MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Anyone who travels by plane knows the food and drink is generally pricier at the airport than what you’d find in a store. So, that had Dan from Coon Rapids wanting to know: Why does stuff cost more at the airport? Good Question.

“The first reason is because they can,” says George John, a professor of marketing at the Carlson School of Management. “They have a captive audience with fewer choices.”

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But, John also points out it takes more money to operate a business inside the airport compared to outside.

According to Patrick Hogan, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, MSP allows vendors to charge 10 percent over what local malls would charge for the same or similar product. He says that’s because of the higher costs.

“The guest, or the traveler, is enjoying their organic omelet or their organic coffee and they have no idea what goes on behind,” says Lynn Gordon, owner of French Meadow in Uptown and on Grand Avenue. She doesn’t own, by rather partners with French Meadow at the airport.

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There are several extra costs to consider. There’s very little on-site storage, which makes for less efficiency. Vendors must pay to get security badges for their employees. They must also pay a fee to cover the costs of securing and operating the loading dock.

Gordon says deliveries that would normally take minutes to a restaurant could take hours to the airport.

“It could be a long time depending on who’s there, how backed up it us and if they have to check it,” she says. “It’s a big process.”

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Hogan says the rent at the airport is structured differently compared to venues outside. Vendors must pay a minimum annual guarantee and a percentage of revenue to the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC). The MAC uses that money as part of its operating revenue because it doesn’t receive money from the state’s general fund.

Heather Brown