CMS Hospitality, Inc., a certified Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) firm, certified as such, by the City of Los Angeles, was founded and incorporated in Los Angeles in December 1992 by sole shareholder Clarence A. Daniels Jr. After a successful career as a hospitality industry executive, Clarence decided it was time to take the risk of starting his own business.
Having worked for the Marriott Corporation, he decided to adopt the Marriott way of focusing on the providing excellent customer service and taking care of his people, who in turn would take care of his customers. This is still the guiding principle of CMS. Marriott had purchased Host International in the early 80’s and Clarence was given the opportunity to learn the airport concessions business.
After leaving Marriott and working for a competitor for several years, Clarence launched CMS. CMS won it’s first contract in 1995, when it was selected by Host International to be it’s food and beverage subcontractor for the General Operator contract at Los Angeles International Airport.
CMS began operations in Tom Bradley International Terminal on January 15, 1996 taking over operations of three facilities from Concessions International, the previous operator at midnight and opening for business at 5am. First year revenue for CMS at LAX was $2.5 million. CMS now owns 6 food and beverage concessions and 3 kiosks at LAX, and 2008 generated almost $11 million in revenue.
Today CMS operates a variety of concessions at LAX. CMS operates: Monet’s California Deli, Cinnamon Bakery/Freshens Smoothies in terminal 6; Daniels Bistro + Bar, Marina Bar, Samuel Adams Toasts Los Angeles, In Transit Lounge and Organics To Go Kiosks in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
CMS has been recognized two years in a row with the Pacesetter Award, given by Focus Brands, the Cinnabon parent company, to the Cinnabon Franchisee with highest increase in the same store sales year over year and the fewest customer complains.
CMS employs 150 people and has had a successful collective bargaining agreement since 1996, and a good working relationship with H.E.R.E., the union representing LAX concessions employees. In fact the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy has graded CMS an A- as one of the best employers at LAX.
The same year that Clarence founded CMS, he also founded CMS of Georgia, Inc., which is the majority owner of Hartsfield Hospitality LLC (HHLLC), a state of Georgia and Texas certified ACDBE firm, which won a major contract at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport, again as a subcontractor to joint venture company in which Host International is the majority partner.
Clarence successfully negotiated a license agreement with the highly successful Atlanta restaurant concept Le Petit Bistro and became a franchisee of TCBY Yogurt in 1995. In 1996, HHLLC as granted the rights to build and operate a Le Petit Bistro and lounge at Atlanta’s Hartfield Jackson Airport and three TCBY Yogurt stores.
Today HHLLC owns and operates Le Petit Bistro and Lounge and four Freshens Smoothie Company locations in the Atlanta airport. Since 1996 HHLLC revenues have grown from $3 million to over $8 million. HHLLC continues to grow and now also owns and operates Le Petit Bistro at Houston’s George Bush International Airport, under direct lease with Westfield Corporation.
In 2005 CMS was certified as a ACDBE fim in Nevada and won a competition conducted by Las Vegas McCarran Airport and HMS Host to develop and operate a Freshens Smoothie Company and 360º Gourmet Burritos Restaurant at Las Vegas’ McCarren Airport. Based upon its success with these two ventures CMS, which is a franchisee of Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, has now been selected to build and operate a Baja Fresh Mexican Grill at Las Vegas McCarran Airport. CMS has a successful collective bargaining agreement with the union representing Las Vegas McCarren Airport concessions employees.
In 2008 CMS purchased two food and beverage locations at San Diego International Airport, from HMS Host, one a Boudins Deli and the other a Rubio’s Fish Taco. CMS decided to convert each of these two new restaurant concepts. CMS converted the Rubio’s Fish Taco to Baja Fresh Express and Boudins Deli to first all organic deli concept in a US airport, Oganics To Go Café.
In addition to these business in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Las Vegas and San Diego, Clarence Daniels is the 49% partner in the Tinsley Group, a minority owned firm, which was the first African American owed TGI Friday’s Restaurant franchise in the US. The TGI Friday’s, located in the Tampa International Airport since 1995, has consistently led the Friday’s chain in gross sales and received many awards for operational excellence.
CMS growth and development as an ACDBE firm has not come without the expected challenges. In 1998 CMS was a part of a partnership that developed a mega TGI Friday’s, under a direct lease, in the then newly reopened Washington Reagan Airport. Anticipated enplanements never materialized. The venture was unsuccessful and after several years CMS sold it’s interest at a loss. Between the year 2000 and 2003 CMS was the 51% owner and operator of three Le Petit Bistro Restaurants in the Philadelphia International Airport, under a direct lease with the developer. After three years of loses CMS sold all three restaurants.
CMS is committed to continuing to pursue growth as an airport concessionaire. In 2006 Anwar Daniels, the son of founder Clarence Daniels, rejoined the business after working as a financial analyst with the Boeing Company. Anwar who is involved with his father in every aspect of managing CMS, is now a Vice President. In addition Dr. Monet Daniels, whose doctorate degree is in organizational development handles management recruiting and training. Sonya Daniels-Walker is a part time employee, managing employees wellness programs and her husband, Clarence Daniels’ son-in-law is the Director of Operations for Las Vegas.
CMS is committed to LAX. In 2009 CMS invested to re-concept the Tom Bradley Terminal North Concourse Bar to Samuel Adams Toasts Los Angeles. CMS also has under development with LAWA, a new Daniels Bistro + Bar has the Grand Opening set at newly refurbished TBIT Arrivals Hall on April 8th 2010.