Atlanta sends back Hartsfield-Jackson restaurant proposals

The city of Atlanta is tossing out proposals for a batch of new restaurants at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, delaying the opening of new concessions.

The city said 40 percent of the proposals were “fatally flawed” because they were missing E-Verify documents required by the state to ensure newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States.

The airport was seeking proposals for five concessions and a food court on Concourse C, hamburger outlets on Concourses A and B and a coffee concession on Concourse A. It attracted 27 proposals from companies including SSP America, Mack II, Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, HMSHost, Buckhead Life Group, Concessions International and H&H Hospitality, among others.

The burger concessions alone had attracted proposals from outlets including Shake Shack, Five Guys and McDonald’s.

The city said the vacant concessions locations do not cost the airport revenue because travelers have many other options for food and beverages at Hartsfield-Jackson.

“The purpose of this concessions procurement is to enhance the flying public’s experience at Hartsfield-Jackson,” a city spokesperson said. “A reduction in competition does not serve that purpose. Thus, it is in the best interest of the city to cancel the concessions procurement at this time.”

The city said it is seeking assistance from state and federal entities to train vendors on completing the E-Verify forms.

It’s not the first time the city has canceled a concessions contracting process. In 2011, the city canceled a massive bid process that was to revamp restaurants throughout Hartsfield-Jackson and prepare for the 2012 opening of the international terminal. Forty-one of the 95 proposals submitted had problems with forms that ensure the legal status of workers. It turned out that two of the companies that later won contracts — Delaware North and Paradies Atlanta — had made errors in the first round of proposals that would have disqualified them had the city not canceled and restarted the process.