John Wayne Airport seeks to revamp terminal concessions with offerings unique to O.C.

John Wayne Airport travelers line up at Hudson News, which operates under a concessionaire's agreement set to expire.
(Courtesy of John Wayne Airport)

John Wayne Airport is soliciting interest among local shops, restaurants and food and beverage suppliers as the facility seeks to revamp its concession offerings with brands that embrace local flavors and represent Orange County’s diversity.

Officials plan to submit a request for proposals from area businesses to bring new products to the airport starting in January 2024. An informational meeting will take place Thursday, during which business owners can learn more about the opportunities available.

JWA Airport Director Charlene Reynolds explained most of the retail, food and beverage concessions currently featured in the airport are provided through a master concessionaire’s agreement with Maryland-based HMSHost that will soon end.

A bar at John Wayne Airport operates under a concessionaire's agreement that will soon expire.
A bar at John Wayne Airport operates under a concessionaire’s agreement that will soon expire, leading officials to seek new operators.
(Courtesy of John Wayne Airport)

The site will revamp about 80% of its concessions plans to contract with at least three to four prime concessionaires, along with individual businesses willing to comply with federal regulations and insurance requirements.

Reynolds said Friday the airport is looking for offerings unique to Orange County that incorporate a sense of place for travelers who use the terminal.

“We want the airport to be seen as a premier shopping and food experience,” she said. “We’d like the architecture to be reflective of Orange County and some of its renowned tourist attractions or its cultural icons.”

John Wayne Airport is also looking for opportunities to introduce touchless technology that would allow travelers to preorder items prior to their arrival and then pick them up, or purchase items automatically without having to check out.

Travelers at John Wayne Airport line up at a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the terminal.
Travelers at John Wayne Airport line up at a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the terminal. The site’s concessions program will soon be revamped, airport officials said.
(Courtesy of John Wayne Airport)

“We’re starting to see more touchless technology and automation throughout airports, so it’s time to provide our guests the same level of experience they may have seen at other airports,” Reynolds said.

A passenger study conducted in August reported travelers to JWA were interested in seeing more Mexican food, craft burgers, pizza and healthy food options at the airport. They also expressed an interest in seeing high-end handbags and cosmetic items at retail shops.

Interested business owners, vendors and suppliers can meet with airport officials and learn more about the concession development program at Thursday’s meeting, which takes place from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Airport Commission Room, located at 3160 Airway Ave., Costa Mesa.

“These [agreements] are typically done in a 10-year contact, and these opportunities don’t come around that often,” she said. “I highly encourage local businesses to come out and find out more.”

For more information, visit To register for the meeting, visit

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