Pretty in pink: Aïda seeks international airport partners for flexible café concept

The new Aïda airport café design, dominated by the brand’s traditional pink decor, which can be adapted for spaces of 20-150sq m

AUSTRIA. Austria’s leading coffee and pastry shop chain Aïda has revealed to The Moodie Davitt Report a new airport café concept which the brand aims to bring to travel hubs worldwide.

Aïda is seeking commercial partners and opportunities for stores to be situated in 20-150sq m airport units, with the smaller spaces to be fully-equipped for as little as €90,000 (US$93,700).

A view of the modular Aïda airport café design with seating options inside and out

Dominated by the traditional pink colour scheme for which Aïda is famous in its home country, the new café store design also includes fixtures in brass, and elements that give a sense of the brand’s 109-year history.

Spaces  include cabinets for cake and pastry displays, snacks and gifting items, plus coffee machines and fixtures to dispense soft drinks, wine and draft beer.

International ambition: Aïda Executive Director Dominik Prousek is determined to take his brand to airports worldwide

Aïda – which operates more than 30 cafés in Vienna – currently has a three-store footprint in partnership with Lagardère Travel Retail at Vienna Airport. It also operates three other venues with the same partner across a train station in Graz and the city of Innsbruck.

The company’s Executive Director Dominik Prousek told The Moodie Davitt Report that these stores are generating “phenomenal” levels of return. These high levels of revenue performance were underlined when the initial Aïda Vienna Airport café exceeded its first annual target in 2019 inside just seven months.

Inside one of Aïda’s flagship cafés which are very popular with tourists in central Vienna 

Prousek noted the growing trend for takeaway food & beverage for travellers on the go. He saw the “huge potential” for smaller spaces to be successful when Aïda operated a pop-up store with just a cake display and coffee machine opposite the area where the brand’s latest Vienna Airport airside café was being constructed.

An alluring cake and pastry display inside one of Aïda’s 30+ cafés across Vienna

“We didn’t have any great expectations for the to-go pop-up,” said Prousek, who is the great grandson of Aïda founder Josef Prousek. “But we couldn’t believe the numbers the small shop did. The demand was overwhelming – passengers were happy to purchase cakes on cardboard with a plastic spoon and eat while they traversed the airport. That’s how the idea came about to create this design to be adaptable for the to-go version of the shops that we have.”

As COVID-19 travel restrictions have been lifted in the past 12 months, Prousek has been travelling extensively through airports outside Austria and has seen first hand many vacated commercial spaces which he feels would be ideal for an Aïda concept.

More views of Aïda’s new café design, which could find its way into international airports across the world

“When I was travelling, I saw that there’s a lot of free commercial spaces on airports, especially smaller ones in the 20-50 square metre range,” he said. “Seeing this, the idea came to me to create a modular Aida concept with an interior which can be adapted to the available space, a ‘plug and play’ option if you like. Once installed, the smaller spaces can be managed by a single employee per shift who can handle everything, to keep the costs low.

“Should the airport contract be short term in nature,” he added, “the fixtures of the store can be easily moved to a new location. What we have created can be installed for as little as €90,000 for a 20 square metre space.”

Sweet delights: Some of the cakes and pastries which have made Aïda famous in its home city of Vienna

A big part of Aïda’s success to date in the airport environment, according to Prousek, is the flagship pink colour scheme which makes the brand stand out. “Alongside our long-established reputation for quality products this makes us unique,” he said. “A lot of stores and eateries in airports look pretty much the same – our design and visually-striking product displays attracts you to enter and to explore what’s inside.

“Our food and beverage offer serves the demand of people throughout the day. You combine all of these factors with guaranteed substantial revenues, the great new designs and fast return on installation costs, and our concept is tailor-made for success in any airport environment.”

In 2020, The Moodie Davitt Report Senior Business Editor Mark Lane met with Dominik Prousek in Vienna for an insight into the world of Aïda. Read the article here

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