Legends Hospitality has just signed one of the largest venue F&B contracts in history. In December, the company was awarded 34 amphitheaters under Live Nation management in a multiyear deal. Amplify caught up with Shervin Mirhashemi, president & COO of Legends, on Friday to discuss the deal.
How did this deal come about?
Mark Campana (co-president of Live Nation’s North America Concerts) is the one who got this started. They opened up F&B to an RFP process to find the best solution. He and I had an initial conversation in early 2014 — he told me about the RFP and asked if I was interested. I told him we absolutely were interested. Looking back at that conversation, it really resonated with both of us. The RFP process began in June 2014, and they made their decision in early December.
Is Legends creating a separate division to administer this contract?
Yes, we felt the amount of revenues involved here for Live Nation deserved having a dedicated structure focused on the Live Nation account. We created a dedicated team that is solely focused on Live Nation’s 34 amphitheaters across North America.
Where is the company going to be based?
It’s under the hospitality division of Legends Hospitality, which Dan Smith oversees as its president. They’ll be headquartered at our offices here in LA. Because this agreement covers all of North America, we’ll have regional teams in various locations.
Let’s talk about Legend’s vision. Amphitheater food has certainly not been great. What are some of your early plans for the sheds?
These facilities aren’t open year-round, and some of them don’t have the infrastructure for large-scale food delivery. We’re going to be really focused on developing innovative food and beverage programs, including premium services. We’re also going to look at POS systems and concepts that are a little more digital and seamless. Not only do we want to expedite service, but we also want to reach more customers over a long span of time. And the last piece is innovative technology — how do we engage with the customer and the fan earlier in the process? We want them to look at the venue as a place to hear music and to really experience something that includes a high-end, value-oriented food and beverage component. We are currently developing the programs and putting the pieces together, and we’ll roll them out over the next few months.
So this contract begins this summer concert season?
Yes, and you’ll see constant innovation as we develop this relationship from year to year. It is absolutely our intention to have many of these concepts kick off immediately. We’ll have more details as we go through this process — we’re going to look for things, like a picnic basket program, that resonate with customers around certain shows and within certain markets. We’re also going to look at grab and go, so fans can get tremendous quality and value in an expedited fashion. We’re going to look at increasing vending services, potentially in the lawn areas. There’s also a technology component — we’re looking at reaching customers in a much different way, not only from a time standpoint but also from an access standpoint. And it’s important to point out that we are creating custom experiences for the venues. We don’t want to take a concept that works in Los Angeles and roll it out across all venues. We’re going to give some flexibility to our general managers to create their own programs that work in their regions and venues.
Is this deal a contract or more of a 50-50 partnership?
This is absolutely a contract with Live Nation as the client and Legends as the concessionaire. But we have also agreed that our businesses are very complementary, and we’re going to be very strategic in how we approach the market. We’re going to look at delivering solutions together to third-party clients, and we think that this strategic relationship is going to be a real game-changer.