Distribution Giants

                              FE&S’s annual proprietary research results in the listing of the top 100 foodservice equipment and supplies dealers by sales volume.

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                              2021 Distribution Giants

                              Sales among the top 100 foodservice equipment and supplies dealers totaled $9.4 billion in 2020, down 14.37% from 2019’s total of $10.92 billion, according to the FE&S 2021 Distribution Giants study. In 2020 sales increased for only 16% of the dealers within the top 100, compared with 70% last year. That means 84% saw a decline in revenues in 2020, which should come as a surprise to nobody. This represents the first time since 2008 that total sales among the top 100 foodservice equipment and supplies dealers declined.

                              During the past year, the struggles of restaurant and foodservice operators have been well documented. But the business environment has been equally challenging for the supply chain that supports these operators, as the data points above illustrate. While the industry had endured other challenging times, such as the aftermath of 9/11 and the economic downturn of 2008-2009, it was clear the economic hardships brought forth by COVID-19 would be different right from the start.

                              “September 11 was an awful time in our industry, and it shut down travel, but it did not shut down dining altogether,” says Steve Don, CEO and president of Edward Don & Company, a foodservice equipment and supplies dealer based in Woodridge, Ill. “This was the first time that government mandated a shutdown of dining rooms across America, and it happened instantly. It was the suddenness of what happened and the bottom-line impact.”

                              As if the initial shock of seeing so many dining rooms close was not enough, the industry continued to muddle through wave after wave of uncertainty about what would come next. “If I had to put it into one word, it would be fear. In January and February, we wondered if this would hit us like they thought it would,” recalls Patricia Bible, president of KaTom Restaurant Supply, a dealership based in Kodak, Tenn. “We were getting mixed messages from the media and the government. Then April and May were worse than we thought. Everyone was living in fear for so long. It did not matter if it was the dealer, the end user or even the customer — there was a lot of fear.”

                              If operators’ businesses ground to a halt, it was only natural for the same thing to happen in the supply chain. “Many projects that we started pricing in the late fourth quarter of 2019 and in the first quarter of 2020 were stopped. The financials were not there,” says Kamran Amiri, vice president at Kamran and Company, a dealership based in Santa Barbara, Calif. “In general, the volume of work from the beginning of March until the end of 2020 was substantially reduced for the whole industry, and we were part of those issues.”

                              Annual Sales For Distribution Giants 2021And it was more than new project work that took a hit. “It certainly slowed growth, and it slowed everyday replacement ordering because nobody was going to spend money on anything they did not have to,” says Mark Rossi, CEO and founder of Avanti Restaurant Solutions, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based dealer. “Some of the chains did climb out of it quickly, though.”

                              Despite the ongoing challenges, the industry started to show some signs of life toward the summer of 2020. Dealers with a solid e-commerce infrastructure, such as KaTom and Clark Associates, a dealership based in Lancaster, Pa., seemed to fare well during 2020. “We were really happy with all aspects of our business,” says Gene Clark, CEO of Clark Associates, which ascended to the top spot of FE&S’ Giants list this year. “The contract side of our business was challenged somewhat because those customers pulled those projects off the street. The other aspects of our business had their best years ever. We met a lot of new customers last year.”

                              One key to weathering an economic tsunami like the one that accompanied COVID-19 is diversification. “In 2008, we lost some big jobs due to the financial crisis. What helped us weather that storm was diversification. We were able to continue working on prison jobs, military bases and other projects. This experience helped us,” notes Amiri. This time around, his company had two large casino projects that kept moving during the pandemic, which helped offset slowing business conditions in other segments.

                              Some dealers had to adapt, while others relied more heavily on the fundamentals that drove their businesses prior to the pandemic. “That’s the thing — we really didn’t have to adapt. Our WebstaurantStore (e-commerce) and The Restaurant Store (cash and carry) businesses did what they did,” Clark says. In the cash and carry aspect of the business, for example, The Restaurant Store was providing customers with curbside delivery prior to the pandemic, so this was nothing new. “There were some product shifts due to customer demand, but we were really fortunate to be positioned that way,” he says.

                              In Avanti’s case, adapting means understanding how to work with customers and project teams remotely. “We were set for the pandemic in that we already did work all over the nation remotely and already understood last-mile logistics,” Rossi says. “It just reminded us you had to be tight on your processes and procedures.”

                              The Year Ahead

                              When the calendar rolled over to 2021 from 2020, many in the industry felt this would be the start of better times. Then the country got a rude awakening due to the political unrest in the nation’s capital and some severe February weather that had as much as 70% of the country under snow at one point. Since then, though, the industry has seen signs of life as vaccine rollouts began to gain some momentum and various states and municipalities began loosening dining restrictions.

