Columbia distributor signs 5-year pact to supply food

U.S. Foodservice to provide for 500 Compass Group sites


May 07, 1999|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

U.S. Foodservice said yesterday that it signed a $200 million, five-year agreement extending its contract as a key supplier for Compass Group, a Charlotte, N.C.-based catering firm.

Under the agreement, U.S. Foodservice, a Columbia-based national food distributor, will provide food supplies to more than 500 Compass Group locations from New England to central Virginia.

The original three-year agreement, signed in 1997, had an estimated value of $360 million. The original contract was set to expire in 2000, said Mark Kaiser, executive vice president of sales, marketing and procurement for U.S. Foodservice. The new contract runs through 2004.

"This is a very significant award from two perspectives," Kaiser said. "It solidifies our position with a very significant customer, and it gives us a very attractive piece of business in places where we didn't have exposure."

Compass Group operates dining rooms and cafeterias at sites including Towson University and the museums of American and natural history in Washington.

"U.S. Foodservice is our single largest supplier and this contract is the first step in significantly consolidating our food-distribution business," said Jim Everett, Compass Group's vice president of purchasing.

Compass Group's North American division is owned by Compass Group PLC, an international catering firm based in the United Kingdom.

U.S. Foodservice is the nation's second-largest food distributor, supplying restaurants and institutional food service establishments. Its shares gained $1.75 yesterday, closing at $44.3125.

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