SSP Group has opened a 1,770m2 food park with nine units at Abu Dhabi Airport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Food Park is located airside and accommodates up to 700 guests. Designed to offer a strong sense of place and serve a wide variety of food options, the park is expected to appeal to those working at the airport as well as travelers. A number of SSP’s own brands are featured, including coffee shop Ritazza, Camden Food Co., which offers a selection of healthy dishes as well as indulgent treats, and Levito, which offers Italian dishes.
Indo-Asian foods are available at Patamar, which was developed by SSP specifically for the airport and serves classic Indian dishes such as curries alongside Asian dishes including Filipino breakfast silog, sushi and ramen.
SSP has also partnered with several franchise brands, such as Operation Falafel, an Arabic street food brand, serving a selection of traditional Middle Eastern food with a 21st century twist. Fast food concept Texas Chicken serves fried chicken and a variety of sandwiches, wraps and Texan-style sides including honey butter biscuits.
The development also features international brands, including TGI Fridays, the casual dining restaurant that serves signature glazed ribs, steaks, cocktails and mocktails, and fast food brand Burger King. A Mövenpick Ice Cream cart completes the offer.
In addition to the Food Park and adding an element of luxury is Butlers Chocolate Café – a café with a bar offer and the first of its kind in Abu Dhabi. At the café, customers will be able to choose from a wide range of barista-prepared coffees and teas, as well as chocolate drinks, served with a complimentary chocolate of the customer’s choice. Cocktails, whiskeys and bourbons are also available. Measuring 172m, Butlers Chocolate Café has seating for just under 100 guests.
Due to the scale of the venture, over 60 jobs have been created. Where possible, digital elements such as self-ordering kiosks and digital menu boards have been added across the development to enhance the customer experience. Charging points are also provided.
Maureen Bannerman, chief commercial officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, said, “We are delighted to welcome SSP Group and their one-of-a-kind, innovative Food Park to Abu Dhabi International Airport. Their hospitality experience and multiple cuisine offerings further adds to the wide array of customer services available to our passengers at the state-of-the-art Terminal A. With 163 food and beverage and retail options, Terminal A elevates the airport experience.”
“These new openings are a testament to our strong relationship with our colleagues at Abu Dhabi Airports and their belief in us as a trusted and reliable commercial partner,” said Mark Angela, CEO of India and Eastern Europe and Middle East, SSP. “Over the past 15 years since we began operating here, our partnership has gone from strength to strength, and we have seen our business grow considerably. Our dedication to providing the highest quality food and service has stood us in good stead, and we are committed to continuing to exceed expectations over the life of the new contract.
“Throughout the process, we’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that our planning complements the outstanding design of the new terminal, ensuring that the food and beverage offer is an eye-catching focal point on the Mezzanine level and a real ‘beacon’ for travellers. These outstanding bars, restaurants and cafes capture the true spirit of Emirati culture and will cement our reputation in this important market.”
The project has achieved a 3 Pearl Estidama environmental rating – the highest score that can be awarded to a government building. To support the sustainability of the project, 90% of the wood used in the build was from recycled or reclaimed sources, and 85% of all floor and wall tiling used is locally sourced with a minimum of 20% recycled content. In addition, the units have been fitted with water-based air-conditioning and a system to extract steam from hoods and recycle it into clean air, alongside other energy-efficient equipment. As another example of sustainability practice at the airport, SSP has partnered with The Waste Lab, a Dubai-based women-owned startup, to turn waste coffee grounds from its units into fertilizer for use by local communities.
SSP has also partnered with Klimato to conduct a two-month pilot of carbon labeling on the menus for its Ritazza and Camden Food Co outlets. Chefs will be able to use the Klimato platform to assess the carbon impact of recipes, which will then be displayed on the menus. Point of sale materials explaining the labeling will also be prominently displayed in both outlets to help customers make more informed choices. The process will help SSP explore the effect labeling has on customer behavior, and to develop more sustainable offerings. According to the company, this is the first time Klimato carbon labeling has been employed in a travel location and, if successful, SSP will roll out carbon labels more widely across its menus.
The carbon labeling pilot is part of SSP’s wider strategy to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain by 2040. SSP saw a 42% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions in 2023 compared to its 2019 base year. The company reports that the greater challenge is in reducing Scope 3 emissions – primarily from the food and drink SSP sells – which this initiative is focusing on.
Commenting on the sustainability initiative, SSP’s Angela added, “As part of our net-zero commitment, we are working to reduce carbon emissions associated with food and beverage across our business. This new carbon labeling initiative takes a science-based, data-driven approach to decarbonizing our menus. And the associated communications campaign will drive customer awareness to help passengers make more informed and considered food choices.”
Ollie Judge, chief marketing officer at Klimato, said, “We are delighted to partner with SSP in their commitment to addressing climate change and promoting sustainability within the food industry. SSP’s dedication to calculating, communicating and reducing their food’s environmental impact is commendable. By taking this important step, they are not only leading by example but also raising awareness about the crucial issue of food and sustainability. Together, we can create a brighter, more sustainable future for our planet.”
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