SBJ/March 18-24, 2013/Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40



Photo by: JASON GRUBB
Carl Mittleman’s start in the food business began at the age of 13, selling three bones for two bucks at a Cleveland rib fest. Three years later, he interviewed for a job at a local country club. He could either work in the golf shop or clear dirty dishes from the dining room.

Mittleman chose the bus-boy position — and he fell in love with the food service industry.

“I don’t know what it was. … I think most normal 16-year-olds would have worked in the golf shop,” Mittleman said.

Over his 16 years with Aramark, Mittleman has played a key role in bringing local flavors to arenas and ballparks across North America. It’s a movement tied to hiring well-known chefs in individual markets to recreate their best recipes in a sports setting.

In his hometown of Cleveland, Aramark took over the Browns’ premium dining last season at FirstEnergy Stadium. The vendor brought in three chefs/local restaurateurs, including “Iron Chef” star Michael Symon, to help Aramark upgrade the food operation. The new food concepts and Aramark’s makeover of club-level concessions resonated with Browns fans, generating more than 20 percent growth in food revenue over the 2011 season.

The theme has come a long way since Mittleman’s days as an Aramark intern at Coors Field, a point in time when the Rocky Mountain oyster stand was the best example of a local brand at the ballpark.

“What’s wild is the social media aspect of it,” Mittleman said. “These [chef] partners have great followers, and to see fans talking about going to a Browns game … that to me is changing the fan experience, when they’re relating the chef to the venue, the team and the food.”

Mittleman was promoted to regional vice president in 2009 and today oversees Aramark’s central region, a vast territory stretching from Colorado to Ohio, and from Texas to Saskatchewan. That oversight responsibility includes 11,000 employees, including 400 front-line managers.

In Denver, where he is based, Mittleman is not afraid to make in-season adjustments if there are improvements to be made, according to Greg Feasel, the Rockies’ executive vice president and chief operating officer. It’s a quality not lost on the Rockies’ brass.

“If something is not working in April or May, he’ll change it,” Feasel said. “He is really a stakeholder.”

— Don Muret



Age: 37
 Title: Regional vice president
COMPANY: Aramark Sports and Entertainment
EDUCATION: B.S., Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration; MBA, University of Denver
FAMILY: Wife, Jennifer; daughter, Dorie (7); son, Seth (4½)
CAREER: Lifer with Aramark; jobs at Coors Field; PNC Park; Dodger Stadium; and in Alaska and Germany

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.
WORST ADVICE RECEIVED: Alaska is really not that far away.
IPOD PLAYLIST: Lots of Zac Brown Band
FAVORITE IPAD APPS: NFL Sunday Ticket, Pandora, Twitter, United Airlines
TWITTER HANDLE: @carlorado
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: Luvs family, food, travel; works hard,plays hard;high expectations,humor,loyal,
passion,puts others 1st;some say moody?,#DEN home,#CLE homer
FARTHEST TRAVELED FROM U.S.: India
REACTION TO FORTY UNDER 40 SELECTION: Hey Mom, I told you selling hot dogs and beer is a real profession.
FANTASY JOB: The Chairman on “Iron Chef”
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.” (“Airplane”)
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