Air Asia Is Now Moving Into The Restaurant Business

It’s not an unknown idea for an airline to pivot off an area of their business into its own venture. Qantas has turned its points system into an insurance company, Icelandair’s destinations into a tour company and now, Air Asia’s onboard food into a restaurant chain.

That’s right, the CEO of Air Asia wants to serve customers on the ground the food that they offer in the air.

Air Asia A320
Air Asia operates 89 A320s, with a further 349 on order. Source: Air Asia

What are the details?

The new restaurant chain will be opening in Malaysia first and will serve food that is avaliable on their airline.

“Our food is fantastic. We believe in it so much that we’re going to start a fast-food restaurant out of it. It’s called Santan” – Air Asia Group’s CEO Tony Fernandes

Santan, which means coconut milk in Malay, is also the name of Air Asia’s onboard local menu. A menu that is famously extensive, regionally genuine and allows passengers to pre-book meals before taking off.

Local menu examples include:

Air Asia
Just a slice of the full Air Asia menu available on nearly every flight! Source: Air Asia

The new food venture menu will be based on the most popular choices of their 400 million passengers over the last few years.

“What we are doing is bringing the wonderful flavors of ASEAN into Santan to create a unique food experience, with the vision of replicating the on-ground gourmet experience onboard. The flavor, profile and pricing of inflight food has always been a challenge but we believe that with Santan, we can create the first restaurant brand in the sky that is both tasty and affordable”.

Will this work?

It’s hard to say, as one hand the competition is going to be fierce. South East Asia is well known for its market food culture and the idea of a company trying to enter this market and compete against those that have been doing it for years is… interesting.

But on the flip side, Air Asia didn’t just spring up overnight to become one of the best low cost and most successful carriers. By using this knowledge and economy of scale, the airline might leverage quite a lot of power into the food game. After all, they are already making the food for their aircraft they could serve it to their customers as well.

Air Asia A330-900neo
Air Asia A330-900neo. Source: Airbus

If Tony Fernandes and his team can pull off the airline game, then there is no reason why they can’t be successful in this venture to! We look forward to reviewing it on our upcoming website SimpleEating (Just kidding!).

Air Asia will release more information about this new venture as soon as it is done in the oven.

What do you think? Will this new fast food chain be successful?

4 comments
  1. Why not! They must already be having flight kitchens on the ground. The product is already there, they just need an outlet to sell it.

  2. Yes, certainly ! ! !
    That could be a good idea for not only Air Asia, but any airline presuming they want to create a more permanent top of mind status with their potential flying guests.

    But not in a so called bricked outlet setting, that would lack density/presence and is very expansive.
    Their meals and preferable only an appropriate part of the width of their on board menus, should be orderable on line to be delevired via the well known home food deliverers.

    The mise-en-place and the end-preparing at home should be as much as possible identical to those on their planes, purposely underlining the airborne atmosphere.

    This is with a small investment (the ordering portal and some local adjustments) operatable in the surroundings of the airlines network airports.
    Implementable in a minute all over the world, just by utilising their at those sites already excisting preparing facilities.

    So airlines welcome your guest at their hometables.

    Succes ! ! !

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