Smaller is better, according to Concession Management Services, Inc. Chairman and CEO Clarence Daniels Jr. It was because of CMS’ smaller size that brands such as Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf allowed Daniels to operate one of its stores at the Los Angeles International Airport.
Founded in 1992, CMS is an airport concession company that operates restaurants such as Panda Express, Coffee Bean, Carl’s Jr. and Cinnabon in airports in Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Diego, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Houston and Tampa Bay.
Daniels admits that operating in airports is extremely difficult. There are many stakeholders who feel they own the airport concessions, such as the airport commissioner, airport staff and the airline station manager. There are also numerous regulations that govern everything from security to employee pay to the design of the store. These are all obstacles that Daniels constantly works to overcome.
CMS concessions such as Panda Express, Coffee Bean, Carl’s Jr. and Cinnabon are among the highest grossing restaurants in the country. Daniels attributes his success in customer service to being hungrier than the competition. His managers volunteer to open the restaurants earlier than the competition, or even open the stores 24 hours a day.
The company uses its knowledge of the industry to become a sought-after partner for national, regional and local restaurant brands that want to gain entry to the airport concessions industry. Because malls and neighborhoods are saturated with restaurants, airport real estate is highly sought after. However, most restaurant owners don’t want to invest the time to learn how to gain this entry, nor do they have the experience working with organized labor.
CMS has capitalized on these issues and developed an approach to licensing where the company pays restaurant owners attractive licensing fees to allow it to own and operate their concepts in airports. This approach has enabled CMS to bring numerous restaurant brands to airports around the country.
How to reach: Concession Management Services, Inc., www.cmsairports.com