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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

       ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 25, 2020
or
       TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ____________ to ____________

Commission file number: 001-35249
THE CHEFS’ WAREHOUSE, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware20-3031526
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
100 East Ridge Road
Ridgefield, Connecticut, 06877
(Address of principal executive offices)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (203) 894-1345
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $0.01CHEFThe NASDAQ Stock Market LLC
Preferred Stock Purchase RightsCHEFThe NASDAQ Stock Market LLC
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐  No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Yes ☐  No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes   No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes   No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. 
Large accelerated filer Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes   No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.Yes   No ☐
The aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second quarter (June 26, 2020): $416,453,153

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the registrant’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date.
Class Outstanding at February 21, 2021
Common Stock, $.01 par value per share 37,278,958 shares
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE 
Document Parts Into Which Incorporated
Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Stockholders expected to be held on May 14, 2021 (“Proxy Statement”) Part III

Total number of pages: 87
1


THE CHEFS’ WAREHOUSE, INC.

INDEX
DescriptionPage
Number
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
2


CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
 
This Annual Report on Form 10-K of The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc. contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements provide our current expectations or forecasts of future events and are not statements of historical fact. These forward-looking statements include information about possible or assumed future events, including, among other things, discussion and analysis of our future financial condition, results of operations, our strategic plans and objectives, cost management, liquidity and ability to refinance our indebtedness as it matures, anticipated capital expenditures (and access to capital) required to complete projects, amounts of cash distributions to our stockholders in the future, if any, and other matters. Words such as “anticipates,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates” and variations of these words and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond our control, are difficult to predict and/or could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or forecasted in the forward-looking statements.
 
Forward-looking statements involve inherent uncertainty and may ultimately prove to be incorrect or false. Investors in our common stock are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Except as otherwise may be required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or actual operating results. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, the following:
 
our success depends to a significant extent upon general economic conditions, including disposable income levels and changes in consumer discretionary spending;
a significant portion of our future growth is dependent upon our ability to expand our operations in our existing markets and to penetrate new markets through acquisitions;
we may not achieve the benefits expected from our acquisitions, which could adversely impact our business and operating results;
we may have difficulty managing and facilitating our future growth;
our business is a low-margin business and our profit margins may be sensitive to inflationary and deflationary pressures;
we have significant competition from a variety of sources, and we may not be able to compete successfully;
our customers are generally not obligated to continue purchasing products from us;
damage to our reputation or lack of acceptance of our specialty food products, center-of-the-plate products and/or the brands we carry in existing and new markets could materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operations;
we have experienced losses due to our inability to collect accounts receivable in the past and could experience increases in such losses in the future if our customers are unable to pay their debts to us in a timely manner or at all;
new information or attitudes regarding diet and health or adverse opinions about the health effects of the products we distribute could result in changes in consumer eating habits, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations;
our business operations and future development could be significantly disrupted if we lose key members of our management team;
our insurance policies may not provide adequate levels of coverage against all claims, and fluctuating insurance requirements and costs could negatively impact our profitability. In addition, if we fail to establish proper reserves and adequately estimate future expenses, the costs associated with our self-insured group medical, workers’ compensation liability and auto liability plans may adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations;
conditions beyond our control could materially affect the cost and/or availability of our specialty food products or center-of-the-plate products and/or interrupt our distribution network;
our increased distribution of center-of-the-plate products, like meat, poultry and seafood, involves increased exposure to price volatility experienced by those products;
group purchasing organizations may become more active in our industry and increase their efforts to add our customers as members of these organizations;
fuel cost volatility may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations;
increases in our labor costs, including as a result of labor shortages, the unionization of some of our associates, the price or unavailability of insurance and changes in government regulation, could slow our growth or harm our business;
significant public health epidemics or pandemics, including the COVID-19 pandemic (the “Pandemic”), may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition;
3


because our foodservice distribution operations are concentrated in certain culinary markets, we are susceptible to economic and other developments, including adverse weather conditions, in these areas;
information technology system failures or breaches of our network security could interrupt our operations and adversely affect our business;
our investments in information technology may not produce the benefits that we anticipate;
we may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property, which, in turn, could harm the value of our brands and adversely affect our business;
product liability claims could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations;
we are subject to significant governmental regulation and failure to comply could subject us to enforcement actions, recalls or other penalties, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations;
federal, state, provincial and local tax rules in the United States and Canada may adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operations;
our substantial indebtedness may limit our ability to invest in the ongoing needs of our business;
our ability to raise capital in the future may be limited;
we may be unable to obtain debt or other financing, including financing necessary to execute on our acquisition strategy, on favorable terms or at all;
changes in the method of determining London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), or the replacement of LIBOR with an alternative rate, may adversely affect interest charged on our outstanding debt;
the price of our common stock may be volatile and our stockholders could lose all or a part of their investment;
concentration of ownership among our existing executive officers, directors and their affiliates may prevent new investors from influencing significant corporate decisions;
if securities analysts or industry analysts downgrade our stock, publish negative research or reports or do not publish reports about our business, our stock price and trading volume could decline;
we do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future and our stock may not appreciate in value;
our issuance of preferred stock or debt securities could adversely affect holders of our common stock and discourage a takeover; and
some provisions of our charter documents and Delaware law may have anti-takeover effects that could discourage an acquisition of us by others, even if an acquisition would be beneficial to our stockholders, and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.

This list of risks and uncertainties, however, is only a summary of some of the most important factors and is not intended to be exhaustive. Investors in our common stock should carefully review the risks that are set forth under the caption “Risk Factors” included in Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K.

Unless this Form 10-K indicates otherwise or the context otherwise requires, the terms “The Chefs’ Warehouse,” “we,” “our,” “our Company,” “the Company” or “us” as used in this Form 10-K refer to The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
4


Item 1.    BUSINESS

We are a premier distributor of specialty food and center-of-the-plate products in the United States and Canada. We are focused on serving the specific needs of chefs who own and/or operate some of the leading menu-driven independent restaurants, fine dining establishments, country clubs, hotels, caterers, culinary schools, bakeries, patisseries, chocolateries, cruise lines, casinos and specialty food stores in the United States and Canada (collectively, our “core customers”). We believe that we have a distinct competitive advantage in serving these customers as a result of our extensive selection of distinctive and hard-to-find specialty and center-of-the-plate food products, our product knowledge and our customer service.

We define specialty food products as gourmet foods and ingredients that are of the highest grade, quality or style as measured by their uniqueness, exotic origin or particular processing method. Our product portfolio includes over 50,000 stock-keeping units (“SKUs”) from more than 2,000 different suppliers and is comprised primarily of imported and domestic specialty food products, such as artisan charcuterie, specialty cheeses, unique oils and vinegars, truffles, caviar, chocolate and pastry products. We also offer an extensive line of center-of-the-plate products, including custom cut beef, seafood and hormone-free poultry, as well as produce and broadline food products, such as cooking oils, butter, eggs, milk and flour. When marketing our products to our customers, we focus our efforts on chefs, and we believe that, by offering a wide selection of both distinctive and hard-to-find products, together with center-of-the-plate proteins and staple broadline food products, we are able to differentiate ourselves from larger, traditional broadline foodservice distributors, while simultaneously enabling our customers to utilize us as their primary foodservice distributor. Additionally, we market certain of our center-of-the-plate products directly to consumers through our mail and e-commerce platform of Allen Brothers, Inc. (“Allen Brothers”) and we expanded our direct-to-consumer e-commere platform by launching our “Shop Like a Chef” online home delivery platform in several of the markets we serve.

