[Note: This story was published in the March 2014 issue of Fast Company.]
By Jacob Muselmann
You're hungry, your phone's dead, and you just survived a brutal security line. The last thing you deserve is a heat-lamped personal-pan pizza. With a winning mix of design, technology, and local flair, OTG is rapidly reshaping the airport experience. Its terminal refreshes in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Orlando, Toronto, and five other markets put iPads at 80% of gate seats, the better to order from the nearby dining and bar options. In Toronto, for example, OTG recently worked with locally renowned chefs to add Japanese and Indian restaurants in two terminals, and a local sommelier picked wines from the region for the airport's two Vinifera wine bars. "We don't cookie-cutter anything out," says CEO Rick Blatstein. "Our restaurants are unique to each city."
The results have taken flight: OTG has grown 71% since spending $50 million to outfit terminals with iPads, and last year was the biggest ever for the 18-year-old company, opening 39 new stores to give it 214 total. And while passengers in the top 50 U.S. airports spend about $6.25 on average before boarding, those in OTG–designed terminals plunk down $8.94—a 43% bump.