Guckenheimer Enterprises, No. 12 foodservice contract management companies, has been acquired by Copenhagen-based international services firm ISS for $225 million. The company, based in San Mateo, Calif., has been the largest independent provider of dining services to the B&I segment, with a prestigious client list of high-end corporate accounts that were drawn to Guckenheimer’s culinary-intensive approach.
Though it does manage some dining operations, ISS primarily offers non-food-related services to clients. It entered the U.S. market a decade ago with the acquisition of facilities firm Sanitors Inc., which was renamed ISS Facilities Services.
Guckenheimer is expected to significantly enhance foodservice offerings in the U.S. for ISS as well as provide customers with an integrated array of services from a single source.
“I am delighted that we have reached an agreement with the owners of Guckenheimer, including chairman and co-founder Jeanie Ritchie,” said Jeff Gravenhorst, ISS Group CEO, in a statement announcing the deal. “ISS has had a long-stated ambition of acquiring a North American catering business, and this process demonstrates our patience and discipline in selecting the right asset. Both companies have key account focus, serving the same industry segments and sharing culture and values. Together with Guckenheimer, we are now in a stronger position to deliver integrated facility services in North America. Furthermore, the acquisition will improve our competitiveness in international commercial opportunities where North America is in scope.”
“This acquisition will immediately create a strong food services platform with the right size, strategic intersections, capabilities and innovative concepts to effectively complement our integrated facility services position in North America,” added Dan Ryan, regional CEO for ISS Americas, in the same release. “We grew double digits in 2016 and we have a clear ambition to continue our strong growth in ISS North America. The acquisition will bring important scale to our business, increasing our annual revenue by more than 50 percent. With this acquisition we also take a huge step forward in strengthening our value proposition.”
Guckenheimer was founded in 1963 as a sandwich cart at Stanford University Medical School by medical student Stewart Ritchie and his future wife (and current company chairman) Jeanie. It expanded into the corporate dining sector several years later by opening at Hewlett-Packard’s Dymec manufacturing plant in Palo Alto after Ritchie sent company co-founder David Packard a letter proposing his services.
From that start, Guckenheimer continued to expand in that segment to become a premier provider of high-end dining services to B&I customers. Currently, it has operations with more than 400 clients in 36 states.