GCG : Flavorful Connections

Scarlett BurkeLauren Kania
Scarlett Burke - Head of Projects Lauren Kania - Editor
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At A Glance
  • GCG is a leading strategic partner that offers personalized and comprehensive solutions across the aviation, industrial, institutional, and culinary sectors.
  • GCG’s adaptability and dynamic service offerings are evident through its four businesslines - sky dining, airport dining, aviation support, and culinary.
  • GCG is reshaping airport dining into a delightful journey for travelers worldwide through several key innovations, technological advancements, and culinary prowess.
  • "We prioritize using high-quality ingredients, providing digital solutions, and maintaining culinary excellence led by renowned chefs," says Bruno Barrientos, COO of GCG.

A trusted partner and one-stop shop for the airline and aviation industries, alongside other corporate customers, GCG has led the way in food and beverage for 70 years. Bruno Barrientos, COO, tells us more.

FLAVORFUL CONNECTIONS

Food and beverage is a constantly changing industry, driven by what people want – more sustainability, better health options, and greater convenience.” 

This sentiment, as voiced by Bruno Barrientos, COO of GCG, rings true as the world begins to shift towards more modern, eco-friendly, and nutritious food options. 

One of the most prominent locations where this dietary transition can be observed is in the fast-paced, ever-busy environment of an airport. 

GCG, a leading strategic partner that offers personalized and comprehensive solutions across the aviation, industrial, institutional, and culinary sectors, is paving the way for this cultural shift one airport at a time. 

Operating in 22 countries and 30 cities across the US, Caribbean, and Latin America, the company’s history dates back to the 1950s, from which it has evolved into its current status as a multinational organization. 

“We are committed to delivering exceptional food and travel experiences that enhance every customer’s journey,” attests Barrientos. 

“Personalization and flexibility are key for ensuring we meet our customers’ specific needs and goals. We don’t adhere to a one-size-fits-all approach; our standard is defined by exceptional quality and the tailored objectives we achieve for each customer.” 

The company’s adaptability and dynamic service offerings are evident through its four businesslines – sky dining, airport dining, aviation support, and culinary.   

Sky dining, specifically, specializes in providing onboard dining experiences; airport dining manages airport restaurant concessions tailored to passenger needs and tastes; aviation support encompasses a full range of airport ground services; and culinary offers catering services to both public and private institutions. 

“Our success is driven by a multicultural team of over 5,500 members, each specializing in diverse technical and administrative roles, with a constant focus on personalization,” details Barrientos. 

With a client base that includes major airports, top-tier airlines, multinational companies, and governmental institutes, GCG is committed to delivering strategies and tools that meet customers’ needs and propel them into the future with confidence and clarity.

BUSINESS-CRITICAL TURNKEY SOLUTIONS

Having worked in the restaurant industry since the very beginning of his profession, Barrientos found himself exposed to the airline catering industry in Central America before moving to Florida, where his career at GCG’s headquarters took flight. 

Quickly following this, the company executed a diversification strategy to become a stronger partner for its airline customers and provide an alternative to onboard meals for passengers, offering convenient solutions at airports in the Latin American and Caribbean regions. 

“The growth, development, and interest in the food and beverage industry was my main career project and where I started the journey that is now being executed and led by a fantastic team of executives and team members,” prides Barrientos. 

Currently, GCG is experiencing an exciting time as a dynamic environment propels the company to continuously innovate and develop new solutions. 

By adapting its culinary, sky dining, and airport dining services around its customers’ evolving needs, the company is aiming to enhance its various airline experiences offered across public and private institutions, airports, and onboard services. 

“We’re thrilled by the opportunities ahead and are dedicated to offering our customers new, innovative options that elevate their dining experiences.” 

GCG has been able to maintain its reputation for providing exceptional dining services that complement the luxury and convenience of modern air travel over the course of its 70-year history due to its constant attention to customers’ needs and desires. 

“We prioritize using high-quality ingredients, providing digital solutions, and maintaining culinary excellence led by renowned chefs. Our offerings are meticulously crafted to appeal to the diverse tastes of global travelers, blending local flavors with international cuisines,” expands Barrientos. 

With a strong emphasis on customization, GCG’s added value lies in its flexibility and capability to create bespoke solutions that cater to the airport’s demands and optimally address the preferences and needs of their passenger base, considering timing, local context, and operational specifications. 

