PFSbrands Launches New Equipment Division Dedicated to the Needs of Supermarkets and C-stores

On May 4, 2015 in Industry Coverage, News

Fryer

While PFSbrands™ has long experienced excellent success in the equipment market segment, the new division further elevates the company’s emphasis on commercial kitchen equipment. The ever-increasing demands for this type of equipment has developed as a result of the rapid-growth trend in hot food programs, which deliver some of the highest profit margins available now to supermarket and c-store operators.

In keeping with PFSbrands focus on extreme customer support, the Equipment Division will make available hands-on, in-store training without charge on brand-name equipment procured through the company. Using this customer-centric, value-add approach, the division will develop the levels of support necessary for its retail customers to take advantage of operational practices, which will lead to improved food quality and efficiencies for their deli and kitchen areas.

The new division will be headed up by industry veteran, Darrell Hale, who will have full responsibility for its end-to-end operations. In his 14-years’ tenure at Pro Food Systems, Hale has led the company’s supply of equipment (e.g. hotcases, auto-lift fryers, breading tables, combi-ovens, convection ovens, warmers, hot sandwich sliders and more) to well over 3,000 supermarkets and c-stores. We even offer custom blending, custom fish breading and other specialized breading!

“Our field team and I will continue to assist retailers in 4 primary ways: 1) selecting the right equipment to maximize their ROI, 2) optimizing layout for kitchen and deli areas, 3) teaching efficient operational procedures, and 4) troubleshooting equipment as issues arise,” said Hale, who was named Vice President for the Equipment Division. “We are excited about raising our service levels yet again by the planned launch in 45 days of our new e-commerce site for foodservice equipment. While we will continue to emphasize personalized support, the new site will supply c-store and supermarket operators with instant 24×7 access to equipment information, specs, pricing and ordering capability.”

Pro Food Systems gearing up for greater growth in 2015

On January 30, 2015 in General

Pro Food Systems gearing up for greater growth in 2015
New CFO & VPs announced to help lead expansion efforts

HOLTS SUMMIT, Mo. – Pro Food Systems, best known for its flagship brand Champs Chicken, continued the company’s remarkable growth streak in 2014. Pro Food Systems was founded in 1998 and just completed its’ 16th full year in business.  Over the past 5 years, Pro Food Systems (PFS) has achieved an average annual revenue growth rate of 24% with its supermarket and convenience store customers.  Shawn Burcham, CEO of Pro Food Systems, indicates that his team is not slowing down.  With the acquisition of the Cooper’s Express brand in 2014, and continued focus on improving the Champs Chicken brand, Burcham indicates that Pro Food Systems is positioned for even greater growth in 2015.

“We laid the ground work in 2014 to prepare for several major initiatives being implemented this year,” said Burcham.  “The biggest reason for our consistent success can be credited to the outstanding team of people we have assembled that are dedicated to the success of our customers.  To continuously scale up a rapidly growing company, we must have the right people in place to take us to the next level, including our Senior Leadership Team. As a result, we have rapidly expanded this team to include a new CFO and 4 new VP positions.”

Trevor Monnig accepted the critical new position of CFO.  Monnig served as CFO for the last 11 years with a manufacturing and distribution company in the Midwest where he led Accounting, Purchasing, IT, HR and Marketing.  

Among the new VP positions, Dave Yarbrough was promoted to VP of Field Operations in January and now leads a retailer support team of Regional Managers, Territory Managers and Corporate Trainers working from coast to coast.  Following a 19-year stint at a multinational consumer goods company, Brock Blaise accepted the newly created position of VP of Operations at Pro Food Systems.  Blaise assumed responsibility for both Logistics and Warehousing.  13-year PFS veteran, Darrell Hale, was announced as the new VP of Purchasing & Customer Support.  Former PFS Director of Human Resources, Carla Dowden, was also promoted to Vice President of Human Resources in late 2014.

Including the leadership expansion, PFS grew its staff overall by nearly 25% last year.  “I believe we are now better positioned to accelerate our growth for 2015,” said Burcham.  “Our committed retailers can expect lower food costs and even more support from our corporate team to help them grow their sales and profits.”

Carla Dowden named VP of HR for Pro Food Systems

On November 13, 2014 in News

Pro Food Systems has been driving in the fast lane several years now, expanding rapidly and continuously being ranked by INC. Magazine as one of the Fastest Growing Privately-Held Companies in the USA.  The biggest driver of this growth is their top hot food program, Champs Chicken.  With the number of stores rapidly increasing across the country, Pro Food Systems (PFS) had to quickly expand in many areas including personnel.  In November 2010, Carla Dowden was hired part-time to help with HR.  Within 30 days, she was offered full-time employment, and now is heading a full HR department as Vice President of Human Resources.

