Warwick, RI – July 3, 2020 – The Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) today announced a public Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking two additional restaurant operations at T.F. Green Airport. RIAC is making available two of the airport’s largest restaurant spaces, each in excess of 2300 square feet, to serve a projected passenger volume of 734,000 under a one-year lease agreement with option for extension. Both RIAC and the proposers will have a 180 days out period. RIAC hopes that adding two additional restaurants will add 20 or more concession jobs. The RFP is available on RIAC’s website at:
As announced previously, last October RIAC approved a Master Concessionaire proposal seeking 12 or more new restaurant concepts, requiring a minimum revenue guarantee of $2.4 million to the airport and a capital investment of $6.4 million to serve annual enplanements of an estimated 2 million individuals per year. However even at that time, RIAC received only one proposal, submitted by SSP America. Although the RIAC Board of Directors approved SSP America’s proposal, the contract was not finalized at the time the COVID-19 pandemic impacted passenger volume, prompting SSP America to withdraw its proposal in the days leading up to the June 30 deadline when this new concessionaire was to take over and set up shops.
This left RIAC in a quandary. In an effort to ensure adequate level of food service for our passengers, RIAC entered into an expedited agreement with Dunkin Donuts, paving the way to retain an estimated 12 airport jobs. RIAC felt it was in the best public interest to expedite an agreement with Dunkin Donuts, an existing shop at the airport, to ensure that the airport was not left without any food service as of July 1 when the previous contract with HMS Host expired.
With its new solicitation to attract two new restaurants, RIAC is attempting to ensure there are options available for the passengers at the Airport besides the offerings by Dunkin that can help meet passenger needs. RIAC is not requiring any minimum revenue guarantees or minimum capital investment requirements given the shorter duration of this potential agreement of one year with the opportunity for an extension. Instead, RIAC is only seeking a percentage of revenue from the selected concessionaires. RFP scoring criteria will also benefit respondents that agree to hire qualified personnel previously employed by HMS Host, the previous airport concessionaire. The RIAC Board of Directors will serve as the selection committee.
RIAC currently estimates that passenger growth will approach 40% of 2019 enplanements over the next year, which is deemed more than adequate to support two additional restaurants to be located in the former Wolfgang Puck and the former Providence Oyster Bar. Although RIAC is hopeful of receiving multiple proposals, it also recognizes the additional challenges faced by airport restauranteurs at a time of decreased passenger volume, uncertainty over future impact of COVID-19, and changes to traveler purchasing habits.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, RIAC has worked tirelessly to retain and restore jobs impacted by the historic and unprecedented drop in passenger levels in the aviation industry. Although RIAC does not and has never employed individuals working in concessions or retail positions for airport tenants, it has always been the goal of RIAC to create an economic environment that helps create employment by fostering the enplanements needed to support airport jobs as well as those in the travel and tourism industry.
About T.F. Green Airport: A convenient and low-cost international gateway to New England, T.F. Green Airport (PVD) has a large catchment area with 7.5 million residents within 90 minutes of the airport. It attracts passengers from nearby Massachusetts and eastern Connecticut. PVD is located just outside of Providence, Rhode Island, and is about one hour from Boston. Well known for ease of traveler access, affordable parking and short lines, T.F. Green Airport was named as one of USA Today’s “Readers’ Choice Best Small Airports” for 2020.