                              “We see gradual week over week improvement,” Don notes. “There’s definitely a correlation between dining room capacity and our business. The states that are open are doing better, and the ones that are just opening are a little behind the curve. We are not there yet, but it’s nice to see the week over week improvements.”

                              And this sense of progress has instilled a greater sense of optimism in some dealers. “The first seven days of March have been so over the top — more than we thought or could have imagined. That allowed us to see if it’s this way in March, it will be ongoing,” Bible says. “There’s also a lot of pent-up demand for people wanting to get out and enjoy their lives again. A lot of the stale concepts have gone by the wayside, and that leaves a lot of room for new concepts. I think the next five years are going to be incredible from an E&S perspective.”

                              2020 Rank COMPANY  ANNUAL ES SALES  THIS YEAR (2020)  (in millions) ANNUAL ES SALES LAST YEAR (2019) (in millions) # of Salespeople (inside &  outside) BUYING GROUP
                              1 Clark Associates Inc., Lancaster, Pa. H40%, L7%, SW10%, T6%, P/D21%, J13%, F3% $1,750.07 $1,594.20 332 CPG
                              2 TriMark USA Inc., Mansfield, Mass. H50%, L10%, SW15%, T10%, P/D10%, J3%, F2% $1,455.00 $2,100.00 900 ABC, NexGen, Network
                              3 Edward Don & Co., Woodridge, Ill. H26%, L4%, SW23%, T24%, P/D15%, J6%, F2% $768.17 $1,125.60 304 NexGen
                              4 Wasserstrom Co., Columbus, Ohio H25%, L15%, SW35%, T4%, P/D10%, J10%, F1% $554.00 $702.00 200 NexGen
                              5 Singer Equipment Co., Elverson, Pa. H67%, L5%, SW6%, T3%, P/D13%, J5%, F1% $356.27 $446.29 103 ABC, NexGen, Network
                              6 KaTom Restaurant Supply Inc., Kodak, Tenn  H30%, L30%, SW10%, T20%, J5%, F5% $251.44 $200.03 48 ABC, IFED
                              7 Bargreen Ellingson Inc., Tacoma, Wash. H41%, L11%, SW17%, T8%, P/D16%, J4%, F3% $231.00 $285.00 206 ABC, NexGen
                              8 Stafford-Smith Inc., Kalamazoo, Mich. H90%, L10% $223.97 $241.23 83 CPG, ISE, XYZ
                              9 Boelter, Waukesha, Wis. H63%, L1%, SW7%, T12%, P/D15%, J1%, F1% $220.00 $322.00** 130 ABC, Network, NexGen
                              10 Supplies on the Fly, Kennesaw, Ga.  H41%, L12%, SW12%, T17%, P/D8%, J8%, F2% $158.60 $194.50 41 SEFA
                              11 Johnson-Lancaster & Associates Inc., Clearwater, Fla. H58%, L24%, SW9%, T2%, J2%, F5% $155.50 $189.50 80 SEFA
                              12 L&M Foodservice, Bullhead City, Ariz.  H5%, L5%, SW5%, T3%, P/D10%, J69%, F3% $147.00 $32.00 20 AFFLINK, PRIDE
                              13 Central Restaurant Products, Indianapolis  H59%, L16%, SW11%, T3%, J6%, F5% $124.00 $139.00 59 ABC, IFED
                              14 Hubert Co., Harrison, Ohio  $116.68* $129.64* n/a ABC, IFED
                              15 Mission Restaurant Supply Company, San Antonio  H79%, L4%, SW10%, T3%, P/D1%, J1%, F2% $110.90 $131.03 82 CPG, XYZ
                              16 Duray/J.F. Duncan Industries, Downey, Calif. H95%, L5% $110.00 $131.00 20 CPG
                              17 Ace Mart Restaurant Supply, San Antonio H25%, L17%, SW26%, T10%, P/D8%, J10%, F4% $100.12 $128.67 137 ABC, IFED
                              18 Innovative Foodservice Group, Tampa, Fla  $99.00* $110.00 n/a ABC, IFED
                              19 C&T Design & Equipment Co., Indianapolis  H80%, L15%, SW3%, F2% $93.00 $107.50 52 SEFA
                              20 Action Sales, Monterey Park, Calif.  H69%, L12%, SW12%, T1%, J3.5%, F2.5% $83.60 $96.22 60 SEFA
