Foodservice Warehouse Buys Loubat

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FoodServiceWarehouse.com, a Denver-based foodservice equipment and supplies dealership, has purchased the assets of Loubat Equipment Co. Loubat had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy before Foodservice Warehouse purchased the assets of the New Orleans dealership. Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Three of the four Loubat principals – Henri Louapre, Doug Tyler and Cam McCall — will make the transition to Foodservice Warehouse.

"We have established it as the Loubat Division of Foodservice Warehouse," said Kristofer Bain, vice president for Foodservice Warehouse. "We don't want to lose the Loubat name and all of the history and tradition it stands for. These gentlemen were the heart of the organization and we want to take the best of what Loubat stands for, that personalized service and knowledge of the market, and marry it with the buying power of Foodservice Warehouse."

This deal brings together two businesses with different models. "Foodservice Warehouse started out as an internet-only business but we have evolved over the past two to three years," Bain said. "We added a national accounts division, we do some chain work and even smallwares," Bain said. Foodservice Warehouse also has two distribution centers – one in Denver and another in Kansas City, Mo.

In contrast, Loubat has been synonymous with the New Orleans market for years. For 2012, the company reported commercial operators accounted for 74 percent of its business, according to data Loubat officials submitted for FE&S' 2013 Distribution Giants Study. Independent restaurant operators accounted for 91 percent of the company's commercial foodservice business. Loubat reported annual sales of $5 million for 2012.

Both organizations knew each other well through their ties to foodservice equipment and supplies buying group Pride Marketing and Procurement. Loubat was the group's first member, according to Bain. And Pride owns Foodservice Warehouse. But it was the fact that both organizations were so different in their go to market approach that made the deal attractive to Foodservice Warehouse. "Looking at our evolution in recent years, we felt this was the right opportunity to jump into the local, design market and develop a great business model," Bain says.

"It was a very attractive opportunity to take what this industry stands for, in terms of design, contract services, local relationships, etc. and marry it with what we are known for, which is really technology and customer experience," Bain added. "Foodservice Warehouse really prides itself on being very innovative in our space. We focus a lot on customer experience. We quick ship and can fulfill orders almost with an Amazon-like experience."

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