Since the formation of our predecessor in 1985, we have expanded our distribution network, product selection and customer base both organically and through acquisitions. Our net revenues have increased from approximately $1.2 billion for the fiscal year ended December 30, 2016 to $1.6 billion for the fiscal year ended December 27, 2019. Our net revenues for the fiscal year ended December 25, 2020 decreased to $1.1 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s (the “Pandemic”) adverse impact on our business and operations and those of our customers. Our historical sales growth and our ability to manage through the material adverse impacts of the Pandemic on our business in fiscal 2020 are the result of an increase in the breadth and depth of our product portfolio, our commitment to customer service, the efforts of our experienced and sophisticated sales professionals, the increased use of technology in the operations and management of our business and our ongoing consolidation of the fragmented specialty foodservice distribution industry. Since December 28, 2018, we have completed eleven acquisitions which have increased our penetration in existing markets, expanded our footprint into new markets and/or enhanced our product capabilities. The up-front cash purchase prices for these eleven acquisitions resulted in aggregate up-front cash consideration of more than $132.7 million, which we funded with cash generated from our operations, borrowings under our then existing indebtedness and the proceeds of our common stock offerings.

Excluding our direct-to-consumer business, we currently serve more than 34,000 customer locations in our sixteen primary geographic markets across the United States and Canada, including New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, Portland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Chicago, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Seattle, Sacramento and Texas. By leveraging an experienced and sophisticated sales force of approximately 490 sales and customer service professionals, we maintain collaborative relationships with thousands of chefs while also acting as a critical marketing arm and route-to-market for many of our suppliers. We operate 36 distribution centers and provide service six days a week in many of our service areas, utilizing our fleet of delivery trucks to fill our customers’ orders.

Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on our Business

The Pandemic has had a material impact on our business and those of our customers. In an effort to limit the spread of the virus, federal, state and local governments began implementing various restrictions beginning in late March that resulted in the temporary closure of non-essential businesses in many of the markets we serve, which forced our customers in those markets to either transition their establishments to take-out service, delivery service or temporarily cease operations. State and local governments began to ease these restrictions in mid-May, however, the severity of indoor and outdoor dining restrictions have varied throughout the year depending on the extent of outbreaks and actions taken by the federal, state and local governments with jurisdiction over the markets we serve.

Despite these restrictions, we continued to provide our core customers with high touch service while many of our competitors reduced service levels. Our high touch service includes helping our core customers continue operating and pivoting to new business models. Although the environment has been challenging, our teams’ engagement and dedication have led us to expand to new opportunities as we partner with new and existing customers on re-openings and on launching new locations and
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concepts. We also expanded our direct-to-consumer product offerings by launching our “Shop Like a Chef” online home delivery platform in several of the markets we serve. We now offer products directly to consumers through both our Allen Brothers and “Shop Like a Chef” online platforms.

We have implemented cost control measures during this time of demand volatility. Our variable cost structure naturally decreases as our sales decrease, however, we also reduced portions of our fixed cost structure while still investing in our customer facing resources. Among other cost reduction actions, we postponed planned capital expenditures, returned certain equipment on short-term rental agreements, and reduced compensation expense through salary reductions, furloughs and lay-offs as we right-size our organization to current levels of demand.

As of December 25, 2020, we had $193.3 million of cash on our balance sheet and $50.3 million of availability on our asset-based loan facility. Our liquidity position, cost control measures and our strong relationships with customers and suppliers put us in a strategic position to invest in growth and take advantage of business development opportunities as we recover from the Pandemic.

Competitive Strengths

We believe that, during our over 30-year history, we have achieved, developed and/or refined the following strengths which provide us with a distinct competitive position in the foodservice distribution industry and also the opportunity to achieve superior margins relative to most large broadline foodservice distributors:

Leading Distributor of Specialty Food Products in Many of the Key Culinary Markets. Based on our management’s industry knowledge and experience, we believe we are the largest distributor of specialty food products, as measured by net sales, in the New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles metropolitan markets. We believe these markets, along with a number of other markets we serve, including Las Vegas, Miami, Portland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Chicago, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Seattle, Sacramento and Texas, create and set the culinary trends for the rest of the United States and Canada and provide us with valuable insight into the latest culinary and menu practices. Furthermore, we believe our established relationships with many of the top chefs, culinary schools and dining establishments in these key culinary markets have benefited us when we entered into new markets where we believe that chefs at our potential customers were generally knowledgeable of our brand and commitment to quality and excellence from their experience working in other markets which we serve or through their personal relationships throughout the culinary industry.

Expansive Product Offering. We offer an extensive portfolio of high-quality specialty food products, ranging from basic ingredients and staples, such as milk and flour, to custom-cut steaks, seafood, produce and pastries, as well as delicacies and specialty ingredients sourced from North America, Europe, Asia and South America, which we believe helps our customers distinguish their menu offerings. We carry more than 50,000 SKUs and we constantly evaluate our portfolio and introduce new products to address regional trends and preferences and ensure that we are on the leading edge of broader culinary trends. Through our importing division, we provide our customers with access to a portfolio of exclusive items, including regional olive oils, truffles and charcuterie from Italy, Spain, France and other Mediterranean countries. In addition, and as evidence of our commitment to aid our customers in creating unique and innovative menu items, we regularly utilize our sourcing relationships and industry insights to procure additional products that we do not regularly carry but that our customers specifically request. We believe that the breadth and depth of our product portfolio facilitates our customers’ ability to distinguish and enhance their menu offerings and differentiates us from larger traditional broadline foodservice distributors. For example, we provide a selection of more than 200 different varieties of olive oil, while large broadline foodservice distributors only carry, on average, 5-10 types of olive oil.

Critical Route-to-Market for Specialty Food Suppliers. We currently distribute products from more than 2,000 different suppliers. Our suppliers are located throughout North America, Europe, Asia and South America and include numerous small, family-owned entities and artisanal food producers. We are the largest customer for many of our suppliers. As a result, our experienced and sophisticated sales professionals, customer relationships and distribution platform are important to these suppliers’ route-to-market, which enables us to offer a wide range of products on an exclusive basis.

Expanding Base of Premier Customer Relationships. Our breadth and depth of product offerings coupled with our highly regarded customer service has allowed us to develop and retain a loyal customer base that is comprised of chefs who own or work at more than 34,000 of the nation’s leading menu-driven independent restaurants, fine dining establishments, country clubs, hotels, caterers, culinary schools, bakeries, patisseries, chocolateries, cruise lines, casinos and specialty food stores. Our focus on product selection, product knowledge and customer service has rewarded us with a number of long-term customer relationships, which often begin when chefs are introduced to us while attending the nation’s leading culinary schools, including The Culinary Institute of America and The French Culinary Institute, both of which have been customers of ours for
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more than ten years. Based on our management’s industry experience and our relationships and dealings with our customers, we believe we are the primary distributor of specialty food products to the majority of our customers that are not part of our direct-to-consumer business.

Collaborative Professional and Educational Relationships with our Customers. We employ a sophisticated and experienced sales force of approximately 490 sales and customer service professionals, a significant number of whom have formal culinary training, degrees in the culinary arts or prior experience working in the culinary industry. Equipped with advanced culinary and industry knowledge, our sales professionals seek to establish a rapport with our customers’ chefs, so that they can more fully understand and anticipate the needs of and offer cost-effective food product solutions to the chefs who own or operate these businesses. We believe that the specialized knowledge base of our sales professionals enables us to take a more collaborative and educational approach to selling our gourmet foods and ingredients and to further differentiate ourselves from our traditional broadline competitors.

Expertise in Logistics and Distribution. We have built a first-class, scalable inventory management and logistics platform that enables us to efficiently fill our customers’ orders and to profitably meet our customers’ needs for varying drop sizes, high service levels and timely delivery. With 36 distribution centers located throughout the United States and Canada, we are able to leverage our geographic footprint and reduce our inbound freight costs. This scale enables us to maintain a portfolio of more than 50,000 SKUs, and through the operation of our sophisticated information technology, inventory management and logistics systems, we believe we provide our customers with some of the highest levels of customer service and responsiveness in our industry.