                              21 Hotel & Restaurant Supply, Meridian, Miss.  H60%, L14%, SW15%, T5%, P/D1%, J2%, F3% $82.97 $87.18 42 ABC, NexGen
                              22 Concept Services Inc., Austin, Texas  $82.76* $91.59* n/a CPG
                              23 The Sam Tell Companies, Farmingdale, N.Y.  $78.00* $85.66 n/a ABC, IFED
                              24 East Bay Rest. Supply Inc., Oakland, Calif.  $76.56* $85.07* n/a CPG
                              25 Great Lakes Hotel Supply Co., Southfield, Mich.  H70%, L10%, SW10%, T5%, P/D5% $76.50 $80.00 15 SEFA
                              26 Tundra Restaurant Supply, Boulder, Colo.  H15%, L8%, SW44%, T6%, P/D23%, J4% $74.59 $76.22 14 SEFA
                              27 Culinary Depot, Spring Valley, N.Y.  H44%, L20%, SW18%, T8%, J5%, F5% $74.00 $80.00 34 SEFA
                              28 Aydelott Equipment, Centerville, Ohio  H30%, SW40%, F30% $72.00 $67.50 15  
                              29 Kamran & Co. Inc., Santa Barbara, Calif. H15%, L85% $65.52 $67.23** 9 PRIDE
                              30 Arizona Restaurant Supply, Tucson, Ariz. $56.70* $63.00 n/a SEFA
                              31 Mobile Fixture & Equipment Co., Mobile, Ala.  H58%, L15%, SW12%, T10%, F5% $53.98 $67.73 108 CPG, XYZ
                              32 Kittredge Equipment Co. Inc., Agawam, Mass.  H54%, L15%, SW15%, T8%, P/D4%, J2%, F2% $52.21 $53.55 45 ABC, IFED
                              33 Amundsen Commercial Kitchens, Oklahoma City  H72%, L23%, SW4%, F1% $43.07 $40.28 10 IFED
                              34 General Hotel and Restaurant Supply, Miami  $42.13* $46.81* n/a ABC, IFED
                              35 Douglas Equipment, Bluefield, W.Va.  H65%, L24%, SW9%, T1%, F1% $41.12 $43.31 30 ABC, IFED
                              36 Fortier Inc., Conway, Ark. H50%, L40%, SW10% $40.00 $45.00 14 NAFED
                              37 Alliance Paper & Foodservice, Franklin Park, Ill.  $37.56* $41.73* n/a PRIDE, SMA
                              38 Ford Hotel Supply Co. Inc., St. Louis  $35.50* $39.50* n/a ABC, IFED
                              39 B&G Restaurant Supply Inc. Pittsfield, Mass.  H60%, L10%, SW10%, T12%, P/D1%, J1%, F6% $34.94 $32.17 20 SEFA
                              40 Restaurant Supply LLC, Hartford, Conn.  H40%, L15%, SW20%, T20%, J3%, F2% $34.50 $42.90** 10 SEFA
                              41 Kirby Restaurant Supply, Longview, Texas  H44%, L5%, SW5%, T2%, J43%, F1% $34.00 $44.94 30 SEFA
                              42 Zesco, Indianapolis  $33.7* $37.45* n/a  
                              43 Gradys, Pueblo, Colo.  H50%, L20%, SW20%, T5%, P/D1%, J1%, F3% $32.80 $26.20 6 SEFA
                              44 Birmingham Restaurant Supply Inc.(BRESCO), Birmingham, Ala. H72%, L8%, SW14%, T3%, P/D1%, J1% F1% $32.39 $33.37 15 ABC, IFED
                              45 The Warehouse Store Fixture Company, Waterbury, Conn. H50%, L25%, SW10%, T10%, F5% $30.94 $34.65 14 CPG, XYZ
                              46 Thompson & Little, Fayetteville, N.C.  H62%, L12%, SW11%, T9%, J2%, F4% $30.85 $30.24 13 SEFA
                              47 Avanti Restaurant Solutions, Costa Mesa, Calif.  H70%, L20%, F10% $30.63 $33.06 6 SEFA
                              48 Curtis Restaurant Equipment Inc., Springfield, Ore.  H60%, L18%, SW10%, T5%, J2%, F5% $30.60 $28.93 16 ABC, IFED
                              49 Rapids Wholesale Equipment, Marion, Iowa  H70%, L18%, SW5%, T4%, F3% $29.92 $30.22 31 CPG
                              50 Cook’s Direct, Warrenville, Ill.  H60%, L6%, SW30%, T2%, P/D2% $29.06 $28.85 10 SEFA
                              51 Alack Refrigeration Co., Hammond, La. $28.80* $32.00* n/a CPG, XYZ
                              52 ACityDiscount, Norcross, Ga.  $28.29* $31.43* n/a NAFED
