Pre-security eateries dwindling at SFO

Fliers at San Francisco International Airport could zip through security lines more quickly in the future because of the demise of eateries at the hub.

With increasing foot traffic and stricter security restrictions at the airport, more fliers are buying their food and drink within boarding areas, forcing the eateries outside security checkpoints to close down.

SFO officials say are considering using some of the vacated spaces to expand increasingly cluttered screening areas.

“We’re trying to adapt to accommodate the passengers,” SFO spokesman Mike McCarron said.

The number of fliers at Terminal 1 alone has increased by 24.5 percent during the last three years. Meanwhile, food and beverage sales outside the terminal’s screening area declined 20 percent, said Leo Fermin, deputy airport director for business and finance.

On the other hand, food and beverage sales are booming within the boarding areas at Terminal 1, with area B experiencing a nearly 60 percent increase and area C a 21.9 percent increase, Fermin said.

SFO maintains “the highest [food and beverage] sales per enplaned passenger in the country,” Fermin said.

“Overall our food and beverage program is doing very well,” he said.

But the change in buying patterns is forcing several food courts to close. Andale’s, Lori’s Diner, Just Desserts and Firewood are among the “pre-security” shops closing for “financial relief,” he said.

“We are looking at the spaces for a variety of other potential uses, one of which may be for expansion of security queuing areas,” Fermin said.

An empty space vacated by an eatery boarding area B has already been used to widen a checkpoint, McCarron said.

Not all the pre-security food options are being wiped out. The TGIFridays opposite from the food court at boarding area B, for example, will remain open, Fermin said. The same is true for the Just Desserts located around the corner from TGIFridays, he said.

Flying facts

3.6 million: People who landed at SFO from January 2010 through June 2010
3.4 million: People who landed at SFO from January 2010 through June 2009
5.7: Percent increase
406,022: International passengers who landed at SFO in June 2010
358,165: International passengers who landed at SFO in June 2009
13.9: Percent increase
82.5: Percent of hotels occupied in San Francisco, June 2010
74.7: Percent of hotels occupied in San Francisco, June 2009

Source: San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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