“Carla has been instrumental in the growth of this company by hiring numerous team members all across the country and helping to shape the culture of PFS,” said CEO Shawn Burcham.  “Our team and culture here at PFS is what really makes us stand out from other companies.   Not only do we have top quality products, but we have a stellar team behind them.  We go the extra mile to truly invest in the right team members by providing them with the resources needed to succeed personally and professionally.  We have a very extensive hiring process to ensure that we bring on the right people and Carla has really done an amazing job here.”

PFS now has a total of 93 employees working across the country.  This number will keep climbing as the Champs Chicken program, the Cooper’s Express program, and other PFS brands and product sales continue to grow.  A key contributor to the success of the PFS brands is that each store receives individual and ongoing support.  PFS has team members in each region that work hand-in-hand with stores to ensure that their hot food program is successful and profitable.  Champs Chicken franchisees also earn marketing development funds through PFS while receiving advertising support from the 10-person marketing team at the PFS headquarters.

“PFS is truly in a great position right now and we expect 2015 to be a record growth year for us.  With Carla a part of our Senior Leadership team and leading our HR department, we plan to move full speed ahead,” said Burcham.

KLIK Jefferson City Business Showcase

On October 29, 2014 in Industry Coverage

Interview with Pro Food Systems CEO, Shawn Burcham, and KLIK radio personality, Mike Cooper. Originally aired October 26, 2014.

Profiting With Poultry

On September 26, 2014 in Industry Coverage

C-store operators who put out a good quality chicken product might see their foodservice business fly higher.

By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor – Convenience Store Decisions

At the Arthur, Ill. location of Jack Flash Convenience Stores, chicken accounts for about 60% of foodservice sales, said John Herrmann, district supervisor for the 11-unit, Effingham, Ill.-based chain. The store also offers a branded pizza program and grab-and-go sandwiches.

Jack Flash did not have a chicken offering in any of its stores until 2012, when it purchased a convenience store that had a Champs Chicken program in place. Sales were okay, but the former owner did not put much effort into running it.

“The product selection and hours the chicken was available were very limited,” Herrmann said.

Management at Jack Flash saw a lot of potential in the program, so when the company tore down the store, rebuilt it and revamped its operations, including foodservice, last year, it kept the Champs program.

“We thought the product was of such a high quality and the program was so easy to run that we were confident we could really make something of it,” Herrmann explained. “All of the chicken for the Champs program is breaded, battered and fried in-store, so customers know they are getting the freshest product.”

Since the reopening of the Arthur store, chicken sales have consistently increased. Jack Flash plans to put the Champ’s program in its new St. Joseph, Ill. store, scheduled to open in early November. The company also plans to retrofit two existing stores, so it can offer the program, and when it opens two more stores next year, one will offer Champs Chicken.

The wave that Jack Flash is riding reflects the purchasing habits of most consumers as chicken sales continue to grow, according to recent research.

In the National Chicken Council survey, consumers said they ate chicken an average of six times during the two-week period prior to the survey, compared to a little more than five times during a like period in 2012.

Also, Millennial respondents (ages 18-34) are the most likely to eat chicken meals or snacks frequently.

In addition, 24% of consumers said they intend to increase their chicken consumption over the next 12 months. One in five said they are likely to buy more chicken at restaurants and other foodservice establishments.

FRONT AND CENTER

One major change Jack Flash made in the Arthur store was to relocate the chicken hot display case.

“Originally, we had our foodservice off to the side, separate from the registers, so customers would have to go to the foodservice counter, order their food, then go to the front cash register to pay. That meant standing in two lines to get food,” Herrmann said. “Our lunch hour is crazy busy, so that became a real problem.”

To alleviate the problem, the company moved the chicken service so it is now next to the cash register. During busy times, a store associate mans the case to expedite orders and keep things moving quickly. Store associates make sure that the case is filled with fresh product all day. Herrmann noted that since moving the case nearer to the registers, he is seeing more impulse purchasing of chicken tenders, dippers, bites and gizzards and livers even beyond the lunch rush.

“Customers see the chicken and they can’t resist it,” Herrmann said. “These products are also easy to take out and eat on the road.”

Jack Flash hopes to even further increase its chicken sales, especially bone-in family and value meals, when it launches a campaign of newspaper ads and direct mail.

