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Quiznos opening at airport
Owner of Old Airport Road restaurant plans Saturday debut of new location

Thandiwe Vela
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, June 23, 2012

A new Quiznos restaurant is scheduled for arrival at the Yellowknife Airport this weekend.

NNSL photo/graphic

Abdullah Al-Mahamud, owner of Quiznos restaurant on Old Airport Road, plans to unveil a new Quiznos at the Yellowknife airport this weekend. - Thandiwe Vela/NNSL photo

Construction of the long-awaited sandwich shop is scheduled to be complete Thursday, with a soft opening of the restaurant planned for Saturday, franchisee Abdullah Al-Mahamud told Yellowknifer.

The concession stand currently operating at the airport will shut down when the Quiznos opens, said Earl Blacklock, department spokesman.

"The Department of Transportation is very pleased that Quiznos will be joining the Yellowknife Airport community," Blacklock said. "We're certain that visitors to the airport will welcome their new service."

The restaurant will include seating and a full menu, including the breakfast options not served at the Old Airport Road location.

Quiznos Canada won a bid to open a restaurant at the airport when the lease expired for the former airport restaurant, the Bush Pilot Cafe, last fall, beating out Chef Pierre Lepage who had submitted a bid to the department to open a second Le Stock Pot cafe location at the airport.

A number of local individuals were interested in owning the airport Quiznos, said brand-expansion manager Olivia Montagna, but the ownership went to Al-Mahamud because headquarters was satisfied with the performance of Al-Mahamud's other Yk Quiznos.

Good business at the Old Airport Road location, which opened in 2003 and was bought by Al-Mahamud in 2009, prompted Quiznos to enter a bid to open the second location in the city.

Sales are also typically strong at airport restaurants, Montagna added, due to the high traffic.

"People are often wanting to eat before getting on a flight or while on a layover," she told Yellowknifer. "Since Quiznos is a trusted brand, we do very well."

Al-Mahamud said he has "pretty good" expectations business-wise for the airport franchise, because the Quiznos will be the only restaurant operating at the airport, due to the market size.

"It's a good opportunity," he said.

In 2010, 330,826 passengers arrived and departed from the Yellowknife airport, according to the Department of Transportation, and an additional 133,110 from carriers not operating directly out of the terminal. The total of 463,936 does not include special operations such as the military, RCMP, and company charter flights.

Quiznos has about 460 restaurants in Canada, including two franchises at Edmonton International Airport.

A grand opening for the Yellowknife Airport Quiznos is being scheduled for mid-July.

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