Creed and Values, Culture and Community
Beginning the new millennium, Chairman and CEO Mark Wetterau and his executive team formally instituted the GSF Creed, which complements the company’s Values, underscoring the principles of fairness and respect of all stakeholders.
Aligned by these ideals, Golden State Foods continued to provide McDonald’s with exemplary service, as it expanded its diversification strategy by partnering with a variety of new foodservice providers in both manufacturing and distribution. As part of that effort, the company launched a new product line, Chef Gold, to formulate and distribute liquid products and cooked beef products. This new Chef Gold brand allowed Golden State to leverage its high-quality food processing expertise and efficiencies of scale in procurement, operations, and transportation to provide cost-effective solutions to its customers worldwide.
Building upon its one-stop-shop philosophy, Golden State Foods joined with the Arthur Wells Group (now Flying Hand) of St. Louis in 2000 to form Central Freight Management (CFM Logistics), to service the food industry. In 2001, GSF opened a distribution center in Tijuana, Mexico, which operated through 2003. That same year, the company also formed Signature Services to expand its customer offerings to include store painting, lot striping, power washing, and landscaping services. In 2002, GSF created Strategic Sourcing Alliance, which provides purchasing and sourcing solutions for the entire supply chain system. These companies, along with Centralized Leasing Corp., the company’s logistics equipment leasing entity, and Restaurant Liquid Services, a bulk-oil delivery company, are a few examples of GSF’s ongoing innovative business solutions to meet customer and market needs.
In late 2002, Golden State Foods formed a joint venture in Malaysia to produce liquid products in the Asia-Pacific region, providing cost-effective innovations for its customer base. That year, the company also launched a new charitable organization for children, the GSF Foundation. This non-profit entity was established to help children and families in need in the areas where GSF associates live and work through personal involvement and financial contributions. A natural extension of its values-based business, the Foundation builds upon the existing charitable involvement of its employee volunteers by partnering with local charities nominated by GSF associates. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised more than $60 million to benefit children and families in need through more than 600 worthy nonprofits and schools around the United States and has grown to 28 associate-led committees across the country
In 2004, Golden State Foods bought out its partner of six years, The Yucaipa Companies, in order to become a management-owned-and-run company. A unique situation for its size and status, GSF’s management participation in ownership, through awards of stock and options, has grown to more than six times the original management ownership group.
In 2005, Golden State Foods continued to expand its business, while maintaining an outstanding relationship with the company’s oldest and largest customer at the time, McDonald’s. GSF partnered with Starbucks, Nestlé, Steak ‘n Shake and other top brands to further diversify its customer base and product offerings.
Annual sales reached $3 billion in 2006. To meet growing customer demand, Quality Custom Distribution Services (QCD), a custom distributor of food and supplies to the QSR industry, was formed in the Seattle, Washington area to further service Starbucks and new customer, Seattle’s Best Coffee. To support these fast-growing businesses, QCD quickly opened centers in Las Vegas, Nevada and San Antonio, Texas. Meanwhile, the company welcomed Perlman Rocque distribution centers, Lemont, Illinois, and Whitewater, Wisconsin, to the GSF family, to further support McDonald’s in the Midwest. On the liquids side of the business, Golden State optimized two of its McDonald’s facilities on both U.S. coasts and partnered with additional new customers in the U.S. and in the Middle East.
In 2007, GSF celebrated 60 years in business, and sales surpassed $3.6 billion. As the company sought to make its customers’ dreams reality, it expanded the QCD business into Hawaii and optimized its McDonald’s beef business – all while adding additional new customers including Denny’s, Cappuccino, and Euro Deli.
Though 2008 was a challenging year economically for the U.S. and for the company, Golden State Foods still managed to grow the business to another milestone, $4 billion in annual sales. GSF consolidated four distribution centers into two in the Southeast and added two QCD facilities in the Northwest. During this time, Golden State also gained numerous customers in the U.S. and in Egypt. It also leveraged the resources and expertise of Unilever, which eventually opted to exit the QSR category of its business. After purchasing the assets of a Unilever plant in Southern California, GSF was awarded substantial business of an array of new liquid products customers, including Hunt’s (ConAgra), Famous Dave’s, Del Taco, Kraft Foods, and Yum! Brands (Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut). This new business win took GSF to another level of diversification for the company.
Capping off the decade, 2009 proved to be a great year for the company. GSF continued to grow, and successfully took on even more new customers in the U.S., Egypt, and Australia. Some included: Texas Pete, Bruce’s, Whataburger, Popeyes, Herfy, Saudi Airlines, La Poire, Sky Chefs and Costco Australia. The company also opened a new QCD center in Charlotte, North Carolina, in preparation for service to a new customer, Chick-fil-A.