Winnipeg Airports Authority is cutting nips from its menu. Salisbury House, maker of the iconic burger nips, and Gondola Pizza are in the process of being replaced by True Burger and Freshii at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.
"This wasn't my or Sal's decision," said Earl Barish, president of the Salisbury House restaurant chain, who added the airport's move was somewhat sudden.
"Our sales were escalating dramatically to the point where we were up 80 per cent last month from the year before," said Barish.
David Driedger, communications specialist with the Winnipeg Airports Authority, said the decision to remove Sal's and Gondola Pizza is part of an effort to respond to passenger feedback.
"It became clear they were looking for new options here at the airport for food and beverage so we're happy to introduce new restaurants," said Driedger.
"We're keeping things fresh here at the airport."
Among the requests, passengers asked for healthier options, Driedger said.
"The approach that we took was to stagger the renovations. Of course we do not want to shut down all the restaurants at the same time," said Driedger. The airport has already replaced TGI Fridays with Prairie Bistro and Upper Crust replaced with a lounge, he added.
Barish doesn't understand why the company which operates restaurants behind security for the airport, SSP Group, would replace Sal's, a Winnipeg-based company, with a similar chain from away.
"Local brands and local companies were part of their mandate in the original proposal," he said.
"I was quite surprised, very surprised, disappointed and wondering why they would put in another burger place," said Barish.
Renovations at the former Gondola and Sal's locations at the airport will be completed this winter, according to the Winnipeg Airports Authority.