Reef Technology and ACDBE partner Hubb Kitchen have opened the getREEF Virtual Food Hall in Terminal 2 of Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). The kitchen features nine popular brands including fast-growing international favorites such as Krispy Rice, 800 Degrees Pizza, Pei Wei, Xochimex Cantina Grill, Zinburger, and Rebel Wings, as well as local concepts Beyu Caffé, Hubb Kitchen and American Meltdown.

At an opening event Thursday morning, Alan Philips, chief creative officer for Reef, said the opening represents “a major leap forward for the travel experience. “It is a first for the airport industry,” Philips said. “It is a first for the restaurant industry and is a first time for the technology at Reef. We are incredibly excited and honored to be powering the next evolution of airport hospitality.”

He added that the goal is to improve the travel journey for passengers. “Simply put, it’s getting people what they want when they want it,” Philips said. “While in the past, this meant urban cores or hotels, it is a natural evolution into airports and the travel experience.” He added that Reef’s virtual food hall is “the perfect opportunity for technology to remove friction and delight customers.” He noted that the nine concepts will dramatically improve the variety available, and will also offer speed and digital ordering to the time-stressed travelers.

The model also allows Reef to operate multiple concepts out of a single kitchen, and to switch concepts depending on day part. “This is a win-win for customers who want the variety and brands who want the exposure, especially smaller brands … [because the approach offers] more flexibility and less long-term risk,” Philips added.

The process for travelers is simple. Customers can place and pay for their orders on their mobile devices or directly at getREEF kiosks. At RDU, the kiosks are located in Terminal 2 near Gate C9. Orders are picked up in specially-marked lockers near the order kiosks. Travelers will be able to mix and match food from any of the brands in the same transaction for greater variety and convenience when dining on the fly. In the future, the virtual food hall will offer delivery to guests at their gate, providing additional convenience for travelers waiting for their flight.

In addition to leveraging Reef’s platform and ecosystem, getREEF Virtual Food Hall will feature a custom digital ordering experience developed in-house, paired with some of the largest ambient food storage lockers ever used. Reef expects to rotate brands and menu offerings to suit travelers’ evolving taste and preferences as its portfolio of partnerships continues to grow.

Jason Johnson, founder and managing member of Raleigh-based Hubb Kitchens, an ACDBE-certified firm, thanked RDU airport executives and others for taking the innovative approach and for the foresight of including local ACDBE firms in the mix.

“I really am happy about the local presence…and I really give thanks to Reef for being open-minded about the local presence, and the RDU Board for taking a chance on such an innovative concept,” Johnson said at the opening event.

Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, said the RDU team is “very proud that we’re the first airport in the world to offer Reef’s cutting-edge technology.” He added that during the soft opening in recent weeks, “there’s been a lot of excitement by our airport customers and also by the airport employees … with this new dining experience.”