“We want to boost our evening and weekend business,” Herrmann said. “So far, we’ve been running on word of mouth and we think, with the right promotion, we can build the business during those times. We think we can sell much more of the eight- and 12-piece family meals after church on Sundays.” … Click here to read full story

Pro Food Systems official motor vehicle fire statement

On September 24, 2014 in News, Recent news

Pro Food Systems official motor vehicle fire statement

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At 2:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, two tractor trailers parked at the loading dock of the Pro Food Systems (PFS) warehouse caught fire.   Because of the joint efforts of many local workers and volunteers, there was no major structural damage to the 65,000 sq. ft. building.  There was only minor damage to the face of the building at the loading docks and no equipment or products were damaged inside the structure.  Both trucks and trailers were a complete loss.  PFS is fully operational, receiving and distributing as normal.

“We are thankful that there was no one in the trucks or warehouse at the time of the fire and there were no injuries,” reported Shawn Burcham, CEO of Pro Food Systems.  “We want to offer our most sincere thanks to the community for calling in the report and for all of their continued support.  We also want to thank the Holts Summit and Callaway County law enforcement agencies for responding so quickly and acknowledge the great work done by the Holts Summit Fire Protection District and community volunteers in containing the fire quickly. Without this rapid response there is no doubt that more significant damage would have occurred.”

The cause of the fire is still unknown.  Security footage shows the fire originated in one truck which then ignited the second truck, spreading back through its trailer toward the loading dock.  Burcham indicated that there is no foul play suspected but a full investigation is underway.  There is no further information at this time.

Pro Food Systems adds 150 locations overnight

On June 26, 2014 in General

Pro Food Systems adds 150 locations overnight with acquisition of eattle-based Cooper’s Express

Pro Food Systems already serves a delicious brand of chicken in over 530 locations.   Starting tomorrow that number will increase by another 150 locations – not bad for a day’s work! It is a mere coincidence that on the 15th anniversary of its first Champs Chicken location opening, Pro Food Systems is celebrating another momentous occasion in the life of the company. Today, Pro Food Systems is announcing the acquisition of the Cooper’s Express, a second strong chicken brand that currently has over 150 quick-serve deli locations in the Northwest US with more on the horizon.

“What makes Cooper’s Express a win for C-stores and supermarkets is not only the brand’s proven comfort-food appeal to consumers, but also its very low cost of entry,” says Shawn Burcham, CEO of Pro Food Systems, Inc. “Our potential customers from around the country have been asking us for a licensed program like this, so we couldn’t be more excited to expand the Cooper’s Express brand into new markets across the country.”

Champs Chicken, Pro Food Systems’ long-established brand, has locations across 32 states overall, while Cooper’s Express dominates a 2-state market for the same category in Washington and Oregon. Since the Champs Chicken brand was just starting to take hold in the Northwest, the two branded programs complement each other well geographically. More importantly, deli operators around the country working with Pro Food Systems will now have an opportunity to choose between a true franchise “business-within-a-business” program (Champs Chicken) or a quality licensed program (Cooper’s Express) , whichever one best suits the operator.

“I am so gratified that a strong player in the food service industry like Pro Food Systems would see the potential of Cooper’s Express and want to take it national,” says Bill Anderson, founder of Cooper’s Express, “My team and I are excited to help Shawn and his team at Pro Food Systems in every way we can to build and expand upon the success we established here in the Northwest.” C-store deli operators across the country will also have a reason to celebrate. The Cooper’s Express brand is well known for its retailer-friendly license agreement, free on-site training during opening week and especially outstanding profit margins. This is one anniversary that the entire team at Pro Food Systems will not soon forget.

Champs Chicken Takes Advantage of Growing Categories

On March 25, 2014 in General

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Champs Chicken knows not to put all its eggs in one basket. The growing franchise business – long famous for its chicken tenders and signature sides – offers a diverse menu line-up, including whitefish, catfish and shrimp. And, if industry trends are any indication, the company might soon owe much of its success to this seaworthy fare.

Despite the long winter months that cooled down industry sales, demand for chicken and seafood is heating up. A recent report by AWMA which collected sales data from 50 distributors nationally, found annual increases of 19.7% and 17% in the chicken and seafood categories, respectively.

The positive research findings don’t stop there. Technomic reported restaurants that specialize in seafood are doing extremely well. Among the top 500 chains, seafood houses grew sales 50% faster than other full-service restaurants last year. Furthermore, of the diners who order a seafood dish on any given day, a quarter will order shrimp and another quarter will order some type of whitefish or catfish; falling in-line perfectly with Champs Chicken’s seafood menu.

“The industry data out there is very clear,” Carl Christenson, vice president of marketing for Champs Chicken, said. “Given our chicken and seafood offerings, our brand is in the right place at the right time.”

Last year, Champs Chicken seafood products made up 10% of product sales to retailers, a number that is only likely to grow with more stores and greater product awareness.

“One of our core values as a company is to make our retailers profitable.” Shawn Burcham, CEO and president for Champs Chicken, said. “By offering a seafood option – on top of our other quality menu items and superior customer service – we’re doing just that.”