Experienced and Proven Management Team. Our senior management team has demonstrated the ability to grow the business through various economic environments. With collective experience of more than 90 years at The Chefs’ Warehouse, its predecessor and other foodservice distribution companies, our founders and senior management are experienced operators and are passionate about our future. Our senior management team is comprised of our founders, as well as experienced professionals with expertise in the foodservice distribution industry and in a wide range of functional areas, including finance and accounting, sales and marketing, operations, information technology, legal and human resources

Our Growth Strategies

We believe substantial organic growth opportunities exist to recover our net revenues to pre-Pandemic levels in our current markets through increased penetration of our existing customers and the addition of new customers, and we have identified new markets that we believe also present opportunities for future expansion. Key elements of our growth strategy include the following:

Increase Penetration with Existing Customers. We intend to sell more products to our existing customers by increasing the breadth and depth of our product selection and increasing the efficiency of our sales professionals, while at the same time continuing to provide excellent customer service. We are a data-driven and goal-oriented organization, and our management and sales professionals are highly focused on our weekly sales and gross profit contribution from each of our core customers and increasing the number of unique products we distribute to such customers. We believe our acquisition activity reflects this focus, as we have sought to complement our existing product offerings and enhance our product capabilities through the acquisition of wholesale specialty food and produce distributors and high quality center-of-the-plate protein suppliers, manufacturers and distributors.

Expand our Customer Base Within our Existing Markets. As of December 25, 2020, we served more than 34,000 customer locations, excluding our direct-to-consumer business, in the United States and Canada. We plan to expand our market share in the fragmented specialty food distribution industry by cultivating new customer relationships within our existing markets through the continued penetration of menu-driven independent restaurants, fine dining establishments, country clubs, hotels, caterers, culinary schools, bakeries, patisseries, chocolateries, cruise lines, casinos and specialty food stores. We believe we have the opportunity to continue to gain market share in our existing markets by offering an extensive selection of specialty food products, as well as center-of-the-plate proteins, produce and traditional broadline staple food products through our unique, collaborative and educational sales efforts and efficient, scalable distribution solution.

Improve our Operating Margins. As we continue to grow, we believe that the investments we are making in our facilities and information technology platforms, along with improved efficiencies that we are working to achieve in our general and administrative functions, should yield both improved customer service and increased profitability. Utilizing our fleet of delivery trucks, we usually fill customer orders within 12-24 hours of order placement. We intend to continue to offer our customers this high level of customer service, while maintaining our focus on realizing efficiencies and economies of scale in purchasing,
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warehousing, distribution and general and administrative functions which, when combined with incremental fixed-cost leverage, we believe will lead to continued improvements in our operating margin over time.

Pursue Selective Acquisitions. Throughout our over 30-year history, we have successfully identified, consummated and integrated multiple strategic acquisitions, which were designed to increase our penetration in existing markets, expand our footprint into new markets and/or enhance our product capabilities. We believe that, over time, we will be able to improve the operations and overall profitability of each acquired company by leveraging our sourcing relationships to provide an expanded product portfolio, implementing our tested sales force training techniques and metrics and installing improved warehouse management and information systems. We believe we have the opportunity to capitalize on our existing infrastructure and expertise by continuing to selectively pursue opportunistic acquisitions in order to expand the breadth of our distribution network, increase our operating efficiency and add additional products and capabilities. Since our initial public offering (“IPO”), we have completed twenty acquisitions, which have increased our penetration in existing markets, expanded our footprint into new markets and enhanced our product capabilities.

Our Markets and the Customers that We Serve

Excluding our direct-to-consumer business, we distribute our specialty food products to over 34,000 distinct customer locations from distribution centers located in our primary markets, which include New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, Portland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Chicago, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Seattle, Sacramento and Texas. We also serve customers in a number of other markets, including Philadelphia, Boston and Napa Valley. We believe that many of these markets set the culinary trends for the rest of the United States and Canada and provide us with valuable insight into the latest culinary and menu trends. We have established collaborative professional and educational relationships with some of the United States’ and Canada’s most demanding chefs, which allows us to anticipate the needs of, and offer cost-effective food product solutions to, our customers while allowing our customers to locate ingredients that will enable them to create unique and differentiated menu items. Our target customers include menu-driven independent restaurants, fine dining establishments, country clubs, hotels, caterers, culinary schools, bakeries, patisseries, chocolateries, cruise lines, casinos and specialty food stores. We have no meaningful customer concentration as our top ten customers accounted for less than 8.5% of total net sales for our 2020 fiscal year.

Our Allen Brothers subsidiary markets certain of our center-of-the-plate proteins directly to consumers through a mail and e-commerce platform. Additionally, in response to the Pandemic, we expanded our direct-to-consumer product offerings by launching our “Shop Like a Chef” online home delivery platform in several of the markets we serve.

Set forth below is a breakdown of the primary geographic markets we serve and the year we entered each market:
Market NameGeographies ServedYear Entered
New YorkBoston to Atlantic City1985
Washington, D.C.Philadelphia to Richmond1999
Los AngelesSanta Barbara to San Diego2005
San FranciscoNapa Valley to Monterey Bay2005
Las VegasLas Vegas2005
MiamiMiami2010
PortlandBend, OR to Seattle, WA2011
ColumbusMidwest2012
CincinnatiDayton, OH to Lexington, KY2013
ChicagoChicago2013
VancouverVancouver and Western Canada2013
EdmontonEdmonton and Calgary2013
TorontoToronto2013
SeattleSeattle2013
SacramentoSacramento2015
TexasTexas2018

We extend credit to virtually all of our core customers on varying terms. Typically, most of our customers have payment terms from 14 -60 days, however, in response to the Pandemic, the Company has temporarily tightened its credit terms to a maximum of 30 days for the majority of its customers. We complete a formal credit assessment of all significant new core customers, and
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our Credit and Collections Department regularly evaluates credit terms for each such customer based upon several factors, including order frequency, average order size, the types of products purchased and the length of the relationship. We believe that we are skilled at managing customer credit.

Our Gourmet Food Products

We strive to be the primary food source solution for our customers, and, to this end, we offer our customers a comprehensive product portfolio that ranges from basic ingredients and staples, such as milk and flour, to custom-cut steaks, seafood, produce and pastries, as well as delicacies and specialty ingredients sourced from North America, Europe, Asia and South America. We carry more than 50,000 SKUs and we are fully committed to utilizing our sourcing relationships and industry insights to procure products that we do not regularly carry but that our customers specifically request as they seek to create unique and innovative menu offerings.

We continuously evaluate potential additions to our product portfolio based on both existing and anticipated trends in the culinary industry. Our buyers have numerous contacts with suppliers throughout North America, Europe, Asia and South America and are always looking for new and interesting products that will aid our customers as they seek to keep up with the latest developments in the culinary industry. Our ability to successfully distribute a significant portion of the total production of smaller, regional and artisanal specialty food producers allows us the opportunity to be these producers’ primary route-to-market in our markets without, in most cases, requiring us to make contractual commitments regarding guaranteed volume. We are also able to utilize our size and successful track record of distributing products sourced from outside the United States and Canada to resist efforts from many of our foreign suppliers to push importing costs off onto us.

We seek to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by offering a more extensive depth and breadth of specialty products. We carry a wide range of high-quality specialty food products, including artisan charcuterie, specialty cheeses, unique oils and vinegars, truffles, caviar, chocolate and pastry products across each of our markets, but we also offer a number of items in each of our respective markets that are tailored to meet the unique preferences of the individual chefs in that market. We regularly rotate our inventory to identify and bring to market new products that will continue to support our value proposition.

Within our product offerings, we carry numerous gourmet brands, and at the same time, we seek to maximize product contribution through the sale of our proprietary brands, which we offer in a number of staple products, including bulk olive oil, Italian grating cheeses and butter. We believe that our ability to offer simultaneously high-quality specialty foods and ingredients, center-of-the-plate products, produce and more traditional broadline staple food products provides our customers with foodservice distribution solutions that are efficient and cost effective.

