Sitting at a table near Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s Concourse C, I was hungry. That’s when Robert Rodriguez, wearing a distinctive bright blue shirt, walked briskly past. “Are you delivering to Kerri?” I asked.
He veered my way, unzipped his insulated bag and placed the pizza box and napkins at the table with a smile. The goods from Black Sheep Pizza, located at the airport mall, were piping hot.
Soon Rodriguez was off studying his phone, probably headed to his next delivery.
I’d gone to MSP to try two apps that have been quietly rolled out to help hungry passengers on the fly. AtYourGate, the one Rodriguez works for, delivers food from participating airport restaurants to locations in Terminal 1. The other, Grab, allows users to order and pay ahead at select restaurants in Terminal 1 so they can nab their food on the way to the gate. Both are simple to download on iPhone and Android phones and make payment and tipping easy by storing credit card information.
After I ordered my pizza through AtYourGate, the app told me the order would arrive in 20 to 30 minutes, and I could watch the progress from preparation to delivery. The pizza arrived after 18 minutes. The app charges $2.99 for delivery. Passengers can order from nine restaurants, including Holy Land Deli and McDonald’s. MSP is one of nine airports with AtYourGate.
I stumbled a bit with Grab. My first download landed on what seems to be an Asia-focused Uber-like transportation app. A search for “grab airport” in the app store got me to the right one (“Grab: Order Airport Food”). Currently, five MSP restaurants routinely use Grab, including Qdoba and Red Cow. (Though Angel Food Bakery is listed on the app, the bakery doesn’t participate because its changing lineup of sweets makes it difficult.)
These apps, similar to UberEats and order-ahead options at fast food restaurants, are keeping the airport updated — and its passengers well fed.