A Conversation with Marlene Coleman
Director, Strategic Alliances
When managing the concessions program at the world’s busiest airport, Marlene Coleman once thought concessions was a very lucrative business — “almost to the point where you think concessionaires are printing cash.” Since joining Areas USA, she now realizes that is a false impression. She now realizes that airport concessions teams see only sales and rent. Marlene now realizes that the airport perspective is “out of balance because there are so many other costs.”
Marlene has come to learn that concessions is “a very complex and costly business.” When at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, she would approve concessions plans if a sample P&L showed a profit. That was her airport point of view. Her view from the concessions side: “it’s not just the bottom line. It’s also maintaining the operation on a daily basis and maintaining the cash flow.” She notes concessionaires “have to make serious choices in other areas on how you’re going to maintain and manage those costs.” Further, in our post-Covid environment, “there’s not going to be a lot of room for us to grow financially if we don’t start to adjust.” Why is growth important? It’s the fuel all businesses need to sustain themselves – in this case, to sustain the passenger travel experience.
Here are three key takeaways from our conversation with Marlene that everyone in our industry – concessionaires and airports – will appreciate:
These are just three takeaways. Throughout our conversation, Marlene argues a compelling case to adjust our industry’s business framework. We encourage you to watch, listen to, or read our interesting and informative conversation at the following links:
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