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Speedway outsources concession stand operations

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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.

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  • Calm Down Folks
    Where does it say no more coolers people? That will not happen, IMS is not stupid.
  • Beginning of the End
    This will truly be the beginning of the end to IMS as we all know it to be. I have been to some of Levy's venues and all I can say is. I will most likely be staying home watching the race(s) before I pay the high price of food at the track. I'm used to paying $5.00 for a hamburger and $8.00 for turkey legs. Needless to say it's going to cost a whole lot more....No Thank You! If anybody has went to a Pacer's game and seen the prices, you know that its going to cost you more than that at IMS. Levy's is not going to come in and do this without making money, so you know the prices are going to go thru the roof. Just sayin.
  • if they need it, build it
    No one is stopping the IMS from developing their own property. They own about 80% of the land surrounding the track. I suspect it's a shift 4 problem on their part.
  • Fundraiser
    I guess this will cancel the $$thousands of dollars that tax-exempt groups earn each race by manning the food stands, cleaning up, etc.
  • Scott Nailed It
    The coolers will surely be tossed out in favor of the usual stadium price gouging. I love the track, but this will simply provide fans yet another reason to stay home during the month of May.
  • Levy volunteer usage
    Levy was the firm that ran the concession tents on Georgia Street during the SuperBowl. Our HS Band program runs a stand at the Speedway and was also invited to work at the SuperBowl for Levy. I hope IMS stipulated Levy use that model. Several non-profits depend on that fundraising money.
  • Will churches lose funding?
    For as far back as I can remember, our church has contracted with the Speedway to operate a concession stand for all of the races. In exchange for providing the manpower to cook and serve the food, the Speedway made a donation to our church. I wonder how the new deal will affect our church's arrangement? I'm guessing we're out!
    • Goodbye coolers
      No vendor in their right mind would commit to all this without the Speedway banning carry-in coolers of food and booze. Goodbye to the days of being able lug your own case of beer and sandwiches in. Hello to $10 beers and $12 hamburgers.
    • museum of transportation and racing
      Why not a full museum of transportation and racing including all types, air, rail, boat, car, motorcycle, etc
    • why not an antique car museum
      Why not an antique car museum torival the Auburn Cord Museum focusing on Indianapolis Auto Companies from late 1800's to mid 1900's.
    • why not a year round destination
      The Indy 500 Track needs hotels nearby with entertainment near or onsite, movie theaters, restaurants, themed entertainment insde thetrack, a convention center forracing enthusiasts formeetings, perhaps high rise office buildings, hotels, etc. It needs to be a walkable mile surrounding the track. A year round destination makes sense, whatabout winter racing, snowmobiles, winter motorcycle racing, 4 wheelers, etc. Why not a winter Lemans race. Why not concert venue under the coverin the grandstands.
      • Cheese please
        Maybe they will have cheese on the Track Burgers now.

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