Southend Airport has opened Laker Bar & Restaurant in a bid to encourage passengers to extend their stay at the airport and make the most of the terminal experience.
The 180 cover restaurant is located in the newly extended terminal and is the first bar and restaurant offer available at the airport since its rapid growth over the past year.
Premier Hospitality caught up with Paul Davies, Commercial Finance Manager at Southend Airport; who has been seconded to the airport to oversee non aviation commercial activities from Stobart Group for the project, to find out more about the venue. The venue was officially unveiled on Good Friday this year. Paul commented:
“Southend Airport has seen over one million passengers pass through its doors in a short space of time. With this in mind we were aware that the food and drink offer was limited and that we needed a bar and restaurant offering.
“The terminal extension was completed in February 2014 and so we had the space for the new venue; it was then that we began planning for this project. We worked with Colchester-based GS Contracts on the design of the unit on a design and build contract basis. We held a lot of meetings with them and when we got to the stage where we were happy with the layout began work on site mid way through January.”
An in house designer at Stobart Group undertook the design of the brand logo, the look and feel of the unit, as well as the finishing touches to the venue alongside interior designers Ast Designs, who are based in Penrith, Cumbria.
It was a race against time for the team to deliver the project in time for the projected completion date of Good Friday. Paul added:
“We were still putting the finishing touches to the venue very early on Friday morning but managed to open on 4am Good Friday. Our project manager Samantha Petrie and GS Contracts have worked together superbly; I can’t speak highly enough of GS Contracts as I don’t believe we would have delivered the scheme in the time we did using another contractor.
“The time was definitely the biggest hurdle as I was under pressure with regards to revenue streams to open in time for Easter.”
The venue has been constructed with the scope for growth meaning it can be extended further past its perimeter wall at a later date if the venue gets more popular.
During the works the team hoarded the area off from the main terminal and only unveiled the space on the day of opening. This meant that the team were able to keep the space as a land side venue until the very last moment ensuring that passenger disruption was kept very low.
On the final day of works the team undertook a security sweep, emptied the building, blocked off the airside entrance and switched Laker Bar & Restaurant into an airside facility over night in time for the official launch.
Paul said the feedback has been very positive since the venue opened. He added:
“People are so used to viewing Southend Airport as an airport to navigate through quickly that we now ensure passengers get here earlier, use the new facilities and experience the terminal.
“Working on this project has been very satisfying; from being involved with the initial discussions to seeing the venue as it is today has given me and others in the team a real sense of achievement. The idea we had at the outset is very different to what we have now and what has been delivered is far and away beyond the expectations of most people. To be here for the opening and see it thriving and buzzing was a real positive for us all.”
Astaura Architectural Finishes
Astaura Architectural Finishes is one of the UK’s leading producers of large format 3M DI-NOC digitally printed graphics and architectural finishes for interior and exterior design. The company works with designers and architects, as well as private clients and those in the retail, educational and marketing sectors, to create bespoke, wall, glass and wood designs, films and finishes. In addition, Astaura Architectural Finishes also specialises in the provision of exceptional graphics for visual merchandising and brand communications.
Working on the Lakers Bar project, Astaura Architectural Finishes worked closely with London Southend Airport to custom design and install the internal finishes within the bar. The overall concept included a combination of digital wall coverings, 3M DI-NOC wall finishes and stainless, built up, illuminated lettering. The Astaura Architectural Finishes design team also created a unique picture wall comprising of ornate frames to give the interior some added opulence.
Astaura Architectural Finishes’ General Manager, Emma Sowerby, said:
“Using top quality 3M DI-NOC films, applied by our skilled team of nationwide fitters, we can transform surfaces of all sizes, shapes and curvatures, offering unlimited creative flexibility, innovative decorating ideas and inspiring architectural freedom.”
“We make every surface a creative opportunity.”