SSP America, a division of SSP Group, a leading operator of food and beverage brands in travel locations worldwide, has appointed restaurant veteran Oscar Hernandez to the role of Vice President of Concepts and Development. In this role Oscar will serve as a key liaison to airport accounts with the goal of ensuring SSP America delivers authentic restaurants to airports that reflect a ‘taste of place.’ Oscar will also lead efforts to pursue a portfolio of new business opportunities which includes the responsibility of identifying brands in each of these markets.
A 25-year restaurateur veteran, Oscar has been part of the aviation industry since initially joining SSP America in 2007. He most recently served in role of Regional Vice President of Operations managing a significant portfolio of business located in the Western region of the United States and Canada. Oscar was responsible for delivering operational excellence and outstanding customer service while building strong relationships and open communication with airport executives, joint venture partners and brands. Oscar was named SSP America’s Director of the Year and has been consistently recognized for his region’s outstanding financial performance. Significantly, given SSP America’s commitment to internal development, Hernandez’s career is notable for the large number of internal team members and leaders promoted to more senior positions.
Prior to joining SSP America Oscar was an Executive Vice President for AREAS USA driving $235M in annual revenues. Oscar was previously the Vice President of Operations for Mimi’s Café as part of Bob Evans Farms where he led efforts to grow sales and profitability for two divisions and new restaurant development. Oscar spent a significant portion of his career with Darden Restaurants and Brinker International as Senior Director of Operations and Area Director and General Manager, respectively. At Darden, Oscar oversaw a portfolio of 35 restaurants across five states. At Brinker Oscar had oversight of 10 restaurants in 3 states.
Hernandez will report to Patrick Murray, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and President of SSP America’s new Central and South America region. Murray commented, “As SSP America sharpens its focus on growth as we emerge from the pandemic, we need food travel experts who have a deep and broad set of restaurant experiences and passion for bringing authentic culinary experiences to the airports we serve. Oscar’s career with SSP America is interesting because he opened one of our first group of restaurants at a new airport. He’s one of the rare individuals with the level of experience needed to do what we do. We’re incredibly excited that he’s taken on this important role and look forward to his contributions.”