How Do Airport Locations Work for Food Service Franchises?

Airports represent bustling hubs of travel, where millions of passengers pass through each year, creating a prime opportunity for food service franchises to thrive. Securing a location deal within an airport can be a lucrative endeavor, but it also comes with unique challenges and considerations. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how airport location deals for food service franchises work, including the negotiation process, key factors to consider, potential benefits, and challenges.


Understanding Airport Location Deals:

1.     Negotiation Process:

  • Negotiating a location deal within an airport involves extensive discussions between the food service franchisee, airport authorities, and potentially other stakeholders such as concession operators or management companies.


  • Franchisees may need to submit proposals, participate in competitive bidding processes, or work through leasing agreements with airport management.


2.     Lease Terms and Conditions:

  • Lease agreements for airport locations typically have unique terms and conditions, including higher rental rates, revenue-sharing arrangements, and strict compliance with airport regulations and security protocols.  Many times, the airport will want to see a track record of success and a business owner with a strong resume to be considered for a prime airport spot.


  • Franchisees must carefully review lease agreements to understand their rights, responsibilities, and obligations as tenants within the airport premises.


Key Considerations for Food Service Franchises:

1.     Location and Visibility:

  • The location of the food service outlet within the airport can significantly impact its success. Franchisees should aim for high-traffic areas with maximum visibility to attract travelers and airport staff.


  • Consider factors such as proximity to boarding gates, concourses, security checkpoints, and other amenities to enhance convenience for customers.


Almost 100 Million U.S. Passengers passed through Airports in ONE MONTH alone last year:,of%20Transportation%20Statistics%20(BTS).


2.     Menu Adaptation:

  • Franchisees may need to adapt their menu offerings to cater to the preferences and dietary restrictions of airport travelers. This could include offering grab-and-go options, healthy choices, and international cuisines to appeal to diverse tastes.


  • Compliance with airport regulations and security measures may also impact menu development and food preparation processes.


3.     Operational Logistics:

  • Operating a food service franchise within an airport comes with unique logistical challenges, including limited space, security protocols, and strict operating hours.


  • Franchisees must develop efficient operational workflows, staffing plans, and supply chain strategies to ensure smooth operations and timely service delivery.


4.     Brand Visibility and Marketing:

  • Building brand visibility and marketing presence within the airport environment is essential for attracting customers and driving sales.


  •  Franchisees should leverage signage, digital displays, promotional events, and partnerships with airlines or airport authorities to increase brand awareness and customer engagement.


Benefits of Airport Location Deals:

1.     High Foot Traffic:

  • Airports attract a constant flow of passengers, creating a captive audience for food service franchises. Franchisees can capitalize on this high foot traffic to generate consistent sales and revenue.


2.     Diverse Customer Base:

  • Airports cater to a diverse customer base, including leisure travelers, business travelers, airline crew, and airport staff. Franchisees have the opportunity to serve a broad range of customers with varying preferences and needs.


3.     Brand Exposure:

  • Operating within an airport provides food service franchises with valuable brand exposure and visibility. Travelers from around the world may encounter the franchise brand for the first time, leading to potential brand loyalty and future patronage.


Challenges of Airport Location Deals:

1.     High Operating Costs:

  • Operating within an airport environment typically involves higher operating costs compared to traditional locations, including elevated rent, utilities, and concession fees.  Many times rent rates for airport locations will be 10-25 percent of the unit sales which is 2-4 times higher than a traditional retail space.


  • Franchisees must carefully assess the financial implications and ensure that the business can generate sufficient revenue to cover expenses and generate a profit.


2.     Regulatory Compliance:

  • Airport location deals require strict compliance with airport regulations, security protocols, and health and safety standards. Franchisees must invest in training, certifications, and resources to meet regulatory requirements.


3.     Limited Flexibility:

  • Franchisees may face limitations on operational flexibility, including restricted operating hours, limited menu offerings, and stringent security measures.


  • Adapting to these constraints while maintaining quality service and customer satisfaction can be challenging for food service franchises.


For more support on how to structure your business for scale and how to approach Airport locations when you franchise your business, contact FMS Franchise:


Securing a location deal within an airport presents both opportunities and challenges for food service franchises. By understanding the negotiation process, key considerations, benefits, and challenges associated with airport location deals, franchisees can make informed decisions and position their businesses for success in this unique and dynamic environment. With careful planning, strategic execution, and a focus on customer experience, food service franchises can thrive and become destinations of choice for travelers seeking delicious meals and refreshments during their journeys.


For more information on how to land a location for your franchise in a airport space, contact Chris Conner with FMS Franchise Real Estate: