Press Releases

Mar 2, 2023

Airport Experience News Honors HMSHost in Multiple Categories at 2023 AX Awards Ceremony

HMSHost Vice President of Strategic Alliances Ron Gomes Receives Prestigious 2023 AX Icon award for distinguished career championing Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise partners

BETHESDA, Maryland (March 2, 2023) – During last night’s annual AX Awards Gala held at the Airport Experience Conference in Denver, Airport Experience News honored global restaurateur HMSHost in several categories for its industry leadership in creating dining for travel venues.

HMSHost’s recognitions include:

  • Best Casual Dining Concept
    • Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar – Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
  • Best Local-Inspired Restaurant – Medium/Small Airports
    • Emeril’s Table – Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

“HMSHost is honored to accept these esteemed award recognitions. None of them would have been possible without the strong airport, culinary, and small business partnerships we have across the country, and without the incredible work of our associates who serve travelers every day,” said HMSHost President & CEO Steve Johnson.

Airport Experience News also named HMSHost Vice President of Strategic Alliances Ron Gomes the 2023 AX Icon, a prestigious annual award honoring a lifetime of dedication to the industry. Melissa K. Montes, vice president and publisher of Airport Experience News, celebrated Gomes’ work championing Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) partners, saying “his influence has been felt throughout the entire airport concessions industry and will continue to resonate in the coming years.”

“Spending the last 17 years championing minority entrepreneurs while building HMSHost’s Strategic Alliances program into one of the top in the nation has been a joy and the highlight of my career,” Gomes told Airport Experience News. “I am deeply touched by this recognition and accept the AX Icon award humbly on behalf of the 120 ACDBE partners and industry colleagues I have been honored to work with. I have tremendous respect for those who paved a path for me in this industry and for those who will continue to support this mission for years to come.”

About HMSHost’s AX Awards Honorees:

  • Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar: Located in Terminal 1, Concourse C, near gate C2 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Rocco’s Tacos is a South Florida staple evoking authentic Mexican flavors, a fun, lively atmosphere, and fast, quality service featuring HMSHost’s QR code order-and-pay technology. Of course, the tacos are just half the name. The tequila bar at Rocco’s Tacos is unmatched and the list of quality, exotic, and niche varieties is sure to impress even the most discerning connoisseur.
  • Emeril’s Table: When HMSHost was preparing to bring a new lineup of dining options to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), a fresh concept from culinary icon Emeril Lagasse made perfect sense. Located near gate B10, Emeril’s Table features a menu of delicious New Orleans classics that delight visitors and Louisiana natives alike, like Emil’s Gumbo Ya-Ya, a rich, velvety stew swimming with smoked chicken and andouille sausage, or any of the loaded Po'Boy sandwiches.

HMSHost Leading the Industry

HMSHost is recognized by the industry as the leader in travel dining with awards such as Restaurateur with the Highest Regard for Customer Service and Best Brand Restaurateur for Shake Shack by Airport Experience News. USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards gave first place honors to both of HMSHost’s Whisky River locations at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Raleigh-Durham International Airport. ACI-NA, the trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada, recognized HMSHost with the 2020 Associate Inclusion Champion Award for leadership and achievement in the ongoing inclusion of business and workforce diversity, outreach, and advocacy. Additionally, ACI-NA awarded HMSHost the 2022 Excellence in Airport Concessions Award for the Best Employee Recognition Program. The company also creates original, award-winning events and campaigns including Airport Restaurant Month, Channel Your Inner Chef live culinary contest, 1,000 Acts of Kindness, and Eat Well. Travel Further.

About HMSHost
Global restaurateur HMSHost is a world leader in creating dining for travel venues. HMSHost operates locations all over North America, and is part of Dufry Group (SIX: DUFN –, the leading travel experience player worldwide that uniquely combines retail, food & beverage and digital. The group serves 2.3 billion passengers in more than 75 countries in 5,500 outlets across 1,200 airports, motorways, cruise lines, seaports, railway stations and other locations across six continents. Visit for more information and connect with HMSHost on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.