The Middleby Corporation is planning to offer its global restaurant chain customers additional services, including commercial kitchen fabrication, after acquiring one of America’s top catering equipment distributors.
In a move that deviates from its usual strategy of purchasing product-led manufacturing businesses, the purchase of QualServ Solutions, for an undisclosed sum, gives Middleby a significant leg-up into areas such as kitchen design, engineering and distribution.
QualServ started out more than 40 years ago as a provider of ventilation and air conditioning systems to KFC and prides itself on delivering ‘Store-in-a-Box’ solutions that comprise of full design and turnkey services to foodservice and retail customers.
It posted revenues of $100m (£77m) last year and operates out of a giant 440,000 square foot facility in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Selim Bassoul, chairman and CEO of Middleby, said the takeover would widen the scope of services that it could now provide to customers.
He explained: “QualServ is a respected industry leader providing a unique set of services and equipment solutions for the commercial foodservice equipment industry. This acquisition expands the Middleby product offerings to include kitchen fabrication, and will allow us to provide integrated equipment solutions with our existing portfolio of brands and products.
“The addition of QualServ will also enable us to further expand the services we provide to our global restaurant chain customers. These customers want logistical and engineering solutions in both the back and front of the restaurant and with QualServ we have the ability to provide advanced data analytics and broader services beyond equipment sales.”
On its website, QualServ describes itself as a business that provides purchased equipment, project management, and design and development support, and combines them with in-house metal and millwork fabrication, distribution and logistics, and field services, with one point of contact.
In addition to fully operational millwork and stainless steel operations, its facility includes a variety of specialty shops including furniture/upholstery, powder coating and OEM manufacturing.
The facility has over 100,000 square feet dedicated to distribution and warehousing smallwares and purchased equipment. It also runs an online catering equipment shop.
QualServ success has come from the US market, but Mr Bassoul said Middleby would be able to use its worldwide market coverage to take the business into overseas market.
“QualServ has grown substantially over the past few years and combined with Middleby we anticipate growth through expansion of their capabilities into international markets by leveraging Middleby’s global footprint,” he said.
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