                              53 Burkett Restaurant Equipment, Perryburg, Ohio  H71.5%, L10.9%, SW15.2%, T0.5%, P/D.1%, J1.5%, F.3% $28.07 $28.45 11 CPG, XYZ
                              54 Supreme Fixture Co. Inc., Little Rock, Ark.  H85%, L9%, SW5%, T1% $28.00 $34.00 9 SEFA
                              55 Best Restaurant Equipment & Design Inc., Columbus, Ohio $25.90* $37.00 n/a SEFA
                              56 W. West Equipment & Furnishings Co., Denver H90%, L10% $25.08 $37.82 10 SEFA
                              57 Dykes Foodservice Solutions, Inc., Huntsville, Ala.  $25.04* $31.30 n/a ABC, IFED
                              58 Restaurant and Store Equipment Co., Salt Lake City  $23.98* $26.64* n/a ABC, IFED
                              59 Restaurant Equipment World, Orlando, Fla.  H60%, L15%, SW5%, T5%, P/D5%, J5%, F5% $23.17 $25.22 31 SEFA
                              60 Oswalt Restaurant Supply, Oklahoma City H79%, L13%, SW4%, T1%, J2%, F1% $21.70 $21.67 12 SEFA
                              61 Breckenridge Kitchen Equipment & Design, Huron, Ohio H92%, L6%, F2% $21.48 $18.84 8 SEFA
                              62 Boston Showcase Co., Newton Highlands, Mass. H50%, L20%, SW10%, T10%, J5%, F5% $21.00 $30.00 9 SEFA
                              63 Penn Jersey Paper Company dbs PJP, Philadelphia  H52%, L15%, SW17%, T13%, F3% $20.32 $30.57 80 SEFA
                              64 Manning Bros. Food Service Equip. Co. Inc., Athens, Ga. H50%, L20%, SW20%, T3%, P/D2%, J5% $20.00 $23.00 17 SEFA
                              65 Culinex, Fargo, N.D.  H67.8%, SW26.3%, P/D.7%, J1.7%, F3.5% $19.25 $22.53 11 SEFA
                              66 United Restaurant Equipment Company, Raleigh, N.C. H40%, L10%, SW20%, T5%, P/D5%, J13%, F7% $19.15 $22.72 19 CPG, XYZ
                              67 Trendco Supply Inc., Batavia, Ohio H9%, L4%, SW3%, T1%, P/D77%, J4%, F2% $18.11 $20.37** 19 EXCELL
                              68 Jean’s Restaurant Supply, Corpus Christi, Texas  H50%, L10%, SW25%, T5%, J5%, F5% $18.00 $23.00 26 SEFA
                              69 Alto-Hartley Inc., Alexandria, Va.  H70%, L15%, SW10%, T3%, J1%,  F1% $17.97 $20.00 12 NAFED
                              70 International Restaurant Distributors, Apoka, Fla.  H75%, L7%, SW6%, T2%, F10% $17.66 $21.61 8 NAFED
                              71 Associated Food Equipment and Supplies Inc, Gulfport, Miss. H60%, L10%, SW15%, T10%, F5% $16.55 $21.38 25 SEFA
                              72 Kitchen Equipment & Supply Company (KESCO), Pensacola, Fla. H55%, L15%, SW25%, F5% $16.10 $18.38 26 SEFA
                              73 Bintz Restaurant Supply, Salt Lake City H48%, L10%, SW20%, T5%, J7%, F10% $15.75 $15.38 13 SEFA
                              74 Economy Restaurant Equipment & Supply Co., San Marcos, Calif.  $15.50* $17.23* n/a SEFA
                              75 Dean Supply Co., Cleveland  H9%, L4%, SW11%, T7%, P/D46%, J23% $15.00 $16.10 13 PRIDE, TUG
                              76 State Restaurant Equipment Co., Las Vegas  H10%, L5%, SW24%, T60%, J1% $14.93 $34.69 13 SEFA
                              77 MPM Food Equipment Group, Inc., Wheeling, Ill.  H80%, L20% $14.87 $16.59 12 PRIDE
                              78 Commercial Kitchen Supply, Centerville, Utah  H70%, L20%, SW5% $14.13 $18.86 n/a PRIDE
                              79 E. Friedman Associates, Jacksonville, Fla. $14.10* $17.20* n/a NAFED
                              80 Budget Restaurant Supply, Houston  H45%, L15%, SW15%, T10%, J10%, F5% $13.90 $15.10 7 SEFA
                              81 Bar Boy Products Co. Inc., Farmingdale, N.Y.  H35%, L10%, SW30%, T12%, P/D5%, J3%, F5% $13.78 $16.88 19 NAFED, United Group
                              82 Serv-U, Champaign, Ill. $13.50* $15.00 n/a SEFA
