Recorded January 14, 2021.
Tune into a virtual conversation with the legendary Larry Levy – one of the biggest names in the food service industry. After co-founding Levy Restaurants with his brother Mark in 1978, Larry Levy successfully grew the company from a small Chicago delicatessen into the country’s largest sports entertainment catering company. With more than $1 billion in yearly revenue, Levy Restaurants’ more than 50,000 employees provide food services to sports stadiums, concert arenas and entertainment venues from Wrigley Field to Walt Disney World. In 2006, Larry sold his entire company to the UK-based Compass Group PLC, the world’s largest food-service company. Today, Larry acts as Chairman Emeritus of Levy Restaurants – which retained its name after the Compass purchase largely due to the stellar reputation of the company in the United States.
Our conversation, led by Cresset’s Senior Partner, General Counsel Bill Rudnick, takes us on a journey from Larry’s early days at his Chicago deli to where he sits today at the helm of a giant in the food service industry and leader in real estate development, co-founding Diversified Real Estate Capital, which led to the launch of the Cresset Diversified partnership. We discuss the mistakes and triumphs of Larry’s career – and the many steps in between – that enabled him to turn a small company into a now international food industry behemoth while simultaneously launching a career in real estate development and investment. Larry also shares what he has learned as he transitioned from the role of Co-Founder and CEO to Chairman after he sold his company and the advice he’d give others contemplating that leap. Finally, we talk about how Levy Restaurants coped with the COVID-19 pandemic when so many of their partners and clients were effectively and indefinitely shut down.