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Bobcats Announce Foodservice Program For Charlotte Bobcats Arena

June 23, 2005 - The Charlotte Bobcats have partnered with Charlotte food consultant John Sergi, and industry leading-Levy Restaurants, Compass Group, the Americas Division’s sports and entertainment strategic partner to develop a diverse and customer-focused food and beverage program for the Charlotte Bobcats Arena, it was announced today by Barry Silberman, chief operating officer for the Charlotte Bobcats Arena.

“We are committed to making the Charlotte Bobcats Arena a first-class sports and entertainment facility, and our partnership with John Sergi and Levy Restaurants assures that our foodservice program will have the same mark of quality,” Silberman said. “Our menu and our attention to detail will be unlike anything Charlotte has seen before in event food service, and we are looking forward to providing visitors to the Charlotte Bobcats Arena with a truly unique food experience.”

The Charlotte Bobcats Arena opens this fall as home to the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, WNBA’s Charlotte Sting and ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers. The arena also will host a range of concerts, events and family shows and is slated to open Oct. 21 with a tour stop by the Rolling Stones. Foodservice for all arena events including restaurant dining, concessions, club and luxury seating and non-event catering will be provided by Levy, and the core menu is being tailored specifically to Charlotte’s tastes.

“We talked to the Charlotte fan at a very early stage in the development of the arena’s foodservice program – an unusual approach in sports facility foodservice – and asked them what they wanted from their dining experience at arena events,” said Sergi, a consultant who worked with the Bobcats and local sports marketing firm Muhleman Marketing, Inc. to conduct dedicated research in early 2004.

Sergi, who also consults with facilities and tournaments including the Wachovia Championship, USGA’s U.S. Open golf tournament, USTA’s U.S. Open tennis tournament and Wembley National Stadium, said the survey results found that event-goers primarily wanted three things from their dining experience at the arena.

“Charlotte told us they value good ‘basics,’ a variety of choices, and a fun, family atmosphere,” he said. “We are incorporating that feedback into the Charlotte Bobcats Arena foodservice plan and designing a menu that delivers exactly what the customer wants and creates an engaging dining experience for visitors to the arena.”

The core menu for general concessions will include popular “basic” items that remain event-goer favorites and an integral part of a sporting or arena event experience. At the Charlotte Bobcats Arena, however, this standard fare will have points of differentiation from other facilities, including greater attention to detail and quality. Among the menu items will be the Charlotte Big Dawg, a hotdog that is char-grilled and on a toasted bun, atypical of the boiled hot dog and steamed bun most frequently served at large public events. The Bobcats Burger will appeal to large appetites with its double-stacked beef patties and will feature regional topping favorites including beanless chili, chopped slaw, mustard and onion. A layered salad is an example of a menu item that will offer variety and a non-traditional, lighter fare.

The complete core menu for general concession as well as menus for premium seating and luxury suites and all pricing will be announced closer to the opening of the arena.

“To be a part of creating an unparalleled fan experience that includes great food and genuine hospitality is right in line with our culinary expertise and the passion we share with our guests,” said Andy Lansing, president and chief executive officer of industry leader Levy Restaurants. “By delivering innovative food options and outstanding service, Levy is devoted to assuring that there is something for everyone to taste at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena.”

“As a local company, we are very proud to work with such a world-class organization right in our own backyard. Not only are we excited to be partnering with the Charlotte Bobcats, but with all the premier events the Bobcats will be bringing to the arena,” said Kurt Kimball, executive vice president, Compass Group, The Americas Division.

Among the arena’s unique and family-friendly offerings will be its children’s food and beverage choices at general concession. A kids menu will offer several selections – food more palatable to children, sized appropriately and with beverages included – for the younger fan. For beverages, fresh Carolina sweet tea and unsweet tea will be available along with the favorite mix of tea and lemonade popularly called an “Arnold Palmer.”

Within the arena, every item on the core menu will be featured at six grilling stations equally distributed throughout the main concourses, assuring fans will have to spend less time away from the event in seeking out their food options. The grilling stations will be complemented by a variety of other concession stands and free-standing foodservice kiosks throughout the arena. Rock the Rooftop, an interactive fan area on the upper concourse that overlooks the arena bowl, also will feature a grilling station with the core menu items, allowing fans to eat and socialize while they enjoy the games and live events.

“The NCharlotte Bobcats Arena has been designed with every consideration to the fan experience in mind, from sight lines to comfort to convenience,” said Silberman. “As we near completion of the arena and its opening date this fall, we will continue to look for ways to bring the fan the highest quality in amenities and services. Our foodservice plan, guided by Levy Restaurants’ long-standing excellence in this field, will be among the integral facets that make the Charlotte Bobcats Arena experience unparalleled.”

Chicago-based Levy Restaurants is recognized as one of the country’s fastest growing and most critically acclaimed restaurant companies and is the market leader in premium sports and entertainment dining. The company owns, manages or operates 95 locations, including 24 restaurants and 71 sports and entertainment venues, in 41 markets across North America and Canada. Levy’s portfolio includes award-winning restaurants such as Spiaggia and Bistro 110 in Chicago and Fulton’s Crab House in Walt Disney World®, along with a scorecard of events including numerous Super Bowls, Grammy Awards, major league All-star and championship games, World Series, Kentucky Derbys and NASCAR racing. For further details on Levy Restaurants visit the company Web site at www.levyrestaurants.com.

Charlotte-based Compass Group, The Americas Division is the largest contract foodservice company with $6.7 billion in revenues and more than 152,000 associates throughout the US, Canada and Latin America. Its parent company, UK-based Compass Group PLC was ranked the ninth largest employer by Fortune magazine in 2004. It has worldwide revenues of $19 billion with over 400,000 associates working in more than 90 countries. For more information about Compass Group, The Americas Division, visit www.cgnad.com.

John Sergi is a leading food consultant developing strategic foodservice programs for major sports and entertainment properties worldwide for almost two decades. A Charlotte, N.C., resident, Sergi consults around the world for clients including properties in the NFL and the NBA, tournaments with the PGA and facilities including Wembley National Stadium Limited and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.