Chattanooga-based Five Star Food Service expands in Middle Tennessee

Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Five Star Food Service CEO Richard Kennedy talks in April at the opening of the company's new headquarters in downtown Chattanooga. The vending machine supplier is the largest vending machine company of its type in the South with nearly 2,500 employees. Last year, Five Star generated more than $600 million in revenues and through acquisitions and organic growth, Kennedy hopes to top $1 billion in sales by 2028.
Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Five Star Food Service CEO Richard Kennedy talks in April at the opening of the company's new headquarters in downtown Chattanooga. The vending machine supplier is the largest vending machine company of its type in the South with nearly 2,500 employees. Last year, Five Star generated more than $600 million in revenues and through acquisitions and organic growth, Kennedy hopes to top $1 billion in sales by 2028.

The South's largest vending machine supplier continues to expand its service territory, buying another Canteen franchise business to expand into parts of 12 more Tennessee counties.

In its second Middle Tennessee acquisition this year, the Chattanooga-based Five Star Food Service announced Friday it has purchased Franks Vending in Pulaski, Tennessee, from the family-owned Coca-Cola bottler in the area. Five Star took over the 60-employee business this week, less than six months after Five Star also purchased the neighboring Lincoln County Vending business in Fayetteville, Tennessee.

"This acquisition aligns perfectly with our growth strategy and represents a fantastic opportunity to expand our reach in the Middle Tennessee market," Five Star CEO Richard Kennedy said in a statement.

Franks Vending, which is maintaining its Coke bottling business, serves parts of a dozen counties west of Five Star's existing service territory in Fayetteville, and Kennedy said the newly acquired geography "presents exciting growth opportunities for the company. Five Star's current footprint already borders the newly acquired territory on the south, north and east.

Franks Vending Service was founded in 1946 by E.W. Franks, the father of the late Bobby Franks, who took over in 1982. Franks Vending became a Canteen franchise in 2003.

David Franks and Debbie (Franks) Gowan, the children of Bobby Franks, have been instrumental in running the vending business and will play a key role during the transition period, Kennedy said.

"We look forward to working alongside the Franks family and building upon the strong foundation and legacy they have established," he said..

Five Star has grown organically and through more than 50 business and territory acquisitions to become one of the largest privately held convenience services operators in the United States and is the largest franchise of Canteen, a Compass Group company. Five Star generated more than $600 million in sales last year after acquiring major markets in New Orleans, Atlanta and Nashville, and Kennedy said he is growing the firm to top $1 billion in sales by 2028.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6340.

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