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The Moodie Report paid a visit to Frankfurt Airport this week, to see the airport’s acclaimed food & beverage operations and visit its award-winning concessionaires – and we weren’t disappointed. It was a visit that underlined the depth, variety and terrific heritage that German food & beverage can boast – but that is too often unheralded.
Our main reason in visiting was to present the Airport Food & Beverage Award for Best Full Service Restaurant to Kaefer’s, led by shareholders Roland Kuffler and Gebhard Bucher, and driven by Gabrielle Platz (pictured above centre, with fellow winners Stefan Weber of Casualfood and Katharina Dries of Perfect Day), who manages the Frankfurt operation and is the kind of irrepressible and ebullient champion that every successful business needs. The company could not join us for the inaugural awards event in Manchester in January.
I was joined by David King, Convenor of Judges for the FAB Awards, who emphasised just how powerful an entry Kaefer’s had provided, one that came complete with 30-minute video. In assessing a highly contested award, the judges noted the “sheer pedigree” of the restaurant, “its staff and absolute dedication to service excellence”.
Having dined there this week in the company of the shareholders, other FAB Award winners and Fraport executives, we can certainly second that. The menu offers the best of traditional German cuisine, international flavour for those who want it, a fine wine list, and top-class service. The decor and atmosphere in the spacious outlet also offers a haven from the busy airport outside.
It wasn’t only Kaefer’s that impressed. We visited Perfect Day (managed by SSP), winner of the Best Non-Alcoholic Beverage Outlet, and found high quality coffee with a great story about the provenance of the ingredients behind it.
We also enjoyed the company of Stefan Weber and the Casualfood team with their Hermann’s and Mayer’s mobile concepts – a powerful draw for passengers seeking something quick and light on their journey down the 800m long Pier A finger. A smart, innovative concept full of variety packed inside a 2 square metre space.
What impressed us maybe most of all was the consistently of delivery across F&B at Frankfurt, from presentation to freshness. How often are those us who travel from Ireland or the UK (and many other places too) subjected to the ‘here’s one we made last night’ sandwich offer, to less than fresh fillings and to over-priced, underwhelming choice?
High standards at Frankfurt are no accident. As Fraport’s Melanie Wagner and Christian Sueltemeyer tell us, the airport takes a hands-on approach to managing the offer, pricing and service across all outlets – and the creation of category managers to oversee each commercial area means the airport, and not just the concessionaire, is a specialist in each of the fields in which it trades.
As we saw this week, it’s a strategy that is paying off handsomely.