An American Success Story
Concessions International, LLC is an Atlanta-based company that has been in the airport concessions business since 1979. CI began as a disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) with three owners. In 1999, Mr. Herman J. Russell, purchased his founding partners’ interests making CI a family-owned company. Over the past three decades, CI has grown from a one-unit company to one with operations throughout the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
1979 – West Coast Beginning
Concessions International’s first airport experience was as a subtenant operating a food and beverage concession in the International Terminal of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). After five years of successful operations in the LAX International Terminal, CI was selected to operate all food and beverage concessions in the new Tom Bradley International Terminal. The Bradley Terminal, which opened in June of 1984, serves most of LAX’s international carriers. Concessions International operated in LAX through December of 1996.
Growth as a DBE
In 1984, CI won its first attempt at an independent bid, entering into an agreement to sublease space at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to operate a specialty food store. From there, CI excelled year after year winning bids in Seattle, Orlando, Cyril E. King (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands), and Denver Airports.
In 1994, CI became a prime contractor, winning its first multiple facility contract for three bars and three Wendy's franchises at the Portland International Airport.
CI partners with a full range of popular national and regional brands, such as Einstein Bros. Bagels, Genghis Grill, Seattle's Best Coffee, Samuel Adams, Fresh 2 Order, Dos Equis, New Belgium Brewery and Wetzel's Pretzels, placing great emphasis on favored local concepts that bring a sense of place to the traveler. CI has recently added chef-driven concepts such as Bar Symon's, Fly Burger and Chef Geoff's, to elevate the customer's dining experience.
In 1995 CI was awarded the prime contract at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). During this contract CI operated more than 30 facilities along with its subtenants including Sweetwater Drafthouse Bar & Grill, Wendys, Moe's Southwest Grill, Budweiser Brewhouse, Sam Adams Toasts Atlanta, Miller Victory Lane, Houlihan's and three Paschal's Restaurants.
A New Generation
Operated by the second generation of the Russell family, today CI is ranked among the top six largest food and beverage airport concessionaires with 40 food and beverage sites in eight major airports. CI also operates Paschal's Restaurant in the historic Castleberry district of downtown Atlanta and Pemberton Café located adjacent to the World of Coca-Cola and Georgia Aquarium. In July 2014 CI opened a proprietary concept called Fresh Exchange at Denver's Union Station in downtown Denver.
Driven by innovation and technology, CI introduced the first tabletop iPad ordering at ATL, allowing travelers to browse the full food and beverage menu and order in minutes from every seat in both Samuel Adams Atlanta and Dos Equis Explorer Lounge Restaurants.
Today’s airport concessions environment is constantly changing and Concessions International understands that keeping up with those changes and taking care of its guests requires a strong infrastructure and careful planning. Over the years, the success has been based on providing the right mix of outstanding food quality, variety, reasonable prices, proactive facility management style and commitment to customer satisfaction. The company’s family of employees, managers, subtenants and partners are the right mix of many cultures, backgrounds and skill levels that continuously positions CI to move competitively into the future. CI’s extensive industry experience has prepared it to compete for new contracts, continue steady growth and be the airport concessions employer of choice while maintaining a strong commitment to value and service.
On November 15, 2014, the Concessions International family lost it's founder and chairman, Mr. Herman J. Russell, at the age of eighty-three. His life-long contributions will live on through all that he touched. The legacy continues….