Marché-style market envisioned for food court at Hartsfield-Jackson

In a revamp of the restaurants on Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport's Concourse E, airport officials envision an open market-style eatery as part of the food court.

The airport is inviting businesses to submit proposals for restaurant contracts on Concourse E, including two larger contracts to operate multiple eateries. One of the contracts includes an open market location known as a marché, with three to four food stations and a central payment location. The marché would be one of a number of eateries in the center food court on Concourse E, which along with Concourse F handles international flights.

Some other airports have marchés, and "we have decided that we need something like that here on our international concourse," said airport concessions manager Pat Armes.

Marchés are a trend that gives a sense of healthy selections in an open-market feel, according to airport concessionaire Paradies Lagardère, which operates Long Beach Marché at the Long Beach, Calif. airport.

"It's sort of like your Whole Foods, but just more of an open space," said Hartsfield-Jackson concessions development manager Deven Judd. "We want to give [passengers] an experience when they come to the airport, especially [with] Concourse E  being connected to our international terminal."

Hartsfield-Jackson aims to open new restaurants on Concourse E by early next year, with the current contracts set to expire soon.

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

More than 100 concessionaires and other business representatives attended a meeting Thursday to learn about the Concourse E airport concessions contracts.

Among those interested in expanding to the world's busiest airport is Chicago-based Garrett Popcorn Shops, which is known for caramel-flavored and cheese-flavored popcorn and has opened outlets at Lenox Square Mall and the Mall of Georgia.

"We've been trying to get into Hartsfield for about four or five years," said Garrett Popcorn Shops vice president Jack Aiello, noting "just the sheer volume" of customers.