Contact-Free Shopping, Dining Grows
Mashgin kiosk, person holding orange with Fiji water bottle and banana

Contactless shopping and ordering technology were just coming into their own in the travel industry when the pandemic hit. Overnight, the demand for contactless amenities from passengers took off at the speed of flight.

Customers want to do everything from self-checkout at a clothing store to preorder a coffee for quick pick up to order food in a restaurant without getting close to other people and touching as few things as possible.

The germaphobe is not so unusual anymore. With the surge in demand for touch-free travel, companies and businesses have been forced to rethink how they engage with customers and develop ways to make the travel experience more convenient … and contact free.

“HMSHost was investing in digital platforms like mobile order and pay and QR code order and pay before the pandemic,” said Matt Wissman, executive director of operations for HMSHost at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. “The pandemic has accelerated our digital strategy and the emphasis to expand these technologies.”

Terry Wimpy, concession manager for Paradies Lagardère at CLT, said what’s been as significant as the growing popularity of contactless travel technology is what has happened post pandemic.

“There has been some shift in customer demographics – less business travel, more leisure travel. Likewise, there have been some shifts in overall shopping patterns and behaviors,” he said. “Customers have been increasingly demonstrating their desire to do more things for themselves.”

Indeed, self-check outs in grocery stores and at big box retail businesses have helped travelers become more comfortable with contactless shopping and dining technology in the Airport.

“It is transitioning into the travel experience,” Wimpy said. “The introduction of self-service technologies and the adoption rate for their use has accelerated things for us. “

CLT is the first airport in North Carolina where HMSHost has installed the contactless Mashgin checkout technology. The units are at dozen Airport locations. Paradies has numerous self-checkout registers and vending services and has recently implemented MishiPay, a mobile app ordering and payment platform.

The list of benefits is long: instant check out, no cash needed and minimal to no human contact required. There also tend to be no lines. That’s a bonus if a passenger has a short connection time and needs a quick snack or drink to hold them over until reaching their destination.

The average transaction time at a Mashgin checkout station is 28 seconds. The units use artificial intelligence to detect all the items placed on its platform, ring up the price and allow the customer to pay by debit card or credit card. Change your mind? No worries. Remove the item and the price is recalculated.

“Checkout at a Mashgin is intuitive and even attracts customers to try them out," Wissman said. “It’s easier than what you see in the grocery store.”

Ordering food with a QR code rather than touching a menu and advance ordering through services like Servy, which will launch this winter, and Uber Eats that began in mid-2022. For those who still want the sit-down dining experience, Open Table reservations is available at select CLT restaurants.  

“Anyone who has Uber Eats can order ahead for pickup. There is no delivery with that currently at CLT,” Concessions Contract Specialist Brendon Washburn said.

A soft launch of Servy, a leader in airport e-commerce, is planned for later this month. If successful, the service will be available to the public in December. “Servy provides a platform for people, to order food and beverage ahead of time and have the ability to pick-up as well. With it also comes the opportunity to have delivery at the Airport,” Washburn said.

Read More about Servy

Amazon's"Just Walk Out" will also soon be available at CLT. Customers can enter the The Goods @ CLT Express store, which is a kiosk type of operation, and using the Amazon Prime App, a credit card or Amazon One palm recognition, they can shop, and their selections are charged to them when they exit. 

“I think it’s really important for the Airport environment to move forward with this kind of product,” Washburn said. “Especially coming out of the pandemic, a lot of people are used to ordering off their phones and contactless pay so incorporating this at the Airport is really good.”

Irregular operations, delays or between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. can see use of grab and go and contactless options climb, Wimpy said. He expects the next innovation in contactless shopping to be a big hit with CLT passengers as well.

“In stores where contactless amenities are available, we are seeing 25% to 30% of all transactions rung up on these units. If there is more than one in a store, use can exceed 50% of customer transactions,” Wimpy said.

“Just Walk Out” technology powered by Amazon is coming soon to sell travel essentials, snacks, beverages, health, and beauty products and electronic. Customers enter the store, a kiosk type of operation, with the Amazon Prime App, a credit card or with Amazon One palm recognition. “As they shop, their selections are detected automatically and they are charged as the exit – when they “just walk out,” Wimpy said.

The popularity of the contact-free amenities comes at the same time HMSHost and Paradies are recovering from the pandemic’s effect on aviation, air travel and concessions. If there was any concern that all the contactless amenities would confuse passengers, that has been put to rest.

“People across all generations really caught onto it quickly,” Wissman said. “It’s been great for expanding our operation and giving customers what they want.”

Contact Free Technology Available at CLT

Amazon Just Walk Out Kiosk

  • The Goods @ CLT Express (Coming in 2023 to the Atrium)

Mashgin self-checkout

  • 1987 Market – Atrium
  • Hissho Sushi/First in Flight – Atrium
  • Farmers Market – Concourse C
  • Farmers Market – Concourse B
  • Farmers Market – Concourse E
  • Ciao – Concourse D
  • Red Star – Concourse B

MishiPay QR code/app purchasing

  • Charlotte News and Gifts – Concourse E

Mobile Order and Pay

  • Starbucks Concourse A wedge
  • Starbucks Gate B10
  • Starbucks Gate C8
  • Starbucks Gate D6
  • Starbucks Concourse E Rotunda

Servy – Coming soon to:  

  • Burger King – Concourse E
  • Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar – Concourse C
  • Jersey Mike’s - Atrium
  • Bojangles – Concourse B
  • Bojangles -The Plaza
  • Panera – Concourse A
  • Smashburger– Concourse A
  • PDQ – Opening soon to Concourse E

Open Table

  • Summer House – Concourse B
  • 1897 Market – Atrium
  • Tequilaria – Atrium

QR Code ordering/checkout

  • Tequilaria – Atrium
  • Bad Daddy’s – Concourse C
  • Whisky River – E Rotunda
  • Original Run Bar and Grill – Concourse D
  • Stock Car Café – Concourse B
  • Phillips Famous Seafood – Concourse C

Uber Eats

  • Burger King - Concourse E
  •  Jersey Mikes - Atrium
  • Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar – Concourse C 

Grab and Go/Vending

  • Farmers Market – Concourse B, C, E Rotunda, Baggage Claim
  • Travel@Ease Avanti Kiosk – Baggage Claim, Concourse E, Rental Car Center, Concourse A North (coming soon).

Retail Self Check Out

  • Charlotte Supply Co. – Concourse D
  • Uptown Exchange – Concourse E
  • Charlotte’s Got a Lot – Concourse B
  • CNBC – Concourse C

Coming later this month:

  • Queen City News and Gifts – Atrium
  • Charlotte’s Landing – Concourse A
  • News2U – Concourse C

Read more on the Shop, Dine & Relax page