Our Sophisticated and Experienced Sales Professionals

We employ a sophisticated and experienced sales force of approximately 490 sales and customer service professionals focused on meeting our customers’ goals and objectives, while concurrently educating them regarding our latest products and broader culinary trends. Our sales force is composed of the following three distinct groups which are all focused on providing outstanding service to our customers:

Outside Sales Associates: Responsible for identifying sales opportunities, educating customers and acting as our public representatives.
Inside Sales Associates: Responsible for processing customer orders and arranging for delivery and payment.
Product Specialists: Responsible for maintaining specialized product knowledge and educating our outside sales associates and customers regarding new products and general developments in several specific categories, including protein, seafood, pastry and cheese.

A significant number of our sales professionals have formal culinary training, degrees in the culinary arts and/or prior experience working in the culinary industry. We strive to harness this culinary knowledge and passion for food and to concurrently promote an entrepreneurial working environment. Utilizing advanced pricing optimization software available to them on a real-time basis, our sales professionals are afforded flexibility to determine the pricing of individual items for our customers within a range of pricing options. The majority of our outside sales professionals are compensated on a commission basis, and their performance is measured primarily upon their gross profit dollars obtained. We have historically experienced low turnover among our seasoned sales professionals.

Because we are highly focused on collaborating with our customers and educating them regarding our latest products and broader culinary trends, we view the ongoing education and training of our sales force as crucial to our continued success. To ensure that our sales professionals remain on the forefront of new culinary products and trends, we regularly hold “vendor
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shows” at our distribution centers, where our sales force is able to interact with vendors and learn more about the vendors’ latest product offerings and the performance of these products relative to competitive offerings.

Our Suppliers

We are committed to providing our customers with an unrivaled portfolio of specialty food products, as well as a comprehensive broadline product offering and center-of-the-plate products. To fulfill this commitment, we maintain strong sourcing relationships with numerous producers of high-quality artisan and regional specialty food products, as well as a wide range of broadline product suppliers, produce and protein vendors. Our importing arm also provides us with access to exclusive items such as regional olive oils, truffles and charcuterie sourced from Italy, Spain, France and other Mediterranean countries.

We constantly seek out and evaluate new products in order to satisfy our customers’ desire to be at the forefront of the latest culinary and menu trends, and, as evidence of our commitment to aid our customers in creating unique and innovative menu items, we regularly utilize our sourcing relationships and industry insights to procure other products that we do not regularly carry but that our customers specifically request.

We currently distribute products from more than 2,000 different suppliers. We carry multiple products and utilize multiple suppliers in all of our product categories, thereby eliminating our dependence upon any single supplier. Additionally, we seek to limit commodity risk by utilizing sophisticated forecasting and inventory management systems to minimize the inventory carrying time of commodity-oriented products and by leveraging the specialized product knowledge of our product specialists to manage purchasing and inventory levels when appropriate.
In response to the Pandemic, our purchasing teams have worked diligently to shift our product purchases to SKUs that are in high demand and, thus far, we have not experienced difficulties in procuring products from our suppliers.

Our Operations and Distribution Centers

Operating out of 36 distribution centers of varying size and, despite the impacts of the Pandemic, providing service six days a week in many areas, we utilize our fleet of delivery trucks to fill customer orders, usually within 12-24 hours of order placement. We have invested significantly in sophisticated warehousing, inventory control and distribution systems, as described in more detail below.

We have implemented pick-to-voice technology in each of our distribution facilities, which enables our warehouse employees to fill orders with greater speed and accuracy and are implementing inventory scanning platforms in an effort to reduce damages and returns.

Products are delivered to our distribution centers primarily by contract carriers, the suppliers themselves and our fleet of trucks. Out trucks are either owned or leased from national leasing companies and regional firms that offer competitive services. Customer orders are assembled in our distribution centers and then sorted, placed on pallets and loaded onto trucks and trailers in delivery sequence. The majority of our trucks and delivery trailers have multiple, temperature-controlled compartments that ensure all product is delivered to the customer at its optimal temperature.

We employ advanced routing and logistics planning software, which maximizes the number of daily deliveries that each of our trucks can make, while also enabling us to typically make deliveries within each customer’s preferred two to three hour time window. For our direct-to-consumer business, we ship through nationally recognized couriers. We also use GPS and vehicle monitoring technology to regularly evaluate the condition of our delivery trucks and monitor the performance of our drivers, by tracking their progress relative to their delivery schedule and providing information regarding hard braking, idling and fast starts. Our use of this technology allows us to conduct proactive fleet maintenance, provide timely customer service and improve our risk management.

Our Technology Systems

We maintain an advanced information technology platform that enables us to manage our operations across our various markets, as we seek to drive our growth and profitability and ensure that the needs of our customers are met in an accurate and efficient manner. Over recent years, we have made significant investments in distribution, sales, information and warehouse management systems and are in the process of implementing a fully-integrated ERP system. Our systems improvements include the implementation of route optimization software, a warehouse management system at all specialty warehouses that integrates with pick-to-voice and directed put-away systems. We are driving increasing sales volume through our ecommerce platforms and a new mobile ordering tool which we believe will enable a much more seamless online customer experience. We also leverage a reporting and analytics platform that provides our sales team and management with the information required to drive
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efficiency and growth. We believe that our current systems are scalable and can be leveraged together with targeted investments in new technology to provide the fuel to drive profitable growth.

Intellectual Property

Except for the Spoleto, Bel Aria, Grand Reserve, Provvista, Argonaut, Praml, Black Falls, Michael’s, Chocoa, Crescendo, Matisse, Qzina, Coccinelle, Allen Brothers, The Great Steakhouse Steaks, Del Monte, Fells Point, Bassian Farms, Sid Wainer & Son, Cambridge Packing, and The Chefs’ Warehouse trademarks, we do not own or have the right to use any patent, trademark, trade name, license, franchise or concession, the loss of which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Competition

The foodservice distribution industry is highly competitive. We compete with numerous smaller distributors on a local level, as well as with a limited number of national broadline foodservice distributors. Certain of these distributors have greater financial and other resources than we do. Bidding for contracts or arrangements with customers, particularly larger hotels and caterers, is highly competitive and distributors may market their services to a particular customer over a long period of time before they are invited to bid. We believe that most purchasing decisions in the foodservice distribution industry are based upon the quality and price of the product distributed and the distributor’s ability to completely and accurately fill orders and deliver them in a timely manner.

Human Capital Management

As of December 25, 2020, we had 2,221 full-time employees, 149 of whom (approximately 7%) are currently represented by unions and operate under collective bargaining agreements, which expire at various times between fiscal 2021 and 2025. We offer attractive compensation and benefit packages, and we believe our relationship with our employees is satisfactory.

Workforce Health and Safety

The safety and health of our employees is a top priority for us. In response to the Pandemic, we implemented new procedures and protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, federal and state governments, and other major health authorities. This includes, but is not limited to, instructing our employees to practice social distancing on our premises and those of our customers, frequent sanitation of our work environments, truck fleet and equipment, supplying personal protective equipment to our workforce and allowing our administrative employees to work from home.

Regulation

As a distributor of specialty food products and meat and seafood in the United States and Canada, we are subject to regulation by numerous international, federal, state, provincial and local regulatory agencies. For example, at the U.S. federal level, we are subject to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Bioterrorism Act and regulations promulgated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). The FDA regulates manufacturing and holding requirements for foods, specifies the standards of identity for certain foods and prescribes the format and content of certain information required to appear on food product labels, among other responsibilities. For certain product lines, we are also subject to the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, the Country of Origin Labeling Act and regulations promulgated thereunder by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”). The USDA imposes standards for product quality and sanitation, including the inspection and labeling of meat and poultry products and the grading and commercial acceptance of produce shipments from vendors. The products we distribute in Canada are also subject to regulation and inspection by Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Our suppliers are also subject to similar regulatory requirements and oversight. The failure to comply with applicable regulatory requirements could result in civil or criminal fines or penalties, product recalls, closure of facilities or operations, the loss or revocation of existing licenses, permits or approvals or the failure to obtain additional licenses, permits or approvals in new jurisdictions where we intend to do business.

