Challenges and recent trends of food and beverage service of airlines and airport

Airlines

Healthy meals

Recently, more and more people are more health-conscious and they would like to have organic food, non-GMO food and food that could be traced back its origin. Also, they would like to have the meals that contain no MSG, no additives or preservatives. For example, the Sweden-based airline would provide the food and beverage items that are provided by the local businesses and farms[1]. A program called Food with a Conscience set up and it promotes healthy in-flight meals provided should be preservative and additive-free[2]. However, the cost increases when the food and beverage that are organic and the meals needed to be designed by the nutritionist.

Technology

More and more airline companies are making use of technology to add value to its F&B service. For example, the first airline called Arke allows the passengers to order food and beverage by using their own devices and the ordered items would be delivered to their seats[3]. In between the meal service period, they could order the items from the ‘TUI Café’ menu and the passengers in the Economy Class need to pay for the additional items ordered by them while that in the Premium Comfort Class would use the service for free[4]. The management team needs to monitor the ordering service regularly and take corrective measures if there is any problem.

1

From http://www.airlinetrends.com/category/inflight-catering/[5]


Airport

Technology

In the United Airlines’ Terminal C at Newark Airport, it is trying to use iPads to boost sales and reduce human error[6]. In the airport restaurant, the customers could look at the menu, make orders and make payment by using the iPads which are specially equipped with a credit card scanner.[7] It could fasten the ordering process and reduce human error. Moreover, it could reduce the cost if the ordered items delivered correctly. Apart from this, the chefs and managers could monitor the order quickly and they could take corrective measures more quickly. For example, when they spot out that one of the ordered item is not delivered to the customers and customers are waiting for the dish, they could immediately make the dish. Also, the customers could watch news, visit Facebook webpage and use some apps that are downloaded beforehand but they could not download the unapproved apps so that the iPads would not overload[8]. Then, it could reduce the waiting time for the customers and their satisfaction would be higher. Most importantly, there is a recommendation engine that would recommend some items to the customers and around 25% sales came from that[9]. It could definitely reduce the waiting time as the recommended items could be served quickly when the chefs are preparing a lot of that items. It could better forecast the sales of the items by making use of recommendation engine and it could reduce wastage which is a big concern for the industry. There should be a contingency plan and the staff must be trained well for the emergency so that the restaurant could operate well even the system is down.

Conclusion

The service become more customer-oriented when the airlines want to add value to their service and increase customers’ satisfaction. Also, technological changes would be a great challenge and but at the same time it is also an opportunity for the companies to make improvement and attract more customers.

Reflection

It is good to know more about the food and beverage services of the airlines and airports. From the research, we could see that technological changes influence the industry a lot and how the companies could make use of the changes to reposition and become one of their competitive advantage.

[1] Michaels, A. (2013, November 26). Top Trends in Airline Food. Retrieved November 8, 2015, from http://travel.usnews.com/features/Top-Trends-in-Airline-Food/

[2] Ibid

[3] Kollau, R. (2015, August 31). Airlinetrends.com » TUI first airline to let passengers order food, beverages, duty free via their own devices. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from http://www.airlinetrends.com/2015/08/31/tui-order-food-beverages-duty-free-via-own-devices/

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Shu, L. (2014, December 26). How iPads are changing food service in airports around the country. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from http://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/ipads-are-replacing-waiters-in-airport-restaurants/

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid

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