Bill of Fare

The meter ran out on this DIA concessionaire.

Whether Crown was chosen based primarily on its minority ownership depends on who's talking. A woman-owned company was among the five that submitted proposals, Gingras says, but "independent scoring by the panel makes it difficult for minority ownership to even be an issue." Hackworth concurs. "We're always encouraged to choose minorities. But I don't remember this contract being exclusively for minorities," he says.

But airport concessions manager Barbara Butler says the contract required a 25 percent minority participation in order to fit in with the city's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise goals. "For instance, if Canteen had wanted the contract, they could have owned 75 percent, and a minority company could have been in for the 25 percent," she explains.

Kania, however, says his Canteen was never given the chance to apply. "As far as I recall, we weren't even sent an RFP [request for proposals] package that first time around," he adds. "We definitely would have submitted a proposal. Now, I don't want it to look like I'm calling the city a liar on this, but it was made very clear to us that it would have to be a minority-owned deal."

And he had no problem with that. "I knew it from the beginning, so that was fine," he says. Canteen returned to the city-controlled areas on a temporary basis a few weeks ago, after what was "clearly an urgent request for proposals from the city," Kania adds. "Now I'm just happy to be back in there, and the customers are happy, too. Our guys keep hearing from all these cabbies about how happy they were to see us back."

Drake is one of them. "We don't care what company is doing it, as long as it's a professional company that keeps the machines stocked, treats us decently and honors our complaints," he says. "Food is kind of important, you know?

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