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Sysco Corporation
FoundedMarch 19, 1969; 53 years ago (1969-03-19)
FounderHerbert Irving
John F. Baugh
Harry Rosenthal
United States
Key people
Kevin Hourican, CEO
Ed Shirley, Executive Chairman
  • Food-service
  • Food-away-from-home
  • Increase US$2.053 billion (2017)[1]
  • Increase US$1.143 billion (2017)[1]
Total assets
  • Increase US$17.757 billion (2017)[1]
Total equity
Number of employees
69,000 (2017)[1]

Sysco Corporation is an American multinational corporation involved in marketing and distributing food products, smallwares, kitchen equipment and tabletop items to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, hospitality businesses like hotels and inns, and wholesale to other companies that provide foodservice (like Aramark and Sodexo). The company is headquartered in the Energy Corridor district of Houston, Texas.[2]

Sysco, an acronym for Systems and Services Company, is the world's largest broadline food distributor; it has more than 600,000 clients in a wide array of fields. Management consulting is also an integral part of their services. The company operates approximately 330 distribution facilities worldwide; providing service to over 90 countries.

The company was founded by Herbert Irving, John F. Baugh and Harry Rosenthal in 1969.[3] The company became public on March 3, 1970. On July 20, 2009, Fortune magazine ranked Sysco No. 204 in the annual Fortune 500 companies in world based on sales volume. On May 3, 2010, Fortune ranked Sysco as the 7th largest Fortune 500 Company in Texas and 55th largest in the U.S. by total revenue.[4] Sysco is also the largest non-oil related company in Houston and the third largest non-oil related company in Texas (behind AT&T and Dell).[4] The company ranked No. 54 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest US corporations by total revenue.[5]

In December 2013, Sysco announced an $8.2 billion planned acquisition of its next-largest food distribution rival, US Foods.[6] The Federal Trade Commission challenged the acquisition as a violation of the Clayton Antitrust Act that would substantially lessen competition. After the court ruled that the combined company would likely reduce competition because it would control 75% of the U.S. food service industry, Sysco terminated its merger with US Foods.[7]


In 1981, SYSCO Food Services bought out the assets of Lankford Produce, based in West Pocomoke, Maryland and founded in 1964, by Stanley E. Lankford Jr., forming the Lankford-SYSCO division in the Delmarva Peninsula, renamed Sysco Eastern Maryland in 2008.

In 1988, Sysco acquired CFS Continental which had recently been acquired from Tate & Lyle through their purchase of A. E. Staley in Illinois.

In 1996 Sysco was the third largest company in Houston. It had over 30,000 employees.[8]

In 1999 Sysco acquired Newport Meat Company, which generated a yearly revenue of $100 million supplying meat to over 1,000 restaurants.[9]

In 2002, Sysco purchased SERCA Foodservices and renamed it Sysco Canada. SERCA had been owned by the supermarket giant Oshawa Group, which was acquired by Sobeys in 1998.[10]

In 2003, Sysco purchased Asian Foods, the largest Asian foods distribution in North America. The first group of Asian Foods joined Sysco Kansas City in 2006, followed by Asian Foods Chicago joining Sysco Chicago in Sep, 2009.[11]

In 2009, Sysco acquired Pallas Foods, the largest food distributor in Ireland. Continuing the expansion of their Irish offerings, in 2012, Sysco purchased Crossgar Foodservice for an undisclosed amount.[12]

On December 9, 2013, Sysco announced they would acquire US Foods for a total of $3.5 billion.[13] But on June 24, 2015, US Federal Judge Amit Mehta ruled that the combined Sysco-US Foods would control 75% of the U.S. food service industry and would stifle competition.[14] On June 29, 2015, Sysco terminated its merger with US Foods.[15][16]


The SYGMA Network, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sysco that provides food and non-food products to chain restaurants throughout the United States.

