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Brief Published: 30 Dec 2019

AirAsia’s Physical Quick-Service Restaurant


Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia is extending its reach beyond air travel by opening its first quick-service restaurant and café in Kuala Lumpur, serving a menu inspired by its in-flight meal and drinks offering.

The restaurant, called Santan, serves dishes for under $3, such as Malaysian Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak (coconut rice with chilli paste) and Uncle Chin’s Chicken Rice, Cambodian Pineapple Fish Noodles and Filipino Chicken Inasal with Garlic Rice.

The restaurant features a smart, artificial intelligence (AI) digital menu that can recommend popular dishes based on the time of day, past ordering patterns and choices based on demographic preferences – see McDonald’s new smart-ordering system for a similar example, covered in Revitalising Roadside Hospitality. Dishes can also be ordered for home delivery.

The airline plans to open 1,000 franchised restaurants across Asia in the next 10 years.

This savvy move by the airline is a way for the brand to reach customers by diversifying its offerings – which will prove particularly important if the flygskam (flight-shaming) movement takes off, reducing the amount of short-haul budget flights taken. Read Ethical Travel’s Mainstream Breakthrough for more inspiration here.

Read Elastic Airlines, New-Wave Airports and How to Incentivise Loyalty for more on how airlines are finding new ways to reach consumers beyond traditional engagement strategies.