The immediate success of Beecher's Handmade Cheese's Sea-Tac concession has inspired owner Kurt Dammeier to consider replicating the quick-service concept elsewhere in Seattle.
"I don't want to jinx it by saying it's successful, but it's successful," Dammeier says. "I could see doing this in other airports, or even non-airports, like the Pike-Pine area."
Beecher's airport location offers a similar menu to its Pike Place café, although there isn't any cheese-making on the premises. Dammeier says the current line-up of soups, grilled sandwiches, breakfast strata and mac-and-cheese will soon be expanded to include "other healthy things which go with soup and mac-and-cheese," such as salads. While the small counter-service restaurant features a display of souvenir cheeses and other artisan edibles, Dammeier says the bulk of its business is derived from ready-to-eat hot items.
"It turns out people want to eat cheese sandwiches," he says.
While Beecher's became the airport's top breakfast sandwich destination when it opened on Nov. 1, it could face competition for travelers' egg-and-cheese dollars when McDonald's opens next year. Dammeier concedes McDonald's has the speed advantage; Since Beecher's makes its sandwiches to order, the average wait time for an order is four minutes.
"I don't think the same person who eats at McDonald's eats at Beecher's," Dammeier says. Customers who complain about the wait at Beecher's are balanced out by "people who view our cooking to order as a positive," he adds.
Earlier this year, Beecher's celebrated the first anniversary of its New York City location, which was closed for five days in connection with Hurricane Sandy. The Flatiron store lost inventory to power outages, but Dammeier says the store was otherwise undamaged.