Aramark partners with Starr

The Buddakan in the Chelsea neighbourhood of New York is one the successful brands within the Starr portfolio.
IMAGO / Levine-Roberts
The Buddakan in the Chelsea neighbourhood of New York is one the successful brands within the Starr portfolio.

Aramark and Starr Restaurant Organization, both based in Philadelphia, announced a collaboration that will expand founder Stephen Starr's brands and merge his ideas with the food and facilities management giant's far-reaching businesses.

Aramark will acquire a minority stake in Starr's restaurant company. Starr will gain a nationwide presence that extends well beyond its more than two dozen restaurants in four states from New York to Florida, including 15 in Philadelphia.

Aramark and Starr will share their creative and operational knowledge, the companies announced. In an interview, Starr emphasized that he will continue to manage his restaurants, including Parc, Barclay Prime and Buddakan in Philadelphia. The deal also provides for an exclusive licensing agreement that will allow Aramark to operate certain Starr concepts and brands in multiple lines of business while providing national visibility for Starr's concepts through Aramark's extensive customer base in higher education, business catering, sports and entertainment, convention centers and other food service areas. For example, Starr says Aramark could offer Jackass Burritos, a Starr-created spirit cuisine, in college dining halls, stadiums and arenas.

New concept in fast casual sector

"I'm excited about those kinds of things," Starr said, adding that he welcomes the challenge of working on new concepts in the fast-casual sector, an area Starr has not yet explored extensively. Aramark, a Fortune 500 company valued at $9 billion, says it serves 100 million people annually at its facilities in colleges, corporations, sports and entertainment centers, convention centers and cultural attractions nationwide.

About Starr

Founded in 1995 by Stephen Starr, Philadelphia-based Starr Restaurants is one of the largest multi-concept restaurant groups in the United States. Over the past two decades, Starr has transformed Philadelphia into one of the most vibrant restaurant cities in the United States. STARR's landmark success in Philadelphia, New York City, Washington DC, Florida and beyond has earned it numerous awards, including "Restaurateur of the Year" from Bon Appétit and Zagat and "Outstanding Restaurateur" from the James Beard Foundation. In 2017, two Starr restaurants, Le Coucou in New York City and The Clocktower, were named Best New Restaurant and Michelin Star, respectively, by the James Beard Foundation.