Evolution Of The Global Enterprises . . .
1936— In Los Angeles, Davre Davidson founds the vending company that would eventually become Aramark
1941— Compass Group precursor Factory Canteens, Ltd. (later Bateman Catering Co.), founded in England to feed munitions workers
1959— Davidson merges his company with a Midwestern vending firm to form Automatic Retailers of America (ARA); the firm goes public the following year
1961— ARA goes national and enters the manual foodservice business by acquiring Philadelphia-based Slater System, Inc.
1966— Sodexho founded by Pierre Bellon in Marseilles, France
1967— ARA makes an equity investment in leading Canadian foodservice firm Versafood Services
1967— Bateman acquired by British hospitality conglomerate Grand Metropolitan plc, which acquires another British foodservice firm, Midland Catering, the following year and combines the two to form Grand Metropolitan Catering Services
1968— ARA executes its first international contract by providing foodservice to thousands of athletes at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City; it would go on to cater every Olympics since except the U.S.-boycotted 1980 Moscow Summer Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games
1970— ARA CEO Bill Fishman invites Bellon to visit the US; ARA hopes to acquire the French firm but instead, Bellon is motivated to seek international expansion himself
1971— Sodexho secures its first international client through a foodservice contract with a Belgian hospital
1972—ARA enters the UK market
1975—Sodexho enters the offshore/ remote site market, first in Africa and later in the Middle East
1976—ARA enters the Japanese market through a joint venture with Mitsui & Co. called AIM Services
1978—Sodexho initiates its voucher business with contracts in Germany and Belgium
1983—Sodexho makes its initial public offering on the Paris Bourse
1984—ARA is taken private through a management buyout that averts a hostile takeover
1984—Grand Metropolitan renames its contract catering unit Compass Services
1985—Sodexho begins a period of international expansion that will take it into the Americas, Japan, South Africa and Russia, while also bolstering operations in its core Central European market
1987—Management purchases Compass Services from Grand Metropolitan and launches Compass Group; it goes public on the London Stock Exchange the following year
1990—following the fall of the Iron Curtain, ARA enters the Eastern European markets of Hungary and the Czech Republic
1993—ARA enters the Spanish market and forms a joint venture with Korean firm Daewoo Corp.
1993— After several deals to build its presence in its domestic UK market, Compass acquires SAS Service Partner (renamed Select Service Partners in 1997), a major European caterer with operations in about a dozen countries, from SAS Airlines; it also introduces New Famous Foods, a major retail branding initiative
1994— ARA changes its name to Aramark
1994— Compass breaks into the U.S. market with its acquisition of Canteen Vending; deals for firms like Flik International, Service America, Daka Restaurants, Professional Foodservice Management and Restaurant Associates would follow in the next four years
1995— Sodexho acquires Gardner Merchant Co., giving the company significant presence in the British, Dutch and North American markets
1995— Compass acquires a 33% stake in the French firm Eurest, a major international contract caterer; the following year, Compass purchases the remainder of the company, which has since become its primary global brand in the B&I segment
1996— Sodexho acquires minority interest in Partena, bolstering operations in Northern Europe (the stake would grow to more than 90% by 1999)
1996— Sodexho enters the world's largest voucher market when its acquires the Brazilian firm Cardapio
1997— Sodexho acquires a 49% stake in the Universal Ogden Services remote sites management firm
1997— Compass acquires French institutional foodservice firm SHRM, which also has a major business in remote site/offshore catering worldwide
1998— Sodexho combines its North American unit with Marriott Marriott Management Services to form Sodexho Marriott Services, a quasi-independent publicly held entity that is 48% owned by Sodexho
1998— Compass announces a global foodservice contract with Royal Philips Electronics, the first of its kind that the company touts as a model for future worldwide deals with major international firms
2000— Sodexho acquires the rest of Universal Ogden Services and forms Universal Sodexho, its remote sites management unit
2001— Compass completes its acquisition of the foodservice business of Granada Group through a complex merger/spinoff transaction that boosts annual sales by almost 50% and consolidates its position as a major player in the international contract foodservice industry
2001— Compass acquires controlling interest in Selecta, a major European vending outfit, and Canadian contract caterer Beaver Foods, which triples the company's business in that country
2001— Sodexho acquires full control of Sodexho Marriott, which becomes Sodexho USA, the company's North American operating unit
2001—Sodexho acquires controlling interest in major French competitor Sogeres
2001—Aramark becomes a public company again with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange; its new cash flow allows it to acquire ServiceMaster and its facility management operations in several dozen countries, as well as to initiate or increase its operations in overseas markets like Chile, Ireland, Japan and Korea.
2002—Compass caters the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and completes major acquisitions in Japan (Seiyo Foods) and Italy (Onama SpA); it also announces a 10-year global foodservice contract with Chevron Texaco covering remote sites, facilities and office locations
2004—Aramark caters the Olympic Village at the Athens Summer Games and enters China, its 19th national market, through the acquisition of a facilities services firm
2005— Bellon is succeeded as Sodexho CEO by former American unit head Michel Landel.
2005—Compass announces the resignations, effective in 2006, of chairman Sir Francis Mackay and CEO Mike Bailey; the company also confirms plans to sell its Select Service Partner travel concessions unit.