Airports never seem to run out of lines. Security, bathrooms and even quick-service restaurants can have anxiety-inducing waits.
But one Houston company is working to make that sandwich a true grab-and-go experience. The Grab app allows travelers to pre-order their food, and it recently raised a multi-million-dollar Series A fundraising round to expand into additional airports.
“We’re all about creating a better experience,” said CEO Mark Bergsrud, “relieving stress and providing better access to stores.”
Grab was founded in 2014 by former Continental Airlines executives. It unveiled mobile ordering at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in late 2015, and it’s now available in 37 airports in the U.S. and U.K., including Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas.
The app allows users to search for restaurants by cuisine or location. They browse the menus, make a selection and then pay through the app. Travelers receive a notification when the food is ready for pick up at that restaurant.
This helps travelers get their food more quickly, but it also benefits the restaurants.
“Customers, when they’re not under pressure and they have a nice visual display of a menu and can see all the customizations and add-ons, they spend a little bit more money,” Bergsrud said.
The Grab service can be accessed through American Airlines’ app, and the company is hoping to partner with additional airlines.
In addition to mobile ordering, Grab has installed self-ordering kiosks at some airport restaurants. It also has a sit-down experience where travelers can use their mobile phone (not needing to download an app) to order food, drinks and dessert in a more leisurely fashion. When it’s time to catch their plane, they can quickly pay and go.
“By deploying all three products at different types of restaurant concepts,” Bergsrud said, “we’re meeting the needs of different customers.”
The company will use its recent financing, raised from London-based Collinson, a company specializing in loyalty and benefit programs, to expand into additional airports, restaurants and retail stores.
“We’re on the way,” he said. “We’re very eager to be at both Intercontinental and Hobby.”
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