In 1999, the Group decided to carry its internationalization process beyond the bounds of its albeit significant expansion in Europe.

Diversification into airport business was the chosen strategy and a take-over bid was made for Host Marriott Services, the leading operator in f&b and retail services for travellers in America.

Founded in 1897, HMSHost started its f&b and retail business on big railway networks and by the Twenties had taken in shipping as well. In the early Fifties it was the first to invest in America’s large airports, with a mission to make long journeys more pleasant. Quality catering but at affordable prices, sales of necessaries for people on the move, information and communication at all times through all the media, and in all channels of transport.

With this operation, Autogrill further diversified in terms of channels. The fact that three quarters of HMSHost’s business was in airports completed Autogrill’s range and forced it to think in terms of “full service” for travellers. So the core business came to embrace not only the more traditional "food&beverage" services but also retail business. Autogrill thus progressed from a portfolio of a few dozen proprietary brands to management of hundreds of brands known world-wide.

Who era HMSHost?

  • the leading operator in f&b and retail services for travellers in America.
  • 2,250 points of sale in 84 airports world-wide and 112 “travel plazas” in North America 
  • Manages a huge number of food&beverge and retail brands, the best known internationally being Starbucks Coffee, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Sbarro.


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