We are also subject to state and local regulation through such measures as the licensing of our facilities, enforcement by state and local health agencies of state and local standards for our products and facilities and regulation of our trade practices in connection with the sale of products. Our facilities are generally inspected at least annually by federal and/or state authorities. These facilities are also subject to inspections and regulations issued pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act by the U.S. Department of Labor, which require us to comply with certain manufacturing, health and safety standards to protect our employees from accidents and to establish hazard communication programs to transmit information about the hazards of certain chemicals present in certain products that we distribute. Our Canadian distribution facilities, repackaging activities and other
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operations also are subject to regulation and inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and provincial health authorities.

Our trucking operations are regulated by the Surface Transportation Board, the Federal Highway Administration, Transport Canada and Canadian provincial transportation authorities. In addition, interstate motor carrier operations are subject to safety requirements prescribed by the U.S. Department of Transportation and other relevant federal and state agencies. Such matters as weight and dimension of equipment are also subject to federal and state regulations. We believe that we are in compliance with applicable regulatory requirements relating to our motor carrier operations. Our failure to comply with the applicable motor carrier regulations could result in substantial fines or revocation of our operating permits.

Our operations are subject to a broad range of federal, state, provincial and local environmental health and safety laws and regulations, including those governing discharges to air, soil and water, the handling and disposal of hazardous substances and the investigation and remediation of contamination resulting from releases of petroleum products and other hazardous substances.

We believe that we are in material compliance with all international, federal, state, provincial and local regulations applicable to our operations, and management is unaware of any related issues that may have a material adverse effect upon our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Litigation and Insurance

We may be subject to lawsuits, claims and assessments in the normal course of business. Our management does not believe that there are any suits, claims or unasserted claims or assessments pending which would have a material adverse effect on our operations or financial condition.

We maintain comprehensive insurance packages with respect to our facilities, equipment, product liability, directors and officers, workers’ compensation and employee matters in amounts which management believes to be prudent and customary within the foodservice distribution industry.

Seasonality

Excluding our direct-to-consumer business, we generally do not experience any material seasonality. However, our sales and operating results may vary from quarter to quarter due to factors such as changes in our operating expenses, management’s ability to execute our operating and growth strategies, personnel changes, demand for our products, supply shortages, weather patterns and general economic conditions.

Our Allen Brothers direct-to-consumer business is subject to seasonal fluctuations, with direct-to-consumer center-of-the-plate protein sales typically higher during the holiday season in our fourth quarter; accordingly, a disproportionate amount of operating cash flows from this portion of our business is generated in the fourth quarter. Despite a significant portion of these sales occurring in the fourth quarter, there are operating expenses, principally advertising and promotional expenses, throughout the year.

The Pandemic has had a material impact on our business and operations and those of our customers. Our net sales were most significantly impacted during the second quarter of fiscal 2020 when, in an effort to limit the spread of the virus, federal, state and local governments began implementing various restrictions that resulted in the temporary closure of non-essential businesses in many of the markets we serve, which forced our customers in those markets to either transition their establishments to take-out service, delivery service or temporarily cease operations.

Inflation

Our profitability is dependent, among other things, on our ability to anticipate and react to changes in the costs of key operating resources, including food and other raw materials, labor, energy and other supplies and services. Substantial increases in costs and expenses could impact our operating results to the extent that such increases cannot be passed along to our customers. The impact of inflation on food, labor, energy and occupancy costs can significantly affect the profitability of our operations.

Available Information

Our principal executive office is located at 100 East Ridge Road, Ridgefield, Connecticut 06877, and our telephone number is (203) 894-1345. Our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and all
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amendments to those reports will be made available free of charge through the Investors section of our website (http://www.chefswarehouse.com) as soon as practicable after such material is electronically filed with, or furnished to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Material contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this report.

We have also adopted a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (“Code of Ethics”) that applies to all of our employees, including our principal executive officer, principal financial officer and principal accounting officer. Our Code of Ethics is publicly available on the Investor Relations section of our website (http://www.chefswarehouse.com) and is available free of charge by writing to The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc., 100 East Ridge Road, Ridgefield, Connecticut 06877, Attn: Investor Relations. If we make any substantive amendments to the Code of Ethics or grant any waiver, including any implicit waiver, from a provision of the Code of Ethics to our principal executive officer, principal financial officer or principal accounting officer, or persons performing similar functions, we intend to make any legally required disclosures regarding such amendments or waivers on the Investors section of our website (http://www.chefswarehouse.com).

The SEC also maintains an Internet website that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers, including us, that file electronically with the SEC located at http://www.sec.gov.

Information about our Executive Officers
Name & Position
Age
Business Experience
Christopher Pappas
President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors
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Christopher Pappas is our founder and has served as our chief executive officer since 1985 and has been our chairman since March 1, 2011. He has been our president since April 11, 2009 and before that was our president from our formation to January 1, 2007. Prior to founding our company, Mr. Pappas played basketball professionally in Europe for several years following his graduation from Adelphi University in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. Mr. Pappas currently oversees all of our business activities, with a focus on product procurement, sales, marketing and strategy development. Mr. Pappas's qualifications to serve on our board of directors include his extensive knowledge of our company and the specialty food products distribution business and his years of leadership at the Company.
John Pappas
Vice Chairman and Director
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John Pappas is a founder of our company and currently serves as our vice chairman, a position he has held since March 1, 2011. From our founding in 1985 to March 1, 2011, he served as our chief operating officer. He has 25 years of experience in logistics, facility management and global procurement and oversees our network of distribution centers nationwide. Mr. Pappas is also active in the development of our corporate strategy. Mr. Pappas's qualifications to serve on our board of directors include his extensive knowledge of our company and the specialty food products distribution industry and his years of leadership at the Company.
James Leddy
Chief Financial Officer
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James“Jim” Leddy is our chief financial officer and assistant secretary, positions he has held since his appointment as of November 11, 2017. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Leddy served as our executive vice president of finance since joining the Company in September 2017. Mr. Leddy previously served as interim Chief Financial Officer at JetBlue Airways from November 2016 to February 2017 and served as Senior Vice President and Treasurer from 2012 to November 2016. Prior to joining JetBlue, Mr. Leddy served as Senior Vice President, Treasury and Cash Management at NBCUniversal from 2008 until 2012, and as a Senior Technical Advisor at General Electric from 2003 until 2008. Previously, Mr. Leddy held corporate risk and treasury management positions at First Union National Bank and Dai-ichi Kangyo Bank. Mr. Leddy holds an M.B.A. in Finance and Management of Technology from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in Economics from Fordham University.
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Alexandros Aldous
General Counsel, Corporate Secretary & Chief Government Relations Officer
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Alexandros Aldous is our General Counsel, Corporate Secretary & Chief Government Relations Officer, positions he has held since joining us in March 2011, our IPO on July 27, 2011, and March 8, 2017, respectively. Mr. Aldous is also an adjunct Professor of Law at the Washington College of Law, American University. Mr. Aldous's prior work experience includes working as an attorney with Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays Bank PLC, in London, where he focused primarily on mergers and acquisitions and capital markets, and prior to that, working as an attorney with Shearman & Sterling LLP, in New York, where he focused primarily on mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Aldous is a member of both the Government Relations Leadership Committee and General Counsel Committee of the International Foodservice Distributors Association, co-chairman of the Global Alumni Advisory Board of the American College of Greece, as well as a member of the Dean's Counsel of American University's School of International Service. Mr. Aldous earned a B.A. in Classics and Government from Colby College, a Juris Doctor and M.A. from American University and an LL.M. from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Mr. Aldous is licensed to practice law in the State of New York, District of Columbia, and England and Wales.
Timothy McCauley
Chief Accounting Officer
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Timothy McCauley has served as our chief accounting officer, since his appointment on February 16, 2018 and previously served as our controller since joining the Company in May 2015. Mr. McCauley has over 30 years of experience in accounting and finance roles across a variety of industries. Mr. McCauley’s prior work experience includes serving as Vice President – Finance at MacDermid Inc., Corporate Controller at Northern Tier Energy LP, Director of Financial Reporting and Investor Relations at Presstek, Inc. and Finance Director at Eastman Kodak Company. Prior to joining Eastman Kodak Company, Mr. McCauley worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers for eleven years in their assurance and business advisory practice. Mr. McCauley holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business - Accounting from the University of Connecticut and is a registered certified public accountant in the state of Connecticut.
Patricia Lecouras
Chief Human Resources Officer
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Patricia Lecouras is our Chief Human Resources Officer. Ms. Lecouras was promoted to Chief Human Resources Officer on March 8, 2013. Ms. Lecouras joined our company from GE Capital Commercial Finance where she was vice president, human resources from 2001 to 2007. Prior to her time with GE Capital Commercial Finance, Ms. Lecouras was with Nine West Shoes (f/k/a Fischer Camuto Corporation) and Xerox. Ms. Lecouras's professional experience is multi-disciplinary and includes prior experience working in finance and tax-related functions. She also has earned a six sigma master black belt certification. Ms. Lecouras holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Social Work from Skidmore College.
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Item 1A.    RISK FACTORS

