PFG and Reinhart: Our Perspective

by David Henkes, senior principal

With the announcement late last month that Performance Food Group (PFG) was acquiring Reinhart Foodservice from Reyes Holdings, it provides another reminder of how much size and scale plays into the future success of foodservice distributors. With this acquisition, as well as the pending acquisition of Eby-Brown, PFG reaches nearly $30 billion in total revenue and creates a strong national foodservice presence that more fully provides a third alternative to Sysco and US Foods. Reinhart adds nearly 30 more distribution centers to PFG’s portfolio and, while there will likely be some consolidation, it does provide more touchpoints for the operator.

Strategically, this move helps create a stronger broadline business for PFG. Recent acquisitions have helped propel PFG to be well-situated in segments outside of “traditional” foodservice, with the aforementioned Eby-Brown helping build upon PFG’s success with Vistar in targeting convenience-driven operators and other acquisitions, such as Continental Concessions, Jenny Service and Fox River Foods, helping build out capabilities in strategically important alternative segments and categories. In fact, PFG’s recent performance has been helped dramatically by significant growth in the Vistar business. At the same time, PFG’s broadline business was always significantly smaller than either Sysco or US Foods, and the Reinhart acquisition strengthens the broadline piece of PFG’s business and gives the company further access to a national network of growing independent “street” restaurant operators. PFG has publicly stated that one of its strategic platforms is to emphasize and shift its portfolio more to the independent operator, and this acquisition clearly helps do just that.

A secondary benefit of this acquisition is creating scale to help drive down costs and increase profitability. In its most recent public filing, PFG reported strong top-line revenue and case sale results, but also saw major increases in costs that in turn led to negative operating margins. By combining with Reinhart, PFG believes that it can save up to $50 million in costs over the next three years, significantly improving its overall profitability. This scale will also help it compete in segments that are heavily contract-oriented. As group purchasing organizations continue to grow and chain operators gain more leverage, the greater scale a distributor has can provide counter leverage to these operators and also gives it greater leverage in negotiations with the supplier community.

Going forward, this may be one of the last true “mega-mergers” and acquisitions in foodservice distribution. When the U.S. government vetoed the Sysco-US Foods merger roughly four years ago, it signaled the fact that the government will take a hard line on any merger and acquisition activity that it views as anticompetitive, and the acquisition of Reinhart still has some hurdles that need to be cleared to be accepted, given the overlap in some of the markets in which they both operate.

Recent Technomic research has suggested that the foodservice distribution model is becoming increasingly commoditized, and the need to invest in differentiation and new capabilities is clearly driving actions like this. Going forward, we expect to see continued activity by PFG and other “power distributors” to acquire specialists and new capabilities, as distributors work to align their business with the needs of the evolving foodservice industry.

Press inquiries and report details: David Henkes, (312) 506-3927, dhenkes@technomic.com

About Technomic

Technomic, Inc., a Winsight company, was founded as a management consulting firm in 1966. Since then, Technomic’s services have grown to encompass cloud-based B2B research tools, consumer and menu trend tracking, as well as other leading strategic research and analytic capabilities, to prioritize and size business opportunities. Our clients include food manufacturers and distributors, restaurants, retailers and multiple other business verticals aligned with the food industry that are looking to make informed decisions to support their business growth. Visit Technomic at www.technomic.com

About Winsight LLC
Winsight LLC is a recognized leader in business-to-business media and information services for the convenience-retailing, foodservice and grocery industries. Winsight has an extensive media portfolio, including five publications: CSP, Restaurant Business, FoodService Director, Convenience Store Products and Winsight Grocery Business. Winsight also offers a suite of digital products, including websites, e-newsletters, webinars, video products, mobile and tablet apps, and custom marketing solutions. In addition to more than 12 major EduNetworking conferences and advisory meetings, Winsight also produces seven exclusive, large-scale executive-level conferences: Restaurant Leadership Conference, Global Restaurant Leadership Conference, Outlook Leadership Conference, Convenience Retailing University, FSTEC, MenuDirections and Restaurant Directions. In 2015, Winsight acquired Technomic Inc., a provider of primary and secondary market information and advisory services for the food industry. For more information on Winsight and its brands, go to www.winsightmedia.com

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