Frequently Asked Questions

Interested in operating a concession business at RDU, but not sure how to get started or what is required? The answers to the most frequently asked questions can be found here.


What is a concessionaire?

A concessionaire is an entity which has entered into an agreement with the Airport Authority to provide food and beverage, retail or services directly to the traveling public.

What are the minimum qualifications to be a concessionaire at the airport?

The Airport Authority typically requires a minimum of three to five years of experience in of continuous ownership and management of food and beverage or retail concessions that are comparable in scope and complexity to a shopping center, airport, transportation center, mall, brick-and-mortar location or other prominent setting.

What is the difference between a RFP and a RFB?

The Airport Authority uses a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to award most of the concession locations at the Airport.  The Airport Authority determines the best use of a space and then seeks proposals from experienced operators for each location.

An RFB, or Request for Bid, is an opportunity where a prospective concessionaire submits a bid instead of a proposal. The bid is not a complete proposal, and the price is typically the only deciding factor. With a full proposal, price is only one of the factors considered in the selection process.

I’ve never submitted a proposal before. How do I get started?

First, make sure you have experience in operating the type of concept you wish to propose. Next, look for opportunities to partner with other companies.  Most of the concession operations at RDU are partnerships.

What if my proposal is not selected? Can I still propose in the future?

Yes. If your proposal is not selected, you are not excluded from future opportunities.

Is there a fee to propose?

No, however there is a required deposit, usually $5,000 per proposal. The deposits for unsuccessful proposals are fully refunded.  Find more details in the request for proposal document.

How long does the proposal selection process take?

Generally, the selection process takes about nine months.

What does the selection process entail?

There are four steps to the competitive selection process, and it may take up to one year to complete. Learn more about our Selection Process.

How does RDU determine the use for each space?

The Airport Authority works with industry consultants and stakeholders to determine available concession space. It uses multiple resources (market research, consultants, passenger interviews and surveys) to identify the optimum use for each space and to anticipate highly desired passenger trends and preferences.

What is the cost to rent concession space at the airport?

Because each concession opportunity is different, the rent varies. For example, a newsstand will have a different minimum proposal amount than a restaurant. Each business opportunity goes through a competitive selection process with a set proposal amount. The minimum guaranteed rent for the first year of the lease is the amount proposed by the winning proposal.

How does the Airport Authority charge rent?

Concessionaires pay the Airport Authority a percentage of their gross sales each month, which is one-twelfth of a pre-determined minimum annual guarantee (MAG).

What is a package?

All opportunities in a concession RFP process are offered as a single location or multiple locations known as “packages.”

Be sure to sign-up to receive updates so you can stay informed about opportunities and outreach events.  You will also see other companies listed who might be looking for partners, and they can see your information as well.

How do I become certified as a small business?

Please contact the Airport Authority’s Small Business Program Office.

What is an ACDBE?

An Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise is a for-profit small business that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged or, in the case of a corporation where at least 51 percent of the stock is owned by one or more such individuals; and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.

Learn more about Becoming an ACDBE.

Do I have to be ACDBE certified to operate a concession at the Airport?

No, an ACDBE certification is not required to operate a concession at RDU. If a proposer is seeking ACDBE credit to meet an ACDBE goal, the ACDBE firm must be certified through the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority at the time of proposal submission. A certification letter must be included with the proposal submission.

Does RDU allow concepts on a trial or “pop-up” basis?

RDU does not currently allow trial concepts, such as a “pop-up store” or temporary location, however may explore such concepts in the future.

I have a product that I would like to sell at The Shops at RDU. How do I do that?

Email the Business Development Department at RDUBusinessDevelopment@rdu.com to request contact information for store managers of each retail, food and beverage or service at the Airport. Contact the store managers directly about selling your product.

Where do I send information about a business plan that I would like you to consider?

Send letters of interest to:
Business Development Department
Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority
PO Box 80001
RDU Airport, NC 27623

or e-mail: RDUBusinessDevelopment@rdu.com

For package services (i.e. FedEx, UPS) use:
Business Development Department
Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority
1000 Trade Drive
Morrisville, NC 27560