Our business, financial condition and results of operations are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including those described below and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This section discusses factors that, individually or in the aggregate, we think could cause our actual results to differ materially from our expected and historical results. Risk factors are organized in categories where they primarily apply, but other categories may also apply. Our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected by any of these risks. We note these factors for investors as permitted by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Business and Macroeconomic Risk

Our success depends to a significant extent upon general economic conditions, including disposable income levels and changes in consumer discretionary spending.

Our business is exposed to reductions in consumer discretionary spending because our target customers operate in the food-away-from-home industry. Consumer discretionary spending may be affected by many factors outside of our control, including general economic conditions, disposable income levels and consumer confidence levels. In uncertain economic environments, consumers may choose to spend discretionary dollars less frequently which could result in a decline in consumers’ food-away-from-home purchases, particularly in more expensive restaurants, and, consequently, adversely impact the businesses of our customers by, among other things, reducing the frequency with which our customers’ customers choose to dine out or the amount they spend on meals while dining out. If our customers’ sales decrease, our profitability could decline as we spread fixed costs across lower sales volume. Also, similar economic conditions could lead to consumers purchasing less from our direct-to-consumer Allen Brothers business. Moreover, if a prolonged downturn or uncertain outlook in the economy were to occur, consumers might ultimately make long-lasting changes to their discretionary spending behavior, including dining out less frequently on a permanent basis or purchasing less from Allen Brothers. Accordingly, adverse changes to consumer preferences or consumer discretionary spending, each of which could be affected by many different factors which are out of our control, could harm our business, financial condition or results of operations. Our continued success will depend in part upon our ability to anticipate, identify and respond to changing economic and other conditions and the impact that those conditions may have on discretionary consumer spending.

A significant portion of our future growth is dependent upon our ability to expand our operations in our existing markets and to penetrate new markets either through organic growth or through acquisitions.

We intend to expand our presence in our existing markets by adding to our existing customer base through the expansion of our product portfolio and the increase in the volume and/or number of purchase orders from our existing customers. We cannot assure investors, however, that we will be able to continue to successfully expand or acquire critical market presence in our existing markets, as we may not successfully market our specialty food and center-of-the-plate products and brands or may encounter larger and/or more well-established competitors with substantially greater financial resources. Moreover, competitive circumstances and consumer characteristics in new segments of existing markets may differ substantially from those in the segments in which we have substantial experience. If we are unable to expand in existing markets, our ability to increase our revenues and profitability may be affected in a material and adverse manner. At times, we have grown our business by expanding into new geographic markets. Efforts to expand organically may take time to produce revenues that exceed our expenses in these new markets, which can be high as we build out our infrastructure and hire associates to run our operations.

We also regularly evaluate opportunities to acquire other companies. To the extent our future growth includes acquisitions, we cannot assure investors that we will successfully identify suitable acquisition candidates, obtain financing for such acquisitions, if necessary, consummate such potential acquisitions, effectively and efficiently integrate any acquired entities or successfully expand into new markets as a result of our acquisitions. Moreover, there may be additional risks that we face to the extent that we acquire companies that are principally involved in the distribution of products that we have not historically distributed, like fresh produce.

We may not achieve benefits expected from our acquisitions which could adversely impact our business and operating results.

We believe that there are risks related to acquiring companies, including overpaying for acquisitions, losing key employees of acquired companies, failing to identify potential liabilities associated with the acquisition of the business prior to our acquisition and failing to achieve potential synergies. Additionally, our business could be adversely affected if we are unable to integrate the companies we acquired.

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A significant portion of our past growth has been achieved through acquisitions of, or mergers with, other distributors of specialty food products and center-of-the-plate protein items. Our future acquisitions may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, particularly in periods immediately following the consummation of those transactions while the operations of the acquired business are being integrated with our operations. Achieving the benefits of acquisitions depends on timely, efficient and successful execution of a number of post-acquisition events, including successful integration of the acquired entity. Integration requires, among other things:

maintaining the existing customer and supplier base and personnel;
optimizing delivery routes;
coordinating administrative, distribution and finance functions; and
integrating management information systems and personnel.

The integration process may temporarily redirect resources previously focused on reducing product cost, resulting in lower gross profits in relation to sales. In addition, the process of combining companies could cause the interruption of, or a loss of momentum in, the activities of the respective businesses, which could have an adverse effect on their combined operations. We have an integration team which is dedicated to onboarding new acquisitions and integrating information technology systems as quickly and efficiently as possible. We believe that having a team dedicated to integration helps make sure the people, processes and products we add through acquisitions are consistent with our historical business and allows our management team to focus its attention on our day-to-day operations. If the integration team does not improve our integration process, the integration of acquisitions could divert the attention of management, and any difficulties or problems encountered in the integration process could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

In connection with our acquisition of businesses in the future, if any, we may decide to consolidate the operations of any acquired business with our existing operations or make other changes with respect to the acquired business, which could result in special charges or other expenses. Our results of operations also may be adversely affected by expenses we incur in making acquisitions, by amortization of acquisition-related intangible assets with definite lives and by additional depreciation attributable to acquired assets. Any of the businesses we acquire may also have liabilities or adverse operating issues, including some that we fail to discover before the acquisition, and our indemnity for such liabilities typically has been limited and may, with respect to future acquisitions, also be limited. Additionally, our ability to make any future acquisitions may depend upon obtaining additional financing or the consents of our lenders. We may not be able to obtain this additional financing or these consents on acceptable terms or at all. Moreover, we may need to finance our acquisition activity with the issuance of equity or debt securities, which may have rights and preferences superior to those of our common stock and, in the case of common equity securities, may be issued at such prices and in such amounts as may cause significant dilution to our then-existing common stockholders. To the extent we seek to acquire other businesses in exchange for our common stock, fluctuations in our stock price could have a material adverse effect on our ability to complete acquisitions.

In addition, although we enter into acquisition agreements with each company or business we acquire that contain customary representations, warranties, covenants and indemnities, there is no guarantee that we will recover all of our losses that may result from a breach of such agreements. For example, most acquisition agreements contain baskets or deductibles and caps and limitations on damages and on periods in which we may bring a claim. In addition, there can be no guarantee that we will be successful on the merits of any claim that we bring arising out of a breach of an acquisition agreement or that if we are successful on the merits in bringing a claim that the sellers of the businesses we acquire will be able to pay us for our losses. Moreover, the costs that we incur to investigate a potential matter may not be fully recoverable. Additionally, as a result of an acquisition, we may enter into a new business or market or offer products that differ from our core business. Any such new business or market or the sale and distribution of new products may present new challenges for us, and we may not be able to overcome such challenges. Additionally, we may seek to distribute a different set of products than the business that we acquire, which may cause a loss of customers of those businesses if we can no longer carry the products they desire or charge more for those products than was charged before we acquired the business.

Our failure to realize the benefits expected from our acquisitions could result in a reduction in the price of our common stock as well as in increased costs, decreases in the amount of expected revenues and diversion of management’s time and energy and could materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We may have difficulty managing and facilitating our future growth.

