Pappas Restaurants has filed a protest with the city of Houston after another company was awarded a contract with Hobby Airport.
The protest accuses the city of violating several city policies and state law. Pappas has four restaurants at Hobby Airport: Pappadeaux, Pappa’s Bar-B-Q, Pappas Burgers, and Pappasito’s Cantina.
“On March 13, we filed a post-award protest with the City of Houston’s Chief Procurement Officer," Chris Pappas CEO of Pappas Restaurants said in an emailed statement. "The City violated its own policies throughout the entirety of the Hobby Airport procurement process, and we intend to continue to investigate and hold them accountable."
According to the protest, some members of the evaluation committee lacked the relevant experience to serve on the committee. It also claims the City of Houston applied unstated evaluation criteria.
Jedediah Greenfield, Chief Procurement Officer with the City of Houston, confirmed the city has received the protest.
"We are working expeditiously on our review and response to the protest. Once we complete our review and response, we will reach out to schedule the requested debrief as per our standard process,” he said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has previously said the Pappas chain is running a “smear campaign” against the city over its decision to pick another vendor to run concessions at Hobby. Areas USA was selected in a 11-6 vote by the council on March 9.
Pappas claims the city's evaluation of proposed compensation was "arbitrary and capricious and highly prejudicial" to 4 Families, Pappas' company, and the city also ignored its 20 years of sales at Hobby, and only focused on the award company Areas' projected sales.
"On information and belief, Areas massively inflated their estimated revenue from the first round to the third round to a seemingly unreliable figure above 4 Families."
According to the document, it cites the city's code of ordinance and administrative policies.
"[A]ll procurements to maximize the opportunity for fair and open competition; (2) all procurements to be conducted in a fair, open, and transparent manner; (3) all evaluation committees include City employees with relevant experience; (4) all proposals be evaluated according to the criteria identified in the RFP; and (5) the evaluation committee's recommendation reflect the consensus of the committee."
Pappas requested a post-award debrief with the city and a summary of the rationale for the award to Areas.
Pappas made 10 requests that the city follow to relief the protest, including determine that the city conducted a flawed procurement, set aside the awarding contract to Areas, and provide a post-award debrief.
"In addition to filing a protest, we have requested a post-award debriefing, which is permitted by the City of Houston’s most recent Procurement Manual," Pappas said in a statement. "We have not received a response from the Procurement Department to either the debriefing request or our protest. We will continue to fight for a just process, and we will continue to pursue all legal actions available."