July 30 2021  |  Catering

Three caterers to operate United units in the US

By Rick Lundstrom

United Airlines is stepping out of the in-house catering business, with three caterers taking over operations at its five catering units in the United States, known for many years as Chelsea Food Services.

Newrest yesterday announced it has signed a Letter of Intention (LOI) with United to provide inflight catering at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

Today, gategroup announced it would provide food services for the United at three hubs in the United States: Newark Liberty International Airport, Denver International Airport, and Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu. At the airline’s catering operation in Cleveland a Canadian company called Sky Café has been reportedly picked.

Newrest has been working with United since 2008 providing inflight catering services in more than 10 countries and 20 cities worldwide. In 2018, Newrest entered the United States market.

“Being awarded the management of United Airlines inflight catering facility in Houston is a critical milestone for Newrest,” said, co-CEO of Newrest Group Olivier Sadran, in yesterday’s announcement. “Our ambition is to provide innovative solutions and enhance the current facility processes with the aim of achieving the highest level of satisfaction for United short and long-haul passengers while reducing our environmental impact. We are grateful for the trust of United on our ability to deliver.”

At the three airports, gategroup will develop a new onboard food experience that is “Uniquely United.” Through the development of a bespoke culinary collaboration, gategroup and United will establish Studio Ellen, a culinary think tank and community of local culinary talents and chefs brought together to interpret the United brand through the power of culinary experiences.

Studio Ellen will marry culinary creativity with cutting-edge innovation and the power of data to create experiences that exceed the expectations of every United guest,” said a release from gategroup.

“We are pleased to partner with such an esteemed carrier in United at the key hubs included in the agreement,” said Federico Germani, Chief Commercial and Operational Officer at gategroup. “United has consistently demonstrated a commitment to serving its passengers and our teams at each hub are eager to deliver the best possible experience to each of them. Furthermore, gategroup believes this important agreement is a strong indicator of the return of travel following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are fully committed to amplify the heart and soul of the United Airlines brand by bringing originality to every experience, every flight, every guest, and every day.”

The airline is taking other steps with its food service. On Wednesday, United announced it would be the first airline in the United States to offer a pre-order option for snacks and beverages from their app, up to five days before a passenger departs.

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