Compass Group and Levy Restaurants announced today that the two companies have entered into an international strategic partnership that brings together recognized market leaders of the foodservice industry. Compass Group is the world’s largest and one of the most respected foodservice management organizations with market penetration in more than 75 countries worldwide. Levy Restaurants is a specialized restaurant and foodservice organization with the leading market share of premium catering operations at sports, entertainment and convention facilities in North America and a network of internationally acclaimed restaurants. The companies have executed an agreement that includes the Compass Group’s acquisition of a minority interest in Levy Restaurants.

Gary R. Green, President and Chief Executive Officer, Compass Group, said, “We have long admired Levy Restaurants’ total devotion to quality and creativity. From their foundation as passionate restaurateurs, they have cultivated the tastebuds of sports and entertainment guests throughout the U.S. and have become truly the best in the business.” He added, “This partnership is strategically beneficial for Compass as we pursue our interest and growth in premium foodservice opportunities worldwide. We are the market leader in Europe and Levy Restaurants holds the same position in North America — together we can have tremendous worldwide impact.”

“This is a wonderful, strategic partnership for both companies,” said Larry Levy Chairman and CEO of Levy Restaurants. “Based on our expertise in restaurants and hospitality, we set the standard for sports and entertainment dining experiences in the United States, and our partnership with the Compass Group will allow us to grow our business throughout the world. We have the utmost respect for the Compass organization and its people, and are fortunate to have formed a partnership with a company whose values and practices are so similar to our own.”

Levy Restaurants, a privately held organization based in Chicago, currently operates one of the industry’s most diverse portfolios within its business groups. The Restaurant Group includes the four-star Spiaggia, Bistro 110 and Blackhawk Lodge in Chicago, as well as two restaurants at Walt Disney World; Portobello Yacht Club and Fulton’s Crab House, the eighth highest grossing restaurant in the U.S. Today, the entire Restaurant Group includes 20 locations, ranging from fine dining to casual dining.

The Sports and Entertainment Group represents a foodservice specialty pioneered by Levy Restaurants — providing unique restaurant quality dining experiences at sports facilities, entertainment venues and convention centers. Since developing the niche in 1982, the company has grown the business and currently works in 30 locations, in stadiums, arenas, convention facilities and music/performance venues in 15 markets across the U.S.

Levy Restaurants Sports and Entertainment portfolio includes: AmericanAirlines Arena (Miami); America’s Center (St. Louis); Arlington International Racecourse (Chicago); Arlington Trackside (Chicago); Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City); Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre (Orlando); Comiskey Park (Chicago); Conseco Fieldhouse (Indianapolis); Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles); Edison International Field of Anaheim (Anaheim); Florida Citrus Bowl (Orlando); Jacobs Field (Cleveland); Gaylord Entertainment Center (Nashville); Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago); MCI Center (Washington, D.C.); McCormick Place Convention Center (Chicago); Navy Pier (Chicago); Network Associates Coliseum (Oakland); Orange County Convention Center (Orlando); Pepsi Center (Denver); Philips Arena (Atlanta); Pro Player Stadium (Miami); Ravinia Music Festival (Chicago); Staples Center (Los Angeles); TD Waterhouse Centre (Orlando); Oakland Arena (Oakland); Trans World Dome (St. Louis); and Wrigley Field (Chicago). The new PNC Park (Pittsburgh) is set to open in 2001. At its locations, Levy Restaurants has catered the NBA All-Star Game, MLB All-Star Game, the Democratic National Convention, GRAMMY Awards, Presidential Inaugural Ball, NBA Championship Game and NFL Super Bowl.

Levy Restaurants has also extended its unique approach to foodservice into its Consulting and Advisory Services Group. The group specializes in offering brand development and customized foodservice programs to an extensive range of partners, such as Tyson’s, Sony, GameWorks, AMC Theaters and Fox Sports. Through its Business Dining Group, Levy Restaurants also translates its restaurant expertise into dynamic dining experiences for the associates of high-tech and entertainment-based companies such as marchFIRST, divine interVentures, and Crate & Barrel.

Compass Group is the Official Catering Services Supplier for the 2002 Olympic Winter and Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City. Compass Group will provide catering and concession services to the 3,500 residents of the Olympic Village as well as more than 125,000 people daily during the Olympic Winter Games, including members of the worldwide media, judges and officials.

Compass Group, North American Division has annual revenues of $2.9 billion and employs more than 63,000 associates.

Levy Restaurants is a private company, which currently operates 50 foodservice locations in 18 national markets. Levy Restaurants is headquartered at 980 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Levy Restaurants’ phone number is 312.664.8200 and can be found on the Internet at