Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - 35

Food Services Inc.

Another client is a Midwest engineering school. Here, it offers
no-frills pragmatic choices that are geared for higher calorie
intakes, roasted meats with gravy, mashed potatoes and creamy
pasta dishes enjoyed by male engineers, Stewart explains.
As the postsecondary foodservice industry is dominated by
three to five big corporations, FSI has positioned itself as an alternative to schools looking for something different, Vice President
Bob Adamus says. It is also a U.S.-based company unlike some
of the majors based abroad in the United Kingdom or France.
"A number of colleges and universities are looking for alternatives," Adamus says. "We hear quite frequently that they don't
want to be just like the other university so-and-so down the street.
They want to have their own unique program and that is something we provide."
FSI says it offers better service and more custom offerings
than the top companies in the field that simply replicate cookiecutter formulas for each customer.

Special Delivery
"In Florida, 15 percent of those in the dining program at Ave Maria
University have special diets," Sonnenberg says. "Compared to
other campuses, that is a high level of specialty diets."
FSI offers a dedicated vegan and vegetarian line. Its menus are
designed to be sensitive to diners with intolerances to wheat, lactose and other substances, and it often has chefs prepare special
meals for students.
Menus are selected for optimal nutrition. In addition, FSI conducts business in environmentally friendly ways. The company
purchases locally grown organic products to support providing
fair wages to local farmers.
"Buying locally and sustainably are huge issues these days,"
Stewart explains. FSI goes into the fields and meets tomato farmers and others tending the land. It purchases up to 70 percent of
its products from within 150 miles of campus. This reduces its
carbon footprint in addition to allowing area growers to benefit.

"A number of colleges and
universities are looking for
alternatives."-Bob Adamus
ly receive multi-year contracts. For example, Stewart says one
company recently spent $43 million on a Texas campus and then
received a 25-year foodservice deal. "We don't believe that's the
way good business is developed," he says.
Although FSI will contribute modest investments to improve
foodservice areas and kitchens, it prefers to rely on the quality of
its programs and avoid multimillion-dollar "handcuff" deals, as
Stewart calls them.
FSI provides complete management of onsite dining and foodservice management. This includes associated cleaning and
management of foodservice areas; servery, kitchen, loading
docks and dining rooms. "It's always a challenge but we enjoy the
opportunity to satisfy," Sonnenberg says.

'Very, Very Competitive'
As one of the top-50 companies in its field, FSI is "very, very
competitive," Stewart says. Its growth strategy has remained stable over the years, and it enjoys many referrals. It mounts robust
sales efforts but also is selective with clients to ensure proper fits.
It doesn't currently low-bid for state business, instead preferring
to develop partnerships with private schools.
It has also found success reaching out to colleges that operate
their own food services and developing plans for them. Given its
industry expertise and buying power, it lays out a transition plan
addressing all stakeholders with student satisfaction at the forefront.
FSI's solid organic growth has made it a target for takeover.
"Not a week goes by that I don't receive a mergers and acquisitions call," Stewart says. "We've resisted that."
Another challenge occurs when larger companies enter certain
campuses and make huge infrastructure investments, then quickfood & drink * spring 2014 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com

35


http://www.fooddrink-magazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food and Drink - Spring 2014

Contents
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - Cover1
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - Cover2
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - 1
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - 2
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - Contents
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - 4
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Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - Cover3
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - Cover4
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