Press Releases

Dec 1, 2016

HMSHost and Starbucks Coffee Company Celebrate 25-Year Partnership at First Airport Location in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

SEATTLE — Twenty-five years ago, global restaurateur HMSHost and Starbucks Coffee Company came together to open the first Starbucks® in an airport. Today, representatives from HMSHost, Starbucks Coffee Company, and the Port of Seattle gathered at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport – the first Starbucks licensed location – to celebrate and toast the milestone. The group toasted with the new seasonal Starbucks® Spiced Sweet Cream Nariño 70 Cold Brew.

“HMSHost is thrilled to celebrate 25 truly exceptional years of partnership with Starbucks delivering high-quality coffee, food, and beverages to HMSHost’s many loyal guests,” said HMSHost President and CEO Steve Johnson. “As a result of this unique partnership with HMSHost, the availability of Starbucks for travelers has expanded greatly over the years, reaching all corners of the continent. We thank Starbucks and the Port of Seattle for the commitment they had to HMSHost back in 1991 to bring the first Starbucks into an airport. We are excited to continue this legacy together as HMSHost further refines the modern travel experience.”

“Through our licensed business partnerships, we strive to provide our customers access to the Starbucks Experience wherever they are, including in airport terminals throughout North America,” said John Culver, Starbucks group president global retail. “Today, we are thrilled to celebrate our 25-year business partnership with HMSHost and Sea-Tac Airport, where our licensed store business began, and, moreover, celebrate the partners who have been wearing the Starbucks green apron at Sea-Tac from the beginning.”

“Sea-Tac Airport prides itself in the many locally owned businesses that operate in the country’s fastest growing large hub airport and as Starbucks has grown to become an international leader, we’re proud to have been the birthplace of its airport operations,” said Sea-Tac Port of Seattle President John Creighton. “We look forward in the future to making Starbucks at Sea-Tac a showcase spot for coffee lovers from around the globe who want to taste that very famous Pacific Northwest brew.”

Having access and convenience to Starbucks® locations at airports and travel plazas seems essential to the high service standards that have come to be known and expected by modern travelers. Today, through an exclusive relationship, HMSHost proudly operates nearly 400 North American Starbucks® locations in roughly 80 airports and 100 motorway travel plazas. HMSHost pioneered the concept of opening popular brands in airports and continues to lead this practice today by building and maintaining relationships with top national, local, regional, and celebrity chef-driven brands.

Together, HMSHost and Starbucks have brought access to many elements of the Starbucks Experience to travelers such as Starbucks® Evenings at locations including Washington Dulles International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Tampa International Airport; the Starbucks® Reserve portfolio at Tampa International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport; and a Starbucks® Mobile Truck at the Molly Pitcher service area on the New Jersey Turnpike.

HMSHost is also a supporting corporate partner in the Starbucks® 100K Opportunities Initiative, a Starbucks® initiative comprised of dozens of leading companies working towards the collective goal of engaging at least 100,000 opportunity youth by 2018 through apprenticeships, internships, training programs, and part or full time employment. HMSHost participated in four 100K Opportunities Initiative job fairs in Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Seattle. As of September 2016, HMSHost made 3,550 hires, surpassing first-year goals and working towards a three-year target of 5,000 hires.

HMSHost also places a significant focus on environmental concerns at the Starbucks® stores it operates and within HMSHost’s startsomewhere® sustainability program, used coffee grounds are either recycled or composted from many locations. In 2015, 5.7 million pounds of coffee grounds were diverted from landfills.

HMSHost continues to lead in its industry by always being at the forefront of demands in the restaurant and travel industries. Throughout the years, HMSHost and Starbucks have achieved noteworthy operational success, receiving numerous awards from influential industry authorities including Airports Council International-North America and Airport Revenue News. Notably, in April 2016, Starbucks® Evenings at Los Angeles International Airport placed for Best New National Brand Concept by Airports Council International-North America and Airport Revenue News named Starbucks® the Best Airport & Concessionaire Awards – Large Food Operator Division: Best Food & Beverage Brand Operator.

Brenda Canady-Valbush(L), Keri Krokenes-Williams(R): Two of the original baristas who opened the first Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Starbucks® store in 1991 and who continue to ensure it provides outstanding guest service. They were given special recognition at the event by HMSHost’s President and CEO Steve Johnson and EVP and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Yablun.

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 Autogrill Group, the world's leading provider of food & beverage services for people on the move. Visit for more information.