Levi's Stadium Brings In Levy

49ers home pacts with Levy restaurants for concessions

  • by Don Muret
  • Published: February 28, 2018

Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif., has contracted Levy to run all concessions.

The San Francisco 49ers have signed Levy to run all aspects of food service at Levi’s Stadium. Chicago-based Levy signed a 12-year agreement and takes over the building on April 15, according to 49ers President Al Guido.

Levy replaces Centerplate, which had been the 49ers’ concessionaire dating to Candlestick Park. At Levi’s Stadium, Centerplate operated general concessions and premium dining since the Santa Clara facility opened in August 2014.

The switch in food vendors comes after the 49ers issued a proposal in 2017, more than a year before Centerplate’s deal was set to expire, sources said. The expiration date was April 2019, reported by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

“Centerplate did a nice job for us the first four years,” Guido said. “It was unfortunate in the last year [that] the company was going through a transition and was up for sale. We just felt like it was time for us to have a long-term provider.”

The 49ers selected Levy because team officials felt the company is the best in the business, he said. In addition, Levy runs the food at Oracle Arena in Oakland and last year, it was awarded the contract at Chase Center, the Golden State Warriors’ new arena opening in 2019.

Plus, Bon Appetit, Levy’s sister company under the Compass Group umbrella, has taken over the concessions at AT&T Park, where it already fed premium patrons. Bon Appetit is also Levy’s partner at Chase Center.

“We really like the economies of scale on the service and staff side,” Guido said. “You’re employing roughly 1,000 to 1,500 workers on game day, for 10 days a year, so we felt like Levy, with their Bay Area footprint, provided us a little more certainty around staffing measures.”

At Levi’s Stadium, fan satisfaction scores were poor for Centerplate with regard to the game day experience, and that’s another reason why the team went searching for a new concessionaire, Guido said.

It wasn’t all Centerplate’s fault though. Some design issues tied to concession stands posed operational challenges, and that’s one issue Levy will address for the coming season, Guido said.

“There are a number of things that we can add to the mix as collective partners to increase points of sale and operational efficiencies,” he said. “For whatever reason, we didn’t get to those with Centerplate over the first couple years, and we’re learning. Fan experience has changed every year dramatically. This partnership gives us the ability to take a fresh look at how we operate, what the stands are and what they look like and how many portables are in the building.”

Levy responded to the RFP with an aggressive offer to invest capital for upgrading the food operation, Guido said. The Business Journal reported Levy plans to spend $10 million in improvements over the first six years of its contract and will set aside $1 million annually in an innovations fund.

“That’s a big piece of why we selected them as well, the financial stability of the company … not only do they run large scale operations but small-scale restaurants,” he said.

Whether the 49ers adopt value menu pricing similar to what the Atlanta Falcons have done is up in the air, Guido said. Levy runs the food at Mercedes-Benz Stadium where fans can buy $2 hot dogs, sodas and popcorn and $5 beers. The Falcons pay Levy a management fee and the team funds the cost of food and drink supplies. Guido would not disclose Levy’s financial model at Levi’s Stadium.

“We’re talking to Levy right now about menu offerings, local [brands] and suppliers,” he said. “The important part for us is to add a bunch of sales to our operation. It’s been known at halftime that our stands at Levi’s get hit pretty hard. Nothing’s out of the question. We’re taking a look at everything across the board.”

For Levy, 49ers marks its seventh NFL account. In addition to the Falcons, the vendor deals with the Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins, Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers, a temporary tenant at StubHub Center in suburban Los Angeles.




  • by Don Muret
  • Published: February 28, 2018