Autogrill Group knows some travelers hunger for more than just transportation. Operating as HMSHost, the company is a leading contract foodservice operator focused on the travel market. It has restaurant operations in more than 100 airports in North America, Europe, and parts of the Asia Pacific. Its eateries operate under such licensed brands as Burger King, Chili's Too, California Pizza Kitchen, Quiznos, and Starbucks, as well as proprietary names Fresh Attractions Deli and Flatbreadz. HMSHost also has service operations at more than 80 highway rest areas and runs newsstands and other retail locations in addition to restaurants. HMSHost is a unit of Italian contract foodservices giant Autogrill.
HMSHost, like most other foodservice contractors, competes primarily through bids to operate dining and retail locations at specific sites. Its contracts are typically long-term agreements that need to be renewed on a periodic basis. In North America, the travel dining industry has largely centralized around a few large players such as HMSHost, ARAMARK, and SSP Group.
Air travel has suffered a decline due to the recent recession, but HMSHost has benefited from the fact that many airlines have cut back on in-flight meals. To help boost business, the company has added some new brands such as Pinkberry frozen yogurt to its restaurant and snack bar portfolio. It also won new services contracts, adding San Antonio International Airport in Texas in 2010 and Albany International Airport in New York and McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2008 to its base of operations.
Autogrill acquired HMSHost in 1999 to gain a foothold in the North American market. It later expanded those operations, acquiring the Canadian airport terminal business of Cara Operations in 2006. HMSHost was previously known as Host Marriot Services, spun off from hotel operator Host Marriott (now Host Hotels) in 1995. – less