Skip navigation
Top 50 Methodology & Notes

Top 50 Methodology & Notes

Arriving at the numbers

The Top 50 is Food Management's annual comprehensive report generated by exclusive research by FM editors. The report provides a company-by-company assessment and two-year performance comparison of the largest contract management firms. The Top 50 is limited to companies with significant annual foodservice revenue in onsite environments, though they may also offer additional services. These companies have accounts in the traditional noncommercial markets of K-12 schools, healthcare, colleges and B&I, but also have operations in other nontraditional locations, including national parks, recreation centers and sports arenas, for example. The Top 50 is a ranking based on self-reported or estimated revenue and does not necessarily reflect relative market position in a particular segment or market, and contract terms (e.g., fee vs. P&L) can sometimes obscure the scope of the actual volume being managed.

Each company is ranked by top-line U.S. revenues for fiscal or calendar year 2014, in millions of dollars. All figures are self-reported, unless noted with an (e), which connotes an FM estimate. Estimated numbers are derived from research and analysis including published reports and previously submitted company data, when available.

The entry for "contracts" for each company represents the number of client contracts the company reported (or FM estimated). In a few cases, a company preferred to report only "locations" (the number of sites at which it operates), and this is noted where applicable. Generally, the number of locations is greater than the number of contracts as a single contract may cover multiple sites.

Our goal is to provide the most accurate comparison of the largest foodservice operations. However, many companies do significant business outside the foodservice management realm, in areas including uniforms and custodial work, for example. In some instances, particularly with the “Big Three,” of Compass, Aramark and Sodexo, it is unclear what percentage of revenue is generated strictly by foodservice-only accounts. The information is not readily available and the companies do not submit foodservice-only data to FM. In cases where it is known that the majority of a company’s revenue is not foodservice-related, we have listed that company’s revenue on foodservice-only numbers. Information on specific instances can be found in the notes below.  

We have made every effort to look at companies based on an apples-to-apples comparison; however, given the nature of the contract management business, it’s not a precise science.

A few other notes:
1. As most of HSG’s revenue consists of non-food services like laundry and maintenance, the revenue reported is dietary and nutrition services only.

2. Gourmet Services did not provide results, but told FM the estimate from the 2014 Top 50 was an acceptable estimate for the 2015 list.

3. Revolution Foods derives a significant portion of revenues from manufacturing pre-prepared meals for K-12 and retail customers and not necessarily from providing a foodservice management function. The revenue figure here is an estimate from the company’s revenue as a whole, including non-foodservice management contracts.

4. Lessing’s has declined to furnish data for 2014 operations. The result is an estimate based on 2013 data, which the company provided.

5. ABM Healthcare Support Services (HSS) is a unit of the ABM integrated solutions firm, which had 2014 revenues of more than $5 billion; the figure here is for HSS foodservice operations only.

6. Sterling Spoon operates commercial restaurants as well as contract foodservice for B&I clients; the contract side of the business generated around $18 million in 2014.

7. Gulf Coast Services derives 70 percent of revenues from facilities, administrative, environmental and other non-food services, and the number listed here is revenues from dining operations only; the company as a whole had revenues of $127.7 million, a 45 percent jump from the previous year’s $86.3 million figure.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.