SOLUTIONS BEYOND COMPARE

GCG is currently working toward reshaping airport dining into a delightful journey for travelers worldwide through several key innovations, technological advancements, and culinary prowess. 

This includes cultural immersion and local cuisine, sustainability initiatives, digital menus and ordering systems, contactless payments and services, and smart ordering and pick-up solutions. 

“By integrating these trend-setting approaches and leveraging technology to its fullest potential, we are reshaping airport dining into a truly memorable experience for travelers,” highlights Barrientos. 

These initiatives can be seen within the company’s key projects, such as the recent acquisition of the operations of an international food company in Colombia, marking a significant milestone in GCG’s strategic expansion. 

“We have introduced new catering production facilities that serve leading national and international airlines across major Colombian cities,” Barrientos points out. 

“This project is pivotal as it fortifies our regional footprint and advances our service offerings to meet the growing demands of our clientele.” 

Additionally, the company has secured a new concession contract at Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten, allowing it to launch five new locations and a VIP lounge within the airport’s recently renovated, mega yacht-inspired food court. 

“Our aim with this project is to craft unique dining experiences that reflect St. Maarten’s rich culinary tradition while catering to the diverse tastes of travelers. This initiative aligns with our goal to become the preferred partner in airport dining, setting new standards for excellence and customer service.”   

Both projects are testament to GCG’s commitment to growth and ability to provide high-quality, tailored dining solutions across the region. 

Alongside its culinary and dining offerings, the company provides ground handling services through its aviation support business line – a key component of GCG’s comprehensive capabilities. 

The company provides a range of services including baggage handling, aircraft cleaning, cargo management, and passenger assistance, with the goal of ensuring the efficient and smooth operation of airport logistics, elevating the traveler experience and operational efficiency, and becoming an integral solution for all commercial airlines, private aviation, and local customers. 

“As we look to the future, we plan to expand our ground handling services into new markets, enhancing our reach and capability. This expansion is aligned with our broader business strategy of growth and innovation,” insights Barrientos.

A HIGH-FLYING FUTURE

One of the most crucial components to GCG’s success and longevity is the relationships it maintains with suppliers and partners. 

“We collaborate with over 2,000 partners, which is essential for maintaining a steady, high-quality supply of materials and services across our business lines,” explains Barrientos. 

“These partnerships enable us to manage costs, drive innovation, ensure compliance with regulatory standards, and enhance operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.” 

Equally as important to the company’s core values are GCG’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices, which strengthen its overall operational sustainability and positively impact the communities in which it operates. 

“We are dedicated to environmental conservation and implement practices that minimize our ecological footprint,” asserts Barrientos. 

Notably, the company has recently expanded its renewable energy efforts in the Caribbean, with photovoltaic (PV) systems installed across seven countries totaling 1.3 megawatts. 

GCG’s commitment extends beyond environmental efforts to substantial community involvement. It works closely with local farmers, communities, and suppliers to support sustainable agriculture by providing the necessary resources and training to improve their livelihoods. 

“We also focus on food security by providing meals to communities in need, especially during emergencies or disasters,” continues Barrientos. 

Through these diverse activities, GCG aims to positively impact society while fostering a culture of responsibility and sustainability within the company. 

As GCG continues to look ahead to the coming years, it is entering into a phase of evolution as a brand and company, seeking to expand into new regional and international markets. 

A key focus will be enhancing its digital offerings, alongside the exciting announcement of an upcoming launch of an e-commerce platform. 

“We remain committed to integrating sustainable practices throughout our operations, ensuring that our growth aligns with our environmental responsibilities. 

“These strategic priorities are designed to strengthen our market position while maintaining our focus on personalization and excellence, and offering our customers integral solutions with multiple services,” concludes Barrientos.

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By Scarlett Burke Head of Projects
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Scarlett Burke sources the collaborations with business leaders, brands, and C-suite executives that feature in Food & Beverage Outlook Magazine. Scarlett is actively seeking collaborations for future editions.
By Lauren Kania Editor
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Lauren Kania is an in-house writer for Food & Beverage Outlook Magazine, where she is responsible for interviewing corporate executives and crafting original features for the magazine, corporate brochures, and the digital platform.