Jacksonville-based Southern Grounds and Florida-based BurgerFi will coming to Jacksonville International Airport soon.
Southern Grounds will offer passengers local options for food and drink and is expected to open in Concourse A this fall while BurgerFi will occupy a to-be-determined location in Concourse B, which is expected to open by the end of 2022.
The two new locations are part of a new 10-year contract valued at approximately $60 million that the Jacksonville Aviation Authority awarded to global restaurateur HMSHost, and its Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) joint venture partner Lee Wesley Group Inc, the airport said in a news release.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the Jacksonville Aviation Authority to bring local businesses into the airport, especially one like Southern Grounds that has deep local roots and delivers a beloved community gathering place into the concourse,” said Stephen Douglas, HMSHost vice president of business development. “With the upcoming opening, we’re sending travelers off with one last bite and sip of a hometown favorite.”
HMSHost director of restaurant portfolio Eddie Silva told the Business Journal that they were hoping to bring offerings with local ties — and ones that differed from what is currently offered.
Silva said they examined behaviors of passengers to determine which concepts would be most successful and appeal to passengers in terms of variety, familiarity and speed of service.
"With BurgerFi, you have a Florida born company that has grown to national recognition and serves one of the most popular and ordered items for airport travelers – burgers," Silva said. "BurgerFi brings the growing demand for fast-casual, made-to-order custom burgers, chicken sandwiches and more to JAX travelers."
Firehouse Subs is the only other major local brand that is currently at the airport. However, Michael Stewart, external affairs director for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority said that as the airport develops Concourse B, they hope to incorporate more local brands.
"It's an attraction for travelers visiting the area," Stewart said. "It's also something that is trending in the airport industry, that airports show some local flavor in their concessions. It's good for local businesses, to help them grow and shows what Jacksonville has to offer."
Southern Grounds, which started in Neptune Beach, has been on a growth kick recently. In 2017, it opened a second location in San Marco and has plans for a third one Avondale. Earlier this month, it acquired a bakery.
Source: Jacksonville Business Journal