Levy Restaurants Placing Robots in Stadium/Arena Kitchens

Levy Restaurants

Levy Restaurants is working in collaboration with Miso Robotics to develop an industrial robotic arm capable of handling assistant cook responsibilities, within commercial kitchens at sporting venues. “Flippy”, “built as a 3rd hand for overworked chefs”, will be able to complete a variety of tasks ranging from flipping hamburgers (hence, the name) to changing out spatulas that touch raw food (per safety regulations). The robotic kitchen assistants will take over positions that require less skill, but the individuals currently occupying those jobs will not be let go; Levy Restaurants (and its venue partners) intend on moving those individuals into consumer facing, customer service roles. Though still in the initial pilot testing phase, the technology is expected to debut at Dodger Stadium this summer.

Howie Long-Short: Levy Restaurants built a 10-person robotics and AI team, invested $2 million into “Flippy” and then participated in Miso Robotics $10 million Series B round (the company has raised $13.1 million in total); so, expect the future of industrial kitchens to have robots handling the cooking and prep work. The Compass Group (OTC: CMPGF) subsidiary is the world’s largest food service company, serving over $5.5 billion meals year, so their investment in a technology that will ensure more consistent food quality and increase the speed of delivery, seems wise. CMPGF isn’t the only way to play Miso Robotics though, Acacia Research (ACTG), a publicly traded patent licensing company, led both company rounds.

Fan Marino: It was disappointing to learn that “Flippy’s” Dodger Stadium debut will be at a popular fried chicken stand and he/she won’t be handling the “flipping” of the team’s traditional “Dodger Dogs”. Of course, tradition doesn’t necessarily mean high quality; hot dog historian Bruce Kraig once described the L.A. ballpark staple by saying, “it won’t kill you.” Since their 1962 debt, Farmer John (producer) has sold more than 3 million Dodger Dogs per year.

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World’s Largest Food Service Company Lands Levi’s Stadium Contract

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The San Francisco 49ers will be replacing long-time concessionaire Centerplate with the sports and entertainment hospitality provider Levy Restaurants, at Levi’s Stadium, come April. The newly signed food and beverage services contract covers all areas of the stadium including; concession stands, luxury suites and club levels. Known for bringing in local iconic food vendors, Levi’s Stadium guests can expect new dining destinations; though, celebrity chef Michael Mina’s Bourbon and Steak Pub and Sunday Tailgates will remain unchanged. Levy Restaurants is a leader within the hospitality space, maintaining high-profile contracts with Dodgers Stadium, Wrigley Field and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium among others.

Howie Long-Short: Levy Restaurants is a subsidiary of the Compass Group (OTC: CMPGF), the largest food service company in the world; serving over 5.5 billion meals/year across 50 countries. The company issued Q1 ’18 financials on February 8th, reporting organic revenue grew 5.9% YOY (including 8.2% within North America); with the vending and sports & leisure sector experiencing “particularly strong growth.” Strong results in U.S., combined with the rest of the world “performing better than expected”, has the company now projecting to be “above the middle of our target 4-6% organic growth range for the full year.” For reference purposes, the company generated $31 billion in 2017 revenue.

Fan Marino: While on the topic of the 49ers, star LB Reuben Foster was arrested earlier this month (for the 2nd time within a month, marijuana possession) on domestic violence threats and possession of an assault weapon; yet, somehow remains on the team. GM John Lynch claims he has a “very high standard” for player conduct, but that’s a bunch of hot air. His rules only apply to marginal talent (a tale as old as time) like Tramaine Brock (cut in April ’17 on suspicion of felony domestic violence); Foster was a 1st round pick, so he gets a free pass. NFL players were right to use their platform to protest racial inequality and police brutality; they would serve the society equally well protesting domestic violence and assault weapon possession.

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