SYGMA was founded in January 1984, when senior officers of Sysco Corporation started discussions for forming a new distribution company. The first products were shipped in May 1985, from SYGMA’s first distribution center in Oklahoma. In 1988, Sysco acquired CFS, increasing head count at the organization.

SYGMA's customers include approximately 14,000 restaurants representing 26 concepts. Operating from 14 distribution centers, SYGMA is one of the largest chain distributors in the United States with sales over $6.7 billion. 186 million cases of product are delivered each year. SYGMA currently employs over 4,000 employees.

Sysco truck docked at Duke University


Beginning in the summer of 2013, the California Department of Public Health was investigating the storage of food in a total of 21 sheds which were never regulated and never inspected. The food included overnight drop-offs of chicken, pork, beef, bacon, and milk.[17] An investigative report by KNTV recorded food sitting in these sheds for up to five hours, in temperatures as hot as 81 °F (27 °C), before the food was delivered to hotels and restaurants. An employee speaking anonymously stated that sheds in Spokane, Washington, had refrigerators which were not large enough, and that most of the time there were cases of frozen food sitting on the floor outside the refrigerators.[17][18]

On July 16, 2014, Sysco agreed to pay fines totaling $19.4 million in California and admitted to the allegations made by KNTV's news team and investigated by the California Department of Public Health.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Sysco Corporation 2017 Annual Report (Form 10-K)". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. February 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Land Use and Demographics[permanent dead link]." Energy Corridor District. March 2009. 3 (7/53). Retrieved on January 16, 2010.
  3. ^[dead link]
  4. ^ a b "Fortune 500 2010: States: Texas Companies". CNN.
  5. ^ "Fortune 500 Companies 2018: Who Made the List". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
  6. ^ Some independents eager to take bite out of Sysco, The Deal Pipeline, William McConnell, April 3, 2014.
  7. ^ Gara, Antoine (June 29, 2015). "Sysco Cancels $8.2 Billion US Foods Takeover In Big Antitrust Win For FTC". Forbes. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  8. ^ Hassel, Greg. "Sysco goes to court vs. RioStar/Chapter 7 sought for Ninfa's parent." Houston Chronicle. Friday October 18, 1996. Business 1. Retrieved on February 6, 2012.
  9. ^ "CBS News/LOS ANGELES TIMES California Primary Day Survey, 1978". ICPSR Data Holdings. 1984-05-08. doi:10.3886/icpsr07816. Retrieved 2020-09-02.
  10. ^ "SYSCO TO ACQUIRE SERCA, CANADIAN NATIONAL BROADLINER, (USD$1.4-BILLION)". Restaurant Business. 5 December 2001. Retrieved 29 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Asian Foods bought by Sysco". bizjournals. 12 November 2002. Retrieved 29 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ Jones, Kristin. "Sysco Buys Crossgar Foodservice, Pushing Irish Expansion". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on June 17, 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  13. ^ Corporation, Sysco (2013-12-09). "Sysco and US Foods Agree to Merge, Creating a World-Class Foodservice Company". GlobeNewswire News Room. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  14. ^ Kendall, Brent (2015-06-29). "Judge Explains Reasons for Blocking Sysco-US Foods Merger". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  15. ^ "Sysco Cancels $8.2 Billion US Foods Takeover In Big Antitrust Win For FTC". Forbes. June 29, 2015.
  16. ^ "Sysco Terminates Merger Agreement with US Foods". June 29, 2015.
  17. ^ a b UPDATED: Unrefrigerated storage prompts Sysco investigation, The Packer, Mike Hornick, July 15, 2013.
  18. ^ Sysco Food Corp. Employees Claim Food Sheds Commonly Used Throughout U.S. and Canada, KNTV, Vicky Nguyen, Kevin Nious and Jeremy Carroll, Sept. 18, 2013. " ... Employees from coast to coast say that all of these sheds were hidden from health officials and never inspected."
  19. ^ "Sysco Fined Millions for Storing Seafood, Milk and Raw Meat in Unrefrigerated Sheds".

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