Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/12/2015 (2159 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The menu for your pre-flight meal is changing.
A number of new restaurants are moving in over the coming weeks at the Richardson International Airport terminal building.
Fans of two local iconic brands may be disappointed, though, as Salisbury House and Gondola Pizza are being replaced by True Burger and Freshii, respectively. Skylights Lounge is also replacing the Upper Crust sandwich shop.
The food and drink outlets at the terminal building are run by SSP America, not the individual restaurateurs.
"We’re keeping things fresh in the terminal building with a selection of new food and beverage options," said David Driedger, communications specialist with the Winnipeg Airports Authority.
"Based on some of the customer feedback we received, it was clear that travellers wanted new food and beverage options in the departures areas. We are confident that the new restaurants will meet travellers’ expectations and contribute to the overall experience at the airport."
Another local option, Green Carrot Juice Co., recently opened its second Winnipeg location in the terminal building. A year ago, Prairie Bistro replaced TGI Fridays on the domestic and international side, while Urban Cave moved into TGI Friday’s location on the U.S. side.
The move by SSP came as a bit of a surprise to Earl Barish, CEO of Salisbury House.
"Every month this year, our sales (at the airport) were up 15 to 20 per cent. Last month, they were up 80 per cent," he said.
"I’m disappointed. I spoke to (SSP), and they explained they have a new direction. A couple of weeks ago, we had an order to deliver (food) and were told not to. They said in two days they were closing it down and redoing the area."
Travellers will still be able to get their fix of nips and chocolate doughnuts if they’re prepared to stop off at the Ellice Avenue Sals on the way to or from the airport. Of its seven "family-style" locations in Winnipeg, the 60-year-old store is the only one that hasn’t been renovated or replaced in recent years, but that’s likely to change.
"I’m hopeful that before the end of 2016, we might be able to have (a new building) there. We won’t renovate," he said.
Because of the size of the property, Barish said Sals could build a new restaurant while still operating the old one, which used to be one of the chain’s two car-hop restaurants.
Sals has other expansion plans already in the works. A new store in Steinbach, originally slated to open a couple of months ago, is now on pace to welcome customers next summer.
Barish said he will also be exploring expansion opportunities in Brandon, Selkirk and Portage la Prairie, communities that can be served by its Winnipeg commissary.
On the flip side, the Sals Xpress store in the Courts of St. James is scheduled to close at the end of February when its lease runs out. Barish said he expects its full-service location at Portage Avenue and Parkdale Street to pick up the slack.
Although Sals’ share of SSP’s profit from running the store at the airport was minimal, Barish looked upon the whole venture as a marketing play.
"You go to the airport and see Sals. It has value," he said.
Only two outlets, Harvey’s and Green Carrot, operate outside of SSP’s fiefdom and have contracts directly with the WAA.