They got a meeting, and pitched the idea that they could license the Shake Shack concept and open a location at the world’s busiest airport.
"You got a couple of brothers in Atlanta talking about a startup called H&H Hospitality saying, 'We can do this too,'" Hazelton said.
By 2015, Hazelton and Holt's H&H Hospitality were competing for an airport contract with a Shake Shack licensing deal in hand.
By 2016, Atlanta-based H&H Hospitality in partnership with Atlanta-based Concessions International had won the contract for a location on Concourse A.
Then came a flurry of controversy amid a federal investigation into Atlanta City Hall, and some airport contracts were put on hold.
Shake Shack’s corporate management has been “very patient” over the last four years, Hazelton said. Eventually, the contract moved forward.
The airport Shake Shack opened last month.
At an event at the new location on Concourse A on Monday, Concessions International CEO Donata Russell Ross acknowledged “it was a long time coming.”
Now, the Shake Shack is one of the variety of burger choices at the airport, along with a recently-opened outpost of Bobby Flay's Bobby's Burger Palace, Grindhouse Killer Burgers, Five Guys, The Varsity, Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries, McDonald's and Burger King.