                              83 Deacon Foodservice Solutions LLC, Charlotte, N.C.  H79%, L7%, SW9%, F5% $13.44 $15.34 6 PRIDE
                              84 Consolidated Food Equipment Distributors, Akron, Ohio H85%, L10%, F5% $13.41 $11.98 16 EXCELL
                              85 Horizon Equipment, Eagan, Minn. H59%, L25%, SW11%, J1%, F4% $12.38 $13.10 6 SEFA
                              86 Atlas Restaurant Supply, South Bend, Ind.  H15%, L15%, SW15%, T15%, P/D25%, J10%, F5% $12.01 $14.43 21 NAFED
                              87 USA Equipment Direct, Atlanta  H25%, L45% SW10%, T10%, P/D5%, J5% $12.00 $10.26 7 PRIDE
                              88 United Restaurant Supply, Colorado Springs, Colo. H60%, SW30%, P/D5%, J5% $11.54 $14.50 8 SEFA
                              89 Curtis Restaurant Supply, Tulsa, Okla.  H57%, L12%, SW22%, T4%, P/D1%, J3%, F1% $11.29 $13.40 9 NAFED
                              90 Curran-Taylor Inc., Canonsburg, Pa.  H64%, L11%, SW23, T1%, F1% $10.95 $14.98 15 PRIDE
                              91 Harbour Food Service Equipment Inc., Chelsea, Mass. H45%, L15%, SW15%, T12%, P/D2%, J5%, F6% $10.80 $18.00 8 SEFA
                              92 DEI Foodservice Equipment & Design,  Hollywood, Fla. H70%, L25%, F5% $10.70 $9.50** 10 PRIDE
                              93 Lace Foodservice Corporation, Miami  H78%, L5%, SW4%, T1%, P/D10%, J1%, F1% $10.20 $13.20 6 NAFED
                              94 Gold Star Products, Oak Park, Mich.  H25%, L5%, SW20%, T20%, P/D25%, J3%, F2% $10.00 $17.80 13 SEFA
                              95 Buller Fixture/CWD, Omaha, Neb.  H70%, L9%, SW10%, T7%, F4% $9.80 $11.20 8 SEFA
                              96 Castino Restaurant Equipment & Supply Inc., Rohnert Park, Calif. H66.3%, L16.2%, SW11.2%, T2%, P/D.2%, J3.4%, F.7% $9.52 $12.48 8 PRIDE
                              97 Elite Restaurant Equipment, Newark, N.J.  H70%, L20%, SW4%, T1%, J1%, F4% $9.50 $11.90 5  
                              98 FRS Inc, Charleston, S.C.  H58%, L13%, SW14%, T3%, P/D1%, J9%, F2% $9.25 $11.95 15 NAFED
                              99 Hotel Supply Warehouse, Deerfield Beach, Fla.  H50%, L15%, SW15%, T10%, J5%, F5% $7.75 $13.34 5 PRIDE
                              100 NOLA Restaurant Supply & Design, New Orleans  H75%, L20%, F5% $5.10 $14.20 2

                              ISE, NAFED

                              *FE&S estimate **Revised 2019 sales number H = Heavy Equipment L = Light Equipment SW = Smallwares T = Tabletop P/D = Paper and Disposables J = Jan/San F = Furnishings

                              Editor’s Notes to the Data

                              Boelter: The Wisconsin-based dealer updated its three-year revenue numbers to reflect the sale of Boelter Brands in August 2020 to Logo Brands. The restated sales data excludes Boelter Brands revenues. Boelter Brands sold primarily drinkware products, namely glassware, tumblers and mugs with licensed sports logos.

                              L&M: For the second consecutive year, L&M posted significant growth. The company attributes this growth to increased sales of personal protective equipment during the pandemic.

                              Johnson-Lancaster and Associates: Johnson-Lancaster and Associates has acquired Classic Restaurant Supply. Starting next year, Classic Restaurant Supply’s data will be part of the Johnson-Lancaster entry in this study.

                              Penn Jersey Paper: Penn Jersey Paper reported overall revenues of $183.7 million for 2020, a significant chunk of which can be attributed to paper, disposables, janitorial and sanitation products. The company’s sales across other categories, including heavy and light equipment, smallwares, tabletop and furnishings, totaled $20.3 million.

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