When Technomic last published its roundup of top MCOs in 2011, HMSHost was not on the list. But the concessionaire—and airport dining, in general—has been on quite a journey since. Today, HMSHost describes itself as a “global restaurateur,” with 300-plus airport and highway plaza spots attracting $2.8 billion in revenues. 

Few operators on this year’s list are as prolific. Every month seems to bring an announcement of a new culinary partnership or opening—be it one of its proprietary brands or an airport outpost of a local favorite.

Innovation is at the center of HMSHost’s service model. Its mobile app and countless tech partnerships make dining on the go fast and convenient.

The MCO sees its airport concepts as no different than street-side brick and mortars. An aeroponic garden inside Chicago’s O’Hare supplies fresh produce to its restaurants and space for special events. And the time crunch of travelers doesn’t stop the operator from using the same sales-boosting tactics as other restaurants, including Pokemon Go and Restaurant Week promotions.

Concepts: 1897 Market, Barcuterie, Beaudevin, Bubbles Wine Bar, Dallas Cowboys Club, Ice Dishes and Drinks, La Tapenade, MKT, PGA Tour Grill, Pork & Pickle, Pyramid Ale Taproom, PZA, Shula’s, The Local, UmaiZushi, Whisky River, Wicker Park Seafood & Sushi