Spartans Oversee Levi’s Stadium Food and Beverage Operation

Photo: Terrell Lloyd/San Francisco 49ers

Photo: Terrell Lloyd/San Francisco 49ers

With Super Bowl 50 in San Jose State’s backyard, guests of the Broncos/Panthers showdown at Levi’s Stadium on Feb. 7 will encounter Spartans working in different capacities, including hospitality management.

Melissa Leong, ’10 Hospitality Tourism and Event Management, is part of Levi’s Stadium’s Centerplate team, along with other SJSU students and recent graduates. Their role? Ensuring game day is memorable for guests in the United Airlines Club and Yahoo Fantasy Football Lounge.

Manager of 100 employees

As club manager of Centerplate, a food and beverage provider for the stadium, Leong said she utilizes her experience gained with SJSU’s Special Event Management Team at the 2009 AT&T Pro-Am in Pebble Beach to provide exceptional service.

“It was a phenomenal program that put us students in real-world business situations to manage and oversee a major hospitality situation,” Leong said.

Now overseeing a staff of more than 100 employees on major event days such as the upcoming Super Bowl, Leong is preparing to serve thousands of guests alongside senior hospitality management major Danielle Vidal.

Levi’s 501 Club supervisor

Vidal, a fellow participant in the SEMT program, is a supervisor for the premium Levi’s 501 Club at the 400 level of the stadium.

“I got where I am today by making connections through my classmates, friends, professors and managers,” Vidal said. “The Super Bowl is a world-renowned event that everyone knows of and it is even better to be doing this as a current Spartan.”

Vidal will spend game day managing 2,500 guests and ensuring they enjoy Centerplate’s eight food and beverage options, all while maintaining high levels of cleanliness and Super Bowl fun.

Suite administrator

Andrew Fernandez, ’13 Hospitality, Tourism, and Event Management, a former Centerplate suite administrator, has worked at Levi’s Stadium since its inaugural season in 2014.

Now as a Premium Member Services representative for the San Francisco 49ers, Fernandez is preparing to focus on assisting Premium Club seat members to ensure their experience is unforgettable.

“The realization of it has not yet sunk in,” Fernandez said. “Right now we are going 1,000 mph gearing up for it so it’s a little hard to fathom at the moment.”

Worthwhile profession

Leong has spent her time leading up to game day by training employees, building business plans and reaching decisions regarding the overall operation of her clubs.

“It makes the long hours and endless meetings all worthwhile,” Leong said. “At the end of the day, we will be a part of an event that will be watched by the entire planet and even out of this world—I hear it will be beamed to the Space Station!”