California Pizza Kitchen expands in airports to help grow global franchise awareness

Airport locations can provide increased sales, brand awareness and streamlined operations. Giorgio Minardi, EVP of global development and franchise operations for California Pizza Kitchen, explains how airport locations can be a boon for any brand.

| By Giorgio Minardi, EVP of global development and franchise operations for California Pizza Kitchen

In today’s evolving food industry, many franchise brands are turning to non-traditional development, specifically in airports, to meet guests wherever they are, including while traveling. Established restaurant brands like California Pizza Kitchen — which most recently opened airport locations in Costa Rica, Chile and Los Angeles — have had success sharing their cuisines in airports to meet guests at their convenience. As a result, this has helped further CPK’s growth and global franchise awareness. Below are several reasons why non-traditional development in airports can drive growth for brands looking to further franchise development.

Increase sales

Expanding your brand to airport travelers can lead to lucrative results. With billions of people traveling through airports annually, airports provide the chance to serve a large number of consumers on a reoccurring basis. As visitors from all around the world pass through airports, restaurants that open in airports can expose their brand to a broader, global audience than if they relied solely on expanding through traditional franchise locations.

Airports also have long operating hours, which enables restaurants to stay open longer than they would at a traditional brick-and-mortar location. These additional operating hours lead to more opportunities to generate revenue through increased sales, making airport restaurants an attractive investment for many operators.

Expand brand awareness

With a range of consumers traveling throughout domestic and international airports, restaurants can resonate with entirely new guest demographics. Through its airport restaurant locations and kiosks, California Pizza Kitchen has expanded its current customer base and reached thousands of people who may not have previously been exposed to the brand and its products. Further, most airports are located within bustling cities and have tourist attractions nearby, enabling brands to establish a presence in highly desirable areas while attracting new customers.

Airports also offer access to a captive audience, with people having a limited number of options for food and beverages throughout their travels. Restaurants that offer reliable and convenient dining options have a chance to resonate with new consumers and not only earn sales in that moment, but potentially gain new loyal customers for years to come. California Pizza Kitchen utilizes its airport locations to showcase its products to existing and new fans alike, growing its customer base. By offering unique dining experiences and creating a welcoming atmosphere, franchise brands like California Pizza Kitchen can build customer loyalty and establish themselves as the go-to option for travelers in need of a meal.

Streamlined operations

Due to the fast-paced atmosphere, restaurant brands within airports must be able to serve guests quickly and efficiently on a continuous basis. This leads brands to streamline operations and adapt current practices to align with these preferences. Brands that develop in airports often use specialized equipment and technology to meet the needs of traveling consumers on the go. CPK offers a wide range of service modes including full service, kiosk self-order systems, and most recently a “Grab n Go” touchless checkout platform which was recently launched at CPK’s Dallas-Fort Worth airport location.

With an airport presence on a global scale, California Pizza Kitchen recognizes the need for a menu that will resonate with a variety of consumer dining preferences. While the brand offers its fresh, California-inspired dishes, it also incorporates flavor inspiration from around the world through hand-tossed pizzas, pastas and salads, providing travelers with a unique dining experience like no other — and one that understands the needs of global travelers. The brand features abbreviated menus at its kiosk airport locations which provides flexibility and ease through quick service options. Given the flexibility with airport operation hours, CPK also offers breakfast options at all 12 of its airport locations. Through these variations and options, the brand aligns with ever-changing guest desires while still offering quality ingredients and creativity.

Non-traditional development can be essential in today’s franchise space, especially for brands looking to gain an edge over competition. With proven benefits for the franchisor, franchisee, and consumer, it’s no secret why brands like California Pizza Kitchen have been successful in airport development and expansion. With the chance to expand brand awareness, tap into a new customer base, generate additional revenue streams, and increase overall profitability — airport locations can help elevate a brand to the next level.

Giorgio Minardi has served as the executive vice president of global development and franchise operations for California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) since 2019. Minardi has more than 35 years of global restaurant business experience, working with brands like Telepizza Group, Dunkin’ Brands, Burger King and McDonald’s.

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