was a clear architectural and design criteria of how Nashville wanted the program to execute."

Hudson Group achieved a dynamic and vibrant retail shopping experience that adds impact and excitement to the overall terminal changes. The core approach of Nashville as Music City is reflected in concept components ranging from national brands like Life is Good and Sunglass Hut to local icon Boswell's Music City Harley-Davidson. Created concepts of Discover Nashville and Nashville Star add to the mix. Both Nashville Star and CMT Loot are the first retail offerings created in cooperation with Nashville-based television shows. Many of the Hudson News stores are custom designed with a musical theme, featuring guitars and other instruments overhead in signage and below in tiles.

"Each of the elements works together, and in their totality, they have been very successful, with Hudson News as an anchor," Mullaney reports. "When passengers fly through Nashville, not only do our retail spaces excite them, but the whole building is dynamic and exciting. The whole combination has really catapulted the airport forward."

Southern Snacking

In August 2006, HMSHost won an 11-year contract to develop new food and beverage venues at Nashville International.

"Our goal was to create a concession program that brought local dining favorites to the airport along with a balance of regional and national brands," recalls Renee Tedesco, vice president of Business Development for HMSHost. "Nashville is known for having great food, and now airport travelers can get a taste of that food whether they are arriving or departing the city."

In August 2007, HMSHost delivered four restaurants in the C Concourse Food Court. They included local favorite Baja Burrito, along with Famous Famiglia Pizzeria, Quiznos Subs and Burger King. The following year brought the delivery of Starbucks Coffee, Nashville Delicatessen, Gibson Café and Provence Breads & Café. The latest development includes a second Starbucks on the public side and a temporary Starbucks Coffee location that will become an in-line store in 2010.

Delaware North Companies has also strived for a balanced mix of local and national names in the refurbishment of its food and beverage o fferings.

"We were excited about the opportunity to review, revise and strengthen our food and beverage offerings at the airport," says Matt King, president of Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services Operating Company. "We wanted to find a mix of local concepts that represented Nashville and complement it with the right national brands."

Movies To Go

Offering DVD rentals from a vending-style machine is another recent development at Nashville International (BNA) - and a first for any airport.

Travelers can now rent new release movies from BNA's fully automated redbox kiosk for $1 per night and return them to the same machine or any of redbox's other 10,000 U.S. locations (often in grocery stores, McDonald's restaurants, Wal-Mart stores or Walgreen's pharmacies).

Raul Regalado, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) president and CEO, says the initiative has been successful from a customer service standpoint and was a "natural fit" for the airport.

After assessing the performance of its kiosk at BNA against more typical "street" models, redbox may develop a true "airport" model with input from Nashville and other markets.

King says DNC always has the goal of developing the right food and beverage program for a given airport and its travelers.

"Our innovative Gateway Concept helps us achieve this by identifying local concepts that best represent a city or region. We worked hard to identify local concepts like Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, O'Charley's and La Hacienda," he notes.


As concessions offerings have been updated and implemented incrementally, spending per passenger has increased incrementally as well.

With respect to the economic environment, BNA's passenger level is down from last year, and as a result, overall revenues are also down. But in relationship to concessions and food and beverage, the airport is holding its own.

Passenger spending per enplanement in fiscal year 2008 was $6.88 - up 74 cents from fiscal year 2007.

"The best thing, bottom line, is that we are providing the products and services for which our customers have been asking for some time," says Regalado. "As a result, they have been well-received. It has also made the airport terminal something the airport authority and the community can be proud of, to provide the complete 'Nashville Airports Experience'."


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