About Champs Chicken

Champs Chicken Franchising, LLC (CCF) offers a unique “business-within-a-business” franchise model that features no upfront franchise fees and no on-going royalty fees whatsoever. Champs Chicken® is a registered trademark of Pro Food Systems, Inc. (PFS). PFS distributes its Champs Chicken products out of the company’s 65,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters and national distribution center located in Holts Summit, Missouri. With over 520 locations in 30 states, the company has been ranked by INC. Magazine as one of the “Fastest Growing Privately Owned Companies in the U.S.” for the last 5 years. Interested in franchise program information? Please fill out this form and a member of our team will contact you directly.

Champs Chicken Adds Sizzle to Menu

On December 27, 2013 in New Products

labelSales aren’t the only thing heating up here at Champs Chicken. We recently announced the addition of a new Champs Dipping Cup, Sweet N’ Fiery, to the menu line-up. The sauce – which starts off sweet and finishes hot – joins 7 other Champs Dipping Cup offerings.

The move is designed to meet growing consumer demand for more flavorful dining options. According to Technomic’s recent Consumer Trend Report, a majority (54%) of consumers polled said they find hot or spicy foods appealing. The strongest preference was found among younger consumers, ages 18-34, who make up a key Champs Chicken demographic.

“Sweet N’ Fiery is right in line with current consumer trends toward higher impact, bolder flavors,” Shawn Burcham, CEO and president of Champs Chicken, said. “By offering Sweet N’ Fiery as a dipping cup, we’re making the sauce more accessible to consumers, and therefore more profitable to retailers.”

The variety of Champs Dipping Sauces– which include Sassy Chipotle Ranch, Buffalo and Honey Mustard – also gives customers a simple and inexpensive way to customize their Champs Chicken purchase, as well as to accommodate a range of taste preferences.

“Flavor variety is one of the most appealing things for consumers,” Carl Christenson, vice president of marketing for Champs Chicken, said. “Because a dipping cup commonly comes with our meals or snacks, consumers can enjoy their favorite Champs Chicken item – chicken tenders and dippers, wings and even fish – with a multitude of flavors.”

Additional Champs Dipping Cup offerings, including Jalapeno Mustard and Teriyaki, will be arriving in the first quarter of 2014.

Champs Chicken Launches Franchise Program

On December 11, 2013 in General

Mosers Mexico DeliSince its inception, Champs Chicken has prided itself on consistent product quality, brand recognition

and retailer profitability. After enjoying rapid growth with over 520 branded food locations in 29 states, the company has taken steps to ensure these attributes continue to thrive in all locations. Champs Chicken recently unveiled its new franchise program, opening the first of such locations this week at Moser’s Supermarket in Mexico, MO.

The Champs Chicken franchise model – a business-within-a-business operation that requires no upfront fees or on-going royalties – was formulated after CEO Shawn Burcham and team examined Champs Chicken’s top-tier retailers around the country. The team quickly found several similarities

among its most successful, fastest growing partners: the right equipment, quality advertising, and most importantly, a high level of commitment to their hot food program.

The Champs Chicken franchise program is ideal for these dedicated retailers, as the company will invest heavily in their success. For example, Champs Chicken will offer Marketing Development Funds to franchisees in order to boost advertising and promotional efforts, such as billboards, coupon mailings, and take-out menus.

“We’ve been able to develop these corporate funded programs due to our continued growth and the efficiency created from our new national distribution center, “ Burcham said. “Further, we’re accomplishing this while staying true to our approach of not charging our operators royalty fees.”

Other key features of the Champs Chicken franchise program include:

  • Dual digital menu boards with cloud-based technology, allowing for remote access to update prices and menu offerings
  • A touch screen point-of-sale (POS) ordering system, enabling retailers to completely monitor inventory and sales

“The biggest step up is the new POS system,” Burcham said. “With this, retailers will receive real-time data and know exactly what’s selling, which price promotions are working, and be better able to manage labor and waste. This system, coupled with the significant Marketing Development Funds, will prove to make our independently-owned locations more profitable.”

Utilizing new technology was a strong selling point for Roger Moser, CEO of Moser’s Supermarket. “You’ve got to keep up with the times,” Moser said. “Plus, I knew Shawn would treat us right and that the Champs Chicken team would be here in full force.”

Adds Burcham: “I think our long-term relationship with Moser’s is a testament to what we do for all our retailers. Moser’s was our first licensed Champs Chicken location 15 years ago, and today, they are our first franchise partner.”

To learn more about partnering with Champs Chicken, please fill out this form or call toll-free (888) 581-9188.

Toll Free 855-632-3373
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