At times since our inception, we have rapidly expanded our operations through organic growth, acquisitions or otherwise. This growth has placed and will continue to place significant demands upon our administrative, operational and financial resources. This growth, however, may not continue. To the extent that our customer base and our distribution networks continue to grow, this future growth may be limited by our inability to acquire new distribution facilities or expand our existing distribution
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facilities, make acquisitions, successfully integrate acquired entities, implement information systems initiatives or adequately manage our personnel.

Moreover, our future growth may be limited in part by the size and location of our distribution centers. As we near maximum utilization of a given facility, our operations may be constrained and inefficiencies may be created, which could adversely affect our results of operations unless the facility is expanded, volume is shifted to another facility or additional processing capacity is added. Conversely, as we add additional facilities or expand existing operations or facilities, excess capacity may be created. Any excess capacity may also create inefficiencies and adversely affect our results of operations. We cannot assure investors that we will be able to successfully expand our existing distribution facilities or open new distribution facilities in new or existing markets as needed to facilitate growth.

Even if we are able to expand our distribution network, our ability to compete effectively and to manage future growth, if any, will depend on our ability to continue to implement and improve operational, financial and management information systems on a timely basis and to expand, train, motivate and manage our employees. We cannot assure investors that our existing personnel, systems, procedures and controls will be adequate to support the future growth of our operations. Accordingly, our inability to manage our growth effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Our business is a low-margin business and our profit margins may be sensitive to inflationary and deflationary pressures.

We operate within a segment of the foodservice distribution industry, which is an industry characterized by a high volume of sales with relatively low profit margins. Although our profit margins are typically higher than more traditional broadline foodservice distributors, they are still relatively low compared to other industries’ profit margins. Volatile food costs may have a direct impact upon our profitability. Prolonged periods of product cost inflation may have a negative impact on our profit margins and results of operations to the extent we are unable to pass on all or a portion of such product cost increases to our customers. In addition, product cost inflation may negatively impact consumer discretionary spending decisions within our customers’ establishments, which could adversely impact our sales. Conversely, our profit levels may be negatively impacted during periods of product cost deflation even though our gross profit as a percentage of sales may remain relatively constant. However, some of our products, particularly certain of our center-of-the-plate protein items, are priced on a “cost plus” markup, which helps mitigate the negative impact of deflation. If our product mix changes, we may face increased risks of margin compression, as we may be unable to achieve the same level of profit margins as we are able to capture on our traditional specialty products. Our inability to effectively price our specialty food products or center-of-the-plate products, to quickly respond to inflationary and deflationary cost pressures and to reduce our expenses could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We have significant competition from a variety of sources, and we may not be able to compete successfully.

The foodservice distribution industry is highly fragmented and competitive, and our future success will be largely dependent upon our ability to profitably meet our customers’ needs for certain gourmet foods and ingredients, varying drop sizes, high service levels and timely delivery. We compete with numerous smaller distributors on a local level, as well as with a limited number of larger, traditional broadline foodservice distributors. We cannot assure investors that our current or potential competitors will not provide specialty food products and ingredients, center-of-the-plate protein items or services that are comparable or superior to those provided by us at prices that are lower than the prices we charge or adapt more quickly than we do to evolving culinary trends or changing market requirements. It is also possible that alliances among competitors may develop and rapidly acquire significant market share. Accordingly, we cannot assure investors that we will be able to compete effectively against current and future competitors, and increased competition may result in price reductions, reduced gross margins and loss of market share, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Our customers are generally not obligated to continue purchasing products from us.

Most of our customers buy from us pursuant to individual purchase orders, as we generally do not enter into long-term agreements with our customers for the purchase of our products. Because our customers are generally not obligated to continue purchasing products from us, we cannot assure investors that the volume and/or number of our customers’ purchase orders will remain constant or increase or that we will be able to maintain or add to our existing customer base. Significant decreases in the volume and/or number of our customers’ purchase orders or our inability to retain or grow our current customer base may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

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Damage to our reputation or lack of acceptance of our specialty food products, center-of-the-plate products and/or the brands we carry in existing and new markets could materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We believe that we have built a strong reputation for the breadth and depth of our product portfolio and the brands we carry and that we must protect and grow their value to be successful in the future. Any incident that erodes consumer confidence in or affinity for our specialty food or center-of-the-plate products or brands, whether or not justified, could significantly reduce their respective values and damage our business. If our customers perceive or experience a reduction in the quality or selection of our products and brands or our customer service, or in any way believe that we failed to deliver a consistently positive experience, our business, financial condition or results of operations may be affected in a materially adverse manner.

A specialty foods distribution business such as ours can be adversely affected by negative publicity or news reports, whether or not accurate, regarding food quality issues, public health concerns, illness, safety, injury or government or industry findings concerning our products or others across the food distribution industry. Although we have taken steps to mitigate food quality, public health and other foodservice-related risks, these types of health concerns or negative publicity cannot be completely eliminated or mitigated and may harm our results of operations and damage the reputation of, or result in a lack of acceptance of, our products or the brands we carry.

In addition, our ability to successfully penetrate new markets may be adversely affected by a lack of awareness or acceptance of our product portfolio or our brands in these new markets. To the extent we are unable to foster name recognition and affinity for our products and brands in new markets, we may not be able to penetrate these markets as anticipated, and, consequently, our growth may be significantly delayed or impaired.

We have experienced losses due to our inability to collect accounts receivable in the past and could experience increases in such losses in the future if our customers are unable to pay their debts to us in a timely manner or at all.

Certain of our customers have experienced bankruptcy, insolvency and/or an inability to pay their debts to us as they come due. If our customers suffer significant financial difficulties or bankruptcies, they may be unable to pay their debts to us in a timely manner or at all. It is possible that our customers may contest their obligations to pay us under bankruptcy laws or otherwise. Even if our customers do not contest their obligations to pay us, if our customers are unable to pay their debts to us in a timely manner, it could adversely impact our ability to collect accounts receivable and may require that we take larger provisions for bad debt expense. Moreover, we may have to negotiate significant discounts and/or extended financing terms with these customers in such a situation in an attempt to secure payment for outstanding debts. Accordingly, if we are unable to collect upon our accounts receivable as they come due in an efficient and timely manner, our business, financial condition or results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. During periods of economic weakness, small to medium-sized businesses, like many of our independent restaurant and fine dining establishment customers, may be impacted more severely and more quickly than larger businesses. Consequently, the ability of such businesses to repay their obligations to us may deteriorate, and in some cases this deterioration may occur quickly, which could adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operations.

New information or attitudes regarding diet and health or adverse opinions about the health effects of the products we distribute could result in changes in consumer eating habits, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Consumer eating habits may impact our business as a result of changes in attitudes regarding diet and health or new information regarding the health effects of consuming the products we distribute. If consumer eating habits change significantly, we may be required to modify or discontinue sales of certain items in our product portfolio, and we may experience higher costs associated with the implementation of those changes. Additionally, changes in consumer eating habits may result in the enactment of laws and regulations that impact the ingredients and nutritional content of our products or require us to disclose the nutritional content of products. Compliance with these laws and regulations, as well as others regarding the ingredients and nutritional content of our products, may be costly and time consuming. We cannot assure investors that we will be able to effectively respond to changes in consumer health perceptions or resulting new laws or regulations or to adapt our product offerings to trends in eating habits.

Our business operations and future development could be significantly disrupted if we lose key members of our management team.

The success of our business significantly depends upon the continued contributions of our founders and key employees, both individually and as a group. Our future performance will substantially depend upon our ability to motivate and retain our
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founders Christopher Pappas, our chairman, president and chief executive officer, and John Pappas, our vice chairman, as well as certain other senior key employees. The loss of the services of either of our founders or any of our key employees, including key employees of the businesses we have acquired, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. We have no reason to believe that we will lose the services of these individuals in the foreseeable future; however, we currently have no effective replacement for these individuals due to their experience, reputation in the foodservice distribution industry and special role in our operations.

