AirAsia opens first fast food restaurant serving in-flight food

In the next few years, the carrier’s in-flight menu brand plans to open around 100 franchise-operated restaurants 

What might have sounded like yet another airplane food joke has become reality. AirAsia’s in-flight menu curator has opened the world’s first on-ground restaurant serving dishes previously available only onboard a plane.   

AirAsia’s menu brand, Santan and T&CO which has taken care of onboard offerings since 2015, has launched the first restaurant of such a kind in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Monday. 

People can enjoy the popular Nasi Lemak on the ground — Mohd Syis Zulkipli / Shutterstock AirAsia opens first fast food restaurant serving in-flight food
People can enjoy the popular nasi lemak without flying — Mohd Syis Zulkipli / Shutterstock
 

General manager of Santan Restaurant and T&CO Cafe, Catherine Goh, explained that around 30 percent of the restaurant’s offerings come from AirAsia’s existing in-flight menu, which features popular classics such as Pak Nasser’s nasi lemak or Uncle Chin’s Chicken Rice. 

“The opening of this flagship restaurant is the beginning of something great for the Santan and T&CO brands,” Goh said in a press release.

“By the end of 2020, we aim to have five Santan-owned restaurants and 100 franchise-operated restaurants and cafes within the next three to five years with expansions in global markets.” 

The . first Santan restauran was opened in Kuala Lumpur on Monday — AiAsia Group AirAsia opens first fast food restaurant serving in-flight food
The first Santan restaurant was opened in Kuala Lumpur on Monday — AirAsia Group
 

Moreover, AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes is confident that the operation will be so successful that Santan could franchise the concept internationally, with a New York outlet the ultimate goal.

“Our dream is to have one in Times Square,” he said.

“Our food is fantastic. We believe in it so much that we’re going to start a fast-food restaurant out of it”

AirAsia’s first-of-its-kind concept was announced in February.  At that time, it was not certain where the first restaurant would be located. 

The name of the menu that is highly popular among passengers — Santan — translates as coconut milk in Malay. The menu serves dishes from all over Asia. It includes the Indonesian rice dish nasi lemak, chicken teriyaki, or Szechuan mapo tofu with rice.

“Our food is fantastic. We believe in it so much that we’re going to start a fast-food restaurant out of it,” Fernandes said while announcing the concept 9 months ago.