Welcome to Crewmember Up Close, where we talk in-depth with our best resource, our people. In our new column, we ask OTG Crewmembers questions about all things travel, including their impact on the overall travel experience.
First up, we spoke with Allison Kafalas, OTG Director of Beverage who tells us about her role and what she absolutely can’t fly without.
Name: Allison Kafalas
Position: Director of Beverage
Tell us about your role at OTG.
As Director of Beverage, I am responsible for the beverage programs across all OTG airports and concepts. I work closely with the operation managers on the ground to create custom beverage menus for each of our 300+ locations, which include beer, wine, spirits, and our super fun selection of locally inspired cocktails. I am also always looking at the trends – what’s buzzy right now that we can introduce into the airport space? For instance, we had some incredible success elevating the Amaretto Sour – specifically, taking a cocktail that had a bad rap and turning it into something you would want to drink. We created two different versions and implemented them at two new openings (Abruzzo at EWR and Baba Bar at PHL).
But one of the best parts of my role is the ability to work across a multitude of markets, which allows me to locally source a huge range of interesting beer, wine and spirits from each of the markets we’re in.
Additionally, I work on training any of our new Crewmembers. When the offering is this expansive, it requires a knowledgeable bar staff, so we really take the time to give our Crewmembers the tools they need to succeed behind the bar.
How has your role changed the way you view airports & traveling?
Well, it’s funny. I have become so used to the high-quality products we offer. So when traveling through a non-OTG terminal, I’m always slightly disappointed with the lack of variety offered or imagination that goes into that offering.
Also when I’m lucky enough to be leaving out of an OTG terminal, I now want to get there early, spend some time enjoying a meal or a drink before my flight. It’s changed the way I think about my pre-board experience.
Describe working at OTG in 3 words.
Cutting-edge. Fast-paced. Last but not least: fun.
Favorite Cocktail: Right now, I’m in love with the Bowlegged Spritz from Tanglewood (IAH Airport). It’s our version of an Aperol Spritz served in a hollowed-out grapefruit.
Favorite Destination: Paris.
Item You Can’t Travel Without: My phone.
Favorite Travel Read: Bon Appetit & Food & Wine.
Travel Playlist: 90’s hip hop.
Pre-Board Ritual: I always get a huge bottle of water, a double espresso over ice and as many snacks as possible. I also buy whatever the next meal will be in advance and bring on the plane…there’s nothing worse than being hungry on a plane!
Favorite In-Flight Snack: Almonds, Chex Mix and pretzels are my go-to. I’m also always excited to discover something new at one of our CIBO Markets.
Window or Aisle: Aisle.
Stay tuned for our next Crewmember Up Close feature. Want to get involved? Visit otgexp.com/careers now.