O'Hare Airport Restaurant Week

Partnering with Concessionaires/Service Providers

Chicago is a culinary mecca for visionary chefs and restaurateurs, and the "Chicago food scene," a large tourist attraction in its own right. O'Hare serves as the gateway to the City of Big Shoulders. Years ago The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), the first in the industry, started opening local celebrity dining establishments at the airport, offering tastes of Chicago on a daily bases. Promoting the Chicago experience at the airport, helps the airport, tourism, and strengthens "Chicago" appeal, especially to the 50% of O'Hare passengers who make connections, never leaving the airport.

Focusing on Chicago's rich culinary experience, and borrowing from the downtown Chicago Restaurant Week success, O'Hare created and developed a program to showcase the best of Chicago food and airport chefs during an event: "Airport Restaurant Week" at O'Hare.

From January 22 through February 14, 2016, the 21-day event activities featured:

* 26 food demonstrations/tastings by O'Hare restaurants and celebrity chefs.

The chef from Billy Goat Tavern & Grill, an establishment who gained world-recognition via a favorite Saturday Night Live skit, demonstrated "Cheezeborger with chips...no fries," and resident Sushi Chef Susumu Shibata, from Wicker Park Seafood & Sushi impressed crowds with sushi rolls, while audiences learned how to make guacamole from our Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless chef.

Food Celebrities and local culinary experts also made special appearances at the event.

* A special Ticket to Taste event invited the non-flying public to a special night to dine the top restaurants at O'Hare.

* Participating airport restaurants offered special menus, promotional pricing and featured items.

* 20-page, 21 Recipe Book featuring dishes from Chicago airport chefs/dining establishments. (An online version of the Recipe Book was also made available.)

* Strongly branded specialty items of Bamboo Spoon Sets and Cutting Boards promoted the event message.

*Promotional efforts included in-airport signs and column wraps, website, social media platforms, TV segments, radio, and impressive event stage. http://www.flychicago.com/AirportRestaurantWeek

For thousands of O'hare passengers, the event was perfect to build culinary excitement, tempt tummies and taste the city's culinary delights. Keeping the airport food scene top of mind.

Entry Statement

1. Project Goals: 

Project Goals:

O'Hare Airport Restaurant Week, was scheduled to coincide with Chicago Restaurant Week, capitalizing on the excitement of Chicago's foodie scene, and inform the flying public of the great Chef inspired restaurants at O'Hare.

To provide marketing vehicles that highlight our talented chefs, impressive food offerings, and varied lineup of dining establishments.

To create a lasting memory trigger for passengers via the promotional , which would bring to mind positive recollections of their culinary experience at O'Hare. Recipe books typically, are long lasting informational tools that are treasured and kept. The O'Hare Recipe Book will serve as a great promotional tool of goodwill for years to come.

The goal of the Ticket to Taste open-to-the-public night was to invite the local general public to experience O'Hare's exceptional lineup of great dining establishments.

To increase concessions sales at O'Hare.

2. Production: 

The event effort was created with a combined effort by the Chicago Department of Aviation, creative consultant GSS Creative, and Unison Retail Management, which provides retail concessions management consultation for O'Hare.

Food demonstrations/tastings were offered by various O'Hare restaurants and celebrity chefs, from two stages, one in the domestic terminal and a stage in T5 international terminal.

The campaign was promoted in:

* Media Alerts

* On-airport signage/housing flyers in pockets

* Column Wraps

* Table Tents

* Website & Social Media Posts

* iHeart Radio mentions

* Food & Beverage concessionaire coverage on a popular TV segments

* Coverage in AirChicago magazine

*2,000 20-page Recipe Books touted 21 recipes from both Chicago airport concessionaires; which was also available online at http://www.flychicago.com/AirportRestaurantWeek

* Bamboo Spoon Set & Cutting Board promotional items

* Impressive Cooking Demonstration stage complete with professional cooking table, stage backdrop, 550 sq. ft. of carpeting, benches, illuminated EAT sign, and 850 pieces of display vegetables and fruits in crates and baskets.

3. Evaluation: 

Airport Restaurant Week at O'Hare brought an air of excitement, for concessionaires, passengers and the local community.

A comprehensive signage program that was seen throughout the airport, on table tents, counter cards, column wraps, banners, flyers, floor signs, security bins, overhead signs, online and more, supported the event throughout the whole airport. The large demonstration areas complete with carpeting, 20' long x 15' high stage backdrop, professional cooking table and audience benches gave an impressive sense of "place" for the cooking demonstrations, exemplifying the fact that O'Hare dining establishments are home to expert chefs, well-thought-out menus and people who really know "food." The campaign showed all...O'Hare is serious about food.

Our resident chefs were delighted to be featured at the demonstrations and highlighted in the Recipe Book as well, sharing their love of cooking with an interested and engaged audience! Many passengers followed the printed recipes while watching the demonstration, and asked questions about the recipes during presentations.

Celebrity Foodies including Bill Kurtis, owner of Tallgrass Beef, and vendor to concessionaire America's Dog, kicked off the demo schedule, and Alpana Singh, host-emeritus of a popular Chicago food series, conducted a wine tasting featuring wines available at airport locations. Alpana's Airport Restaurant Week demonstration and film footage of airport Concessionaires was featured in TV show segments of: Chicago native Colleen Kelly, producer/star of the popular PBS travel show, Family Travel with Colleen Kelly, as well mentions in the WGN show "24/7".

A total of 26 demonstrations enticed passenger and employee audiences numbering over a thousand.

Outside airport coverage included Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Choose Chicago, Eater, Global Traveler.

The Ticket to Taste event registration filled in a matter of minutes, and the night's event featuring live music, food demonstrations, wine tastings, special pricing and of course delicious food was a fantastic evening for all attendees.

The promotional items of bamboo Spoon Set and Cutting Boards brought immediate and hopefully long-lasting, delight to passengers.

Food Concessions locations sales increased for the months of January and February by 4.5%.

4. Budget: 

300 Table Tents, 800 Counter Cards, 1000 Flyers = $4,620
2,000 Recipe Books = $3,580
1,100 Bamboo Spoon Sets = $7,117
1,000 Bamboo Cutting Boards = $5,500
Misc. Twine, Labels = $ 789
Labor assemble = $5,000
26 Column Wraps & 75 Banners = $9,600
Set Build & install = $18,000
Creative= $17,000
Portion of TV Show segments $ 2,000
iHeart Radio mentions/ AirChicago Magazine $No Cost
Security Bin placement/Zeus Screen placement $No Cost
TOTAL= $73,206