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December 07, 2021

Philadelphia's Aramark, Starr Restaurants join forces on nationwide culinary partnership

The collaboration between the two Philadelphia companies will bring new food concepts to venues across the U.S.

Food & Drink Business
Aramark Stephen Starr Partnership Courtesy/Aramark

Aramark and Starr Restaurants will collaborate to bring the Philadelphia restaurateurs culinary concepts and expertise to clients across the United States in higher education, business dining, sports and entertainment, convention centers, cultural attractions and other food service divisions, the companies said.

Philadelphia-based food services provider and culinary group Starr Restaurants are teaming up on a strategic collaboration that will bring the restaurateur's food concepts to new venues around the United States, the companies announced Tuesday.

As part of the agreement, Aramark has acquired a minority ownership position in Starr Restaurants, the group led by James Beard Award winning restaurateur Stephen Starr. The company is one of the largest multi-concept, independent restaurant groups in the United States.

Aramark serves more than 200 stadiums, arenas, convention centers and concerts around the country, in addition to dining operations at universities, prisons, hospitals and other institutions. The company also operates in more than 20 other countries and is one of Philadelphia's largest employers.

In a news release on Tuesday, Aramark chief operating officer Marc Bruno said the partnership will bring Starr's culinary expertise into the company's future offerings.

"Being based in Philadelphia, we have had a front-row seat as Stephen Starr — one of the culinary pioneers of our city’s food scene — elevated the dining experience and helped make Philadelphia one of the best food cities in the country. Through this strategic collaboration, we look forward to furthering Aramark’s culinary authority by infusing our kitchens and concepts with the creativity and innovation that Starr Restaurants is famous for."

Starr Restaurants was born in Philadelphia in the mid-1990's and has grown to more than 20 concepts in the city alone. More than a dozen additional Starr restaurant locations operate in New York, South Florida and Washington, D.C.

"This collaboration is a unique opportunity for both Starr Restaurants and Aramark," Starr said. "I began my career as a concert promoter in stadiums and major arenas and am eager to get back into large entertainment venues, but this time in the culinary space. It is an exciting opportunity to converge my two career passions alongside an industry leader like Aramark."

As part of the new collaboration, Aramark will have an exclusive licensing agreement to operate designated Starr concepts and brands within multiple lines of its business. That could include Philadelphia's professional sports venues — the Wells Fargo Center, Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field — where Aramark is already the food services provider.

Other opportunities the companies highlighted include higher education, business dining, entertainment, convention centers and cultural attractions.

"The company’s impressive and consistent growth, and its deep commitment to providing high-quality hospitality experiences makes it the perfect food service company partner for Starr Restaurants," Starr continued. "I look forward to developing innovative and cool concepts for many of Aramark’s clients and customers around the country, as well as a robust and beneficial knowledge exchange among our talented leaders."