Head of Food & Beverage | Live Nation
Premium and VIP opportunities continue to be a bright spot for the live sports and entertainment business, and food and beverage are a huge factor in the overall experience.
“We’re seeing some of the greatest results that we’ve ever seen in our business,” said Andy Yates, head of food & beverage for Live Nation’s Venue Nation division. He oversees F&B at the company’s outdoor amphitheaters, indoor theaters and clubs. “Take the growth of premium spirits. We’re offering more high-end choices at every point of sale and adding more cocktail options to our program,” he says, noting a new batch of cocktails created by noted mixologist Sean Kenyon.
Meeting fans’ VIP experience expectations means expanding suite environments as well as making the VIP experience more available overall, Yates said.
“I am proud that we are attracting the best in the business to work on our food & beverage teams — at all levels,” he said, noting continued momentum with following partnerships with celebrity chefs started in 2018.
Yates, who joined Live Nation in 2016 after most recently being with Jimmy Buffett’s Margarativille overseeing 400 employees, notes the importance of high quality ingredients produced in a sustainable fashion. He says it’s meaningful to work for — and be a leader at — a company that promotes and celebrates diversity among its staff.
“This is the first job in many years where I feel comfortable to be myself and where I feel truly accepted,” he said, which allows him to be a strong mentor to others. “With diversity comes incredible talent, creative minds and well-rounded strong individuals.”
He says Live Nation has been supportive in multiple ways.
“After the impacts of Route 91, I didn’t think that I would be able to come back to working in the live entertainment space,” said Yates, who was on site during the Las Vegas festival massacre in 2017. “However, I had the support of Live Nation and my colleagues who helped me through it by giving me space to heal and helping me process the experience. Thanks to this support, I’m back out at a live show every night.”