3-5-2013

Contact: Shelly Hoffman, Ohio State; or Eva Yusa, Levy Restaurants, 614-247-4748 or 312-335-5133

Ohio State names Levy Restaurants as exclusive food and beverage partner

Seven-year contract covers Schottenstein Center, athletic venues

Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State University has named Chicago-based Levy Restaurants as its exclusive food and beverage partner for the Jerome Schottenstein Center and Ohio State University Athletic Venues replacing the Sodexo contract that expires on June 30. The selection was made following a competitive process which attracted widespread interest from leading national food service providers.

"Through this new, seven-year agreement with Levy, Ohio State has an opportunity to work with a recognized leader in premium sports and entertainment dining to take our overall experience to the next level," said Xen Riggs, Ohio State's associate vice president for business advancement. "Together we will broaden our offerings with new national and local culinary partners and leverage Levy's exceptional hospitality expertise to create something truly unique for Ohio Stadium and the Schottenstein Center."

Levy recently was named one of the 10 most innovative companies in sports in the world by Fast Company magazine. The company’s portfolio includes more than 100 locations nationwide, from restaurants to sports and entertainment venues like Churchill Downs in Louisville, STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, and Chicago"s Wrigley Field.

"Ohio State is incredibly passionate about creating an exceptional experience for this vibrant community of students, faculty, family and fans," says Andy Lansing, President and CEO, Levy Restaurants. "We are thrilled to work together with Ohio State in every aspect, from how we partner with the community and local businesses, to offering a new variety of culinary options and an exciting new level of hospitality that celebrates the spirit of this distinguished institution."

The contract is effective July 1 and includes a $2 million allocation to Schottenstein Center infrastructure improvements and $6 million for food service infrastructure enhancements for all facilities that will include rebranding, signage, technology and equipment upgrades.

Riggs added that additional revenue will be generated through increased sales driven by more variety of offerings as well as an enhanced commission structure that returns an average of 9 percent more to the university than the previous contract. The new blended commission rate will be 43 percent; the current rate is 32 percent.

The current concession agreement generated $11.4 million in gross sales for fiscal year 2012 and Ohio State received $3.5 million in commission. Based upon existing sales volume, Riggs said that the university estimates it will generate approximately $1 million in additional revenue annually just from the enhanced commission structure alone.

"The university is committed to keeping food and beverage prices affordable and any increases would be determined by changes in market conditions, just as they have in the past and no increases will occur as a direct result of our new vendor or contract terms," Riggs said.

Corporate social responsibility remains a top priority for all university business relationships and the contract with Levy is no exception. Levy has a proven track record of giving back to communities and the environment.

Levy's sustainability efforts include recycling programs at all locations, eco-friendly serving ware, and local food sourcing and its global charitable partners are the Make a Wish Foundation, Feeding America and the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Local non-profit groups will continue to have the same opportunities to work Ohio State concessions to generate revenue for their organizations.

Other venues to be covered in the new agreement include the Bill Davis Stadium, Buckeye Field, Buckeye Varity Field, French Fieldhouse, Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, Jack Nicklaus Museum, Ohio Stadium, The Ohio State University Ice Rink, Jerome Schottenstein Center, St. John Arena, and the Varsity Tennis Center.

Levy Restaurants
Levy Restaurants, founded in Chicago in 1978, is recognized as one of America’s fastest growing and most critically acclaimed restaurant companies, and is the leader in premium sports and entertainment dining. Levy was recently named one of the 10 most innovative companies in sports in the world by Fast Company magazine. The company’s diverse portfolio includes award-winning restaurants such as James Beard Award-winning Spiaggia in Chicago, Fulton’s Crab House, Portobello and Wolfgang Puck Grand Café at Walt Disney World Resort, renowned sports and entertainment venues like Churchill Downs in Louisville, STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and events including the Super Bowl, World Series, US Open, Kentucky Derby, NASCAR racing, NHL, MLB and NBA All-Star Games and the GRAMMY® Awards. For details, visit www.levyrestaurants.com.

About The Ohio State University
Founded in 1870, The Ohio State University is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 56,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers, and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences, and the professions.