Foodservice accounts for up to 40% of the company’s business, Olsen said.
Jason Grolnick, foodservice salesman for Tanimura & Antle Inc, Salinas, isn’t ready to declare the recession over, but he said consumers are still going out to eat.
“It’s kind of an anomaly out there,” he said. “Restaurants are still packed solid in the cities.”
Major foodservice distributors like Sysco Corp. and U.S. Foodservice mostly are holding their own, he said, “but the smaller guys may be struggling.”
Foodservice business can be divided into different categories, said Rick Antle, chief executive officer at Tanimura & Antle.
“There is discretionary foodservice spending. Then there’s fixed foodservice spending,” he said.
The company supplies schools, prisons, cafeterias and factories as well as restaurants.
“We really can’t say we lost foodservice business,” he said.
Castellini Co., Wilder, Ky., is another company that has seen foodservice sales increase substantially over the past two or three decades, said Joe Klare, executive vice president.
“We’ve enjoyed substantial growth in our foodservice line,” he said.
The company’s basic products are potatoes, tomatoes and onions, but its Club Chef value-added division offers items like tossed salads, shredded lettuce, chopped cabbage and diced onions.
Canales said Misionero is starting to see opportunities for growth in its foodservice business on the retail side.
“There’s a whole other segment going on within the retail community that translates to foodservice business,” he said.
That’s because traditional retailers continue to offer more and more home meal replacement sections, add delis and sell sandwiches.
“They are like a causal restaurant,” he said.