Levy adds a new ingredient to sports menus: big data

Deluxe sports food is not the competitive edge it used to be for Levy Restaurants.

Fare like the black bean veggie burger at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the low-country shrimp and grits at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta helped Levy build a portfolio of clients that stands at 45 of all 113 major U.S. sports venues, more than any other food-service company. But rivals, namely Philadelphia’s Aramark Sports and Entertainment Services LLC and Delaware North Cos. Sportservice of Buffalo, New York, are pulling pages from Levy’s high-end playbook, making restaurant-quality, locally themed dishes more common on stadium menus nationwide.

Even so, Levy has booked nearly a dozen major sports teams and venues over the past two years, including the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Portland Trailblazers and the Phoenix Coyotes. But other major deals have slipped away.

So Levy is running a new play, and it has little to do with the beef brisket sandwich at the United Center or the High Plains Bison burger at Wrigley Field.

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