I sometimes joke that Chicago’s O’Hare airport is my home away from home! I’m usually there twice a week! It’s a pretty big place with lots of gates and lots of walking. Last week, arriving home, I noticed something I hadn’t before! A mobile snack ‘cart’, appropriately called “Ala Cart” carrying water, and fresh, healthy snacks, wheeling between gates. A sign on the cart said “frequent stops”. I often talk about what I call ‘practical creativity’, and this is a great example: nothing new about having a venue to buy food in an airport, nothing new about using a vehicle to go to customers with food (think about the popularity of food trucks!)…however, a mobile snack cart in an airport is something I haven’t seen before! Two ‘older’ ideas, combined in a new way to address the changing needs of today’s travelers…no one checks bags anymore and dragging luggage any further than necessary isn’t fun..and who wants to leave the seat where they’re charging their phone while waiting for their flight?…Instead of requiring customers to ‘waste their valuable time’ walking around looking food and then having to juggle suitcases, backpacks, mobile devices and children on the way to the gate, what customers need is being brought to them. Great for customers and I’m sure great for food revenue at O’Hare. ‘Practical creativity’ in action. That’s what service excellence is all about!

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