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Published March 8, 2010
Marc Bruno’s world travels in the sports food business began in Little Italy, on Chicago’s West Side.
Since then Bruno, president of Aramark Sports, Entertainment and Conventions, has fed athletes and media at four Summer Olympics, dating back to the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Most recently, Bruno finished working his first Winter Games at General Motors Place in Vancouver, where Aramark served thousands of spectators attending 35 hockey games in 14 days. It’s like cramming 90 percent of an NHL season into two weeks, Bruno said.
He learned the ropes in food service as a teenager working at Ristorante Italia, the Chicago eatery that the Bruno family owned for 21 years, until 2000. He cooked, cleaned, served meals and counted money, receiving a strong education in the work force at an early age.
“My first love is being around the kitchen,” Bruno said. “I thought I was going to run the family restaurant.”
Bruno switched gears in college after hearing an Aramark executive speak about the experience of working the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. Bruno thought it would be interesting to work abroad and landed a summer internship for Aramark. He became a full-time employee in 1993 after graduation and was picked for the Atlanta team in 1994.
His role developing Olympic food programs for Aramark expanded over the years while he held several domestic and international positions with the company. Bruno was Aramark’s executive director at Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004.
In May 2008, Bruno was promoted to his current position, shortly before the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, where he was responsible for negotiating and signing Aramark’s largest Olympics contract to date. Aramark served more than 3.5 million meals in 60 days.
His experience paid off for Aramark at the most recent NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston, where the firm normally serves Red Sox fans during baseball season.
“The notion of gearing up for one big event and then shutting down was much easier to fathom after having the Olympics under your belt,” Bruno said.