Why Gordon Food Service?

125 years of excellence, expertise and quality.

For 125 years, we’ve delivered the excellence, expertise, and quality products our customers need to design successful food operations and experiences. We’ve grown to become the largest family-operated broadline food distribution company in North America by upholding the same business approach since 1897—being passionately committed to the people we serve.

Gordon Food Service At a Glance

Mission and Cornerstone Values

Our purpose is to serve our customers with the highest quality foodservice products and services. We achieve this purpose through innovative systems and the spirit and integrity of our people.

Our Cornerstone Values are the principles that guide every interaction, and how we evaluate our performance and measure our success. 

Customer Is King

Our customers come first. We’re driven to exceed their expectations by listening, leading, solving problems, and delivering what we promise.


The best relationships are founded on honesty, trust, and respect. We say what we will do, and then we do it.

Philosophy of Sharing

Personal and professional growth depends on teamwork. By sharing knowledge, skills, ideas, and effort, we benefit our customers, ourselves, and our communities.

War Room Mentality

We play fair, but never lose sight of the goal to win. With that in mind, we execute our plans and strategies with focus, commitment, and passion.

Rewards for Performance

We encourage productivity and efficiency, and there are rewards for jobs well done. Sometimes it’s a financial incentive, other times an award, always a genuine thank-you.

Everyone Is Important

Our future depends on the success of each employee. In an atmosphere of dignity and diversity, our appreciation for each other’s talents and contributions keeps us at our best.

Networking Organization

Strong relationships break down barriers and promote innovation and cooperation. By working as an open-minded, responsive team, we achieve excellence.

What We Value


We understand that stewardship is a journey, not a destination. We are committed to improvement, innovation and responsible growth. We focus our efforts in four areas: Sustainable Operations, Responsible Sourcing, Empowering People and Supporting Community. Learn more about Our Stewardship Journey

Sustainable Operations

We strive to minimize the environmental impact of our facilities and fleet, effectively utilize renewable resources, and minimize operational waste throughout our business.

Empowering People

We strive to maintain a culture where all employees feel valued, respected and empowered to contribute, while providing a safe environment and opportunities to learn and grow.

Responsible Sourcing

We are proud to partner with suppliers who share our commitment to conducting business in a responsible manner and who offer a wide range of products and services that meet our high quality and safety standards.

Supporting Community

We believe being in business is about more than making a profit. Caring for people and contributing to both local and international communities continues to be integral to who we are.

Distribution center with trucks nearby

1994 - Present. Continued growth

With new distribution centers, and strategic acquisitions, the company expands and grows, becoming the largest privately-owned, family managed foodservice distributor in North America.

US and Canadian flags near GFS headquarters

1993. Canadian expansion begins

The company begins servicing customers in Canada. Organic growth, and additional Canadian acquisitions in 1996 and 2003, would propel Gordon Food Service to become a nation-wide distributor.

Boxes being sorted on conveyor belts

1980. Automated sorting and selection system

The industry’s first automated sorting and shipping system is implemented at the 50th Street warehouse.

Side of a GFS cash and carry building from 1979

1979. First "Cash & Carry" store opens

The first "Cash & Carry" (now Gordon Food Service Store) opens in Grand Rapids as a convenience to regular delivery customers needing extra supplies.

GFS truck with two trailers

1968. Two-trailer hookup system

Gordon Food Service initiates the two-trailer hookup system, an industry innovation that enables the food distribution company to cover a wider territory by truck rather than build more distribution centers.

The Gordon family at a roundtable

1965. New generations of leadership

Paul Gordon becomes president and John Gordon is named secretary/treasurer. Their sons and grandchildren follow them into the business as the 4th and 5th generations of family leadership.

GFS leadership members

1960. Continued sales growth

Company sales reach an all-time high of $5,000,000. The Profit Sharing Plan is initiated, a cornerstone employee benefit.

People standing below GFS sign

1942. Company renamed Gordon Food Service

Isaac retires, and Ben and Frank reorganize and rename the corporation Gordon Food Service.

The Gordon family standing together

1933. Ben Gordon gains partnership

Ben and Isaac join in a partnership and form The Gordon-Van Cheese Company. Ben’s brother, Frank Gordon, joins the company in 1937.

Ben Gordon by a GFS truck

1916. Ben Gordon joins the company

16-year-old Ben Gordon begins working for Isaac unloading margarine, candling eggs, bookkeeping, washing windows, and sweeping floors. He later marries Isaac's daughter, Ruth.

Vintage motorized truck with packages loaded

1914. First motorized delivery truck

Van Westenbrugge’s food service company is the first in Grand Rapids to have a motorized delivery truck.

Portrait of Isaac Van Westenbrugge

1897. The beginning of Gordon Food Service

Isaac Van Westenbrugge, age 23, borrows $300 from his brother to start a butter and egg delivery business in Grand Rapids, MI.

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