The Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday announced a multiyear deal with Chicago-based Levy Restaurants to operate concession stands and manage premium beverage operations during major events, including the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR Brickyard 400.
IBJ first reported IMS officials were considering outsourcing its food services last September. Speedway officials had been asking bidders to commit to making unspecified infrastructure upgrades to help enhance the customer experience and increase sales at the 560-acre facility. It’s not clear at this time what those improvements might include.
Financial terms of the deal between the IMS and Levy were not disclosed.
It’s unclear whether Levy will have a role in providing food and beverage services to the Speedway's 125 suites and other corporate clients. Last fall, IMS President Doug Boles said a new food vendor wouldn’t necessarily mean that the three current suite caterers—Jug’s Catering, Ritz Charles Caterers and Cibus Food Service—would be kicked out.
The Levy deal is quite a departure from years past when the IMS not only sought to keep tight control of its own concession stands but had considered efforts to use its in-house crew to bid on food service jobs at other venues.
The move to outsource concession sales signals a reversal in philosophy at a time when IMS is searching for ways to cut costs and increase revenue.
Annual concession sales—which include the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, MotoGP motorcycle race and a handful of smaller events—total more than $3.5 million, sources said. IMS officials clearly think they can increase that revenue stream.
“Our new partnership with Levy will bring an enhanced level of innovation and a focus on customer service to our food and beverage offerings,” IMS President Doug Boles said in a prepared statement. “Levy will manage over 100 concessions locations and over the next few years will introduce broader menus, themed areas, outside vendors, better point of sale technology, and improved signage. These changes will give our fans the best concessions options in all of racing add will improve the overall fan experience at IMS.”
Levy also has deals to provide food services at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse and at Purdue University in addition to myriad other deals nationwide.