Our insurance policies may not provide adequate levels of coverage against all claims, and fluctuating insurance requirements and costs could negatively impact our profitability. In addition, if we fail to establish proper reserves and adequately estimate future expenses, the costs associated with our self-insured group medical, workers’ compensation liability and auto liability plans may adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We believe that our insurance coverage is customary for businesses of our size and type. However, there are types of losses we may incur that cannot be insured against or that we believe are not commercially reasonable to insure. These losses, should they occur, could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. In addition, the cost of workers’ compensation insurance, auto liability insurance, general liability insurance and directors’ and officers’ liability insurance fluctuates based upon our historical trends, market conditions and availability. Because our operations principally are centered in large, metropolitan areas, our insurance costs are higher than if our operations and facilities were based in more rural markets. Additionally, health insurance costs in general have risen significantly over the past few years. These increases, as well as federal legislation requiring employers to provide specified levels of health insurance to all employees, could have a negative impact upon our business, financial condition or results of operations, and we cannot assure investors that we will be able to successfully offset the effect of such increases with plan modifications and cost control measures, additional operating efficiencies or the pass-through of such increased costs to our customers.

We maintain a self-insured group medical program. The program contains individual stop loss thresholds of $275 thousand per incident and aggregate stop loss thresholds based upon the average number of employees enrolled in the program throughout the year. The amount in excess of the self-insured levels is fully insured by third party insurers. We record a liability for medical claims during the period in which they occur, as well as an estimate of incurred but not reported claims. Management determines the adequacy of these accruals based on a monthly evaluation of our historical claims experience and medical cost trends. Projections of future loss expenses are inherently uncertain because of the random nature of insurance claims occurrences and could be significantly affected if future occurrences and claims differ from these assumptions and historical trends. If we suffer a substantial loss that is not covered by our self- insurance reserves, the loss and attendant expenses could harm our business and operating results.

We are self-insured for workers’ compensation and automobile liability to deductibles or self-insured retentions of $500 thousand per occurrence. The amounts in excess of our deductibles are fully insured by third party insurers. Liabilities associated with this program are estimated in part by considering historical claims experience and cost trends. Projections of future loss expenses are inherently uncertain because of the random nature of insurance claims occurrences and could be significantly affected if future occurrences and claims differ from these assumptions and historical trends.

Supply Chain and Labor Risk

Conditions beyond our control could materially affect the cost and/or availability of our specialty food products or center-of-the-plate products and/or interrupt our distribution network.

Our profitability and operating margins are dependent upon, among other things, our ability to anticipate and react to any interruptions in our distribution network and changes to food costs and availability. We obtain a significant portion of our specialty food products and center-of-the-plate products from local, regional, national and international third-party suppliers. We generally do not enter into long-term contracts with our suppliers, whereby they would be committed to provide products to us for any appreciable duration of time. Although our purchasing volume can provide leverage when dealing with suppliers, particularly smaller suppliers for whom we may be their largest customer, suppliers may not provide or may be unable to provide the specialty food products or center-of-the-plate products we need in the quantities and at the times and prices we request. Failure to identify an alternate source of supply for these items or comparable products that meet our customers’ expectations may result in significant cost increases. Additionally, weather, governmental regulation, water shortages, availability and seasonality may affect our food costs or cause a disruption in the quantity of our supply. For example, weather patterns in recent years have resulted in lower than normal or, conversely, higher than normal levels of rainfall and snowfall in key agricultural states such as California, impacting the price of water and the corresponding prices of food products grown in states affected by such weather. Additionally, the route-to-market for some of the products we sell, such as baking chocolate, depends upon the stability of political climates and a stable labor force in developing nations, such as the Ivory Coast. In such
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countries, political and social unrest may cause the prices for these products to rise to levels beyond those that our customers are willing to pay, if the product is available at all. If we are unable to obtain these products, our customers may seek a different supplier for these or other products which could negatively impact our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We do not currently use financial instruments to hedge our risk exposure to market fluctuations in the price of food products. Similarly, our suppliers may also be affected by higher costs to source or produce and transport food products, as well as by other related expenses that they pass through to their customers, which could result in higher costs for the specialty food products or center-of-the-plate products they supply to us. Our inability to anticipate and react to changing food costs through our sourcing and purchasing practices in the future could therefore negatively impact our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We may also be subject to material supply chain interruptions based upon conditions outside of our control. These interruptions could include work slowdowns, work interruptions, strikes or other adverse employment actions taken by employees of ours or our suppliers, short-term weather conditions or more prolonged climate change, crop conditions, product recalls, water shortages, transportation interruptions within our distribution channels, unavailability of fuel or increases in fuel costs, competitive demands and natural disasters or other catastrophic events, such as food-borne illnesses or bioterrorism. The efficiency and effectiveness of our distribution network is dependent upon our suppliers’ ability to consistently deliver the specialty food products and meat, poultry and seafood we need in the quantities and at the times and prices we request. Accordingly, if we are unable to obtain the specialty food products or meat, poultry or seafood that comprise a significant percentage of our product portfolio in a timely manner and in the quantities and at the prices we request as a result of any of the foregoing factors or otherwise, we may be unable to fulfill our obligations to customers who may, as a result of any such failure, resort to other distributors for their food product needs or change the types of products they buy from us to products that are less profitable for us.

Our increased distribution of center-of-the-plate products, like meat, poultry and seafood involves increased exposure to price volatility experienced by those products.

As a result of our acquisition of specialty center-of-the-plate distributors and manufacturers, a larger percentage of our revenues is expected to come from center-of-the-plate products. With our increased distribution of center-of-the-plate products like meat, poultry and seafood, we are more susceptible to increases in the prices of those products, and we cannot assure investors in our common stock that all or part of any increased costs experienced by us from time to time can be passed along to consumers of our products, in a timely manner or at all. Conversely, rapid downward pricing for these products, including as a result of export restrictions on U.S. beef products or lower demand internationally for U.S. beef products, may result in us lowering our prices to our customers even though our inventory on hand is at a higher cost. The supply and market price of our center-of the plate products are typically more volatile than most of our core specialty products and are dependent upon a variety of factors over which we have no control, including the relative cost of feed and energy, weather, livestock diseases, government regulation and the availability of beef, chicken and seafood.

The prices of our meat and poultry products are largely dependent on the production of feed ingredients, which is affected primarily by the global level of supply inventories and demand for feed ingredients, the agricultural policies of the U.S. and foreign governments and weather patterns throughout the world. In particular, weather patterns often change agricultural conditions in an unpredictable manner. A significant change in weather patterns could affect supplies of feed ingredients, as well as the industry’s ability to obtain feed ingredients or deliver products. More recently, feed prices have been impacted by increased demand both domestically for ethanol and globally for protein production.

Additionally, our center-of-the-plate category is subject to risks relating to animal health and diseases. An outbreak of diseases affecting livestock (such as foot-and-mouth disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly referred to as mad cow disease) could result in restrictions on sales of products, restrictions on purchases of livestock from suppliers or widespread destruction of livestock. Outbreaks of diseases, or the perception by the public that an outbreak has occurred, or other concerns regarding diseases, can lead to inadequate supply, cancellation of orders by customers and adverse publicity, any of which can have a significant negative impact on consumer demand and, as a result, on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

In addition, meat, seafood and poultry products that we distribute could be subject to recall because they are, or are alleged to be, contaminated, spoiled or inappropriately labeled. Our meat and poultry products may be subject to contamination by disease-producing organisms, or pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella and generic E.coli. These pathogens are generally found in the environment, and, as a result, there is a risk that they, as a result of food processing, could be present in the meat and poultry products that we distribute. These pathogens can also be introduced as a result of improper handling in our facilities or at the consumer level. These risks may be controlled, although not eliminated, by adherence to good
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manufacturing practices and finished product testing. We have little, if any, control over proper handling before we receive the product or once the product has been shipped to our customers. Illness and death may result if the pathogens are not eliminated before these products are sold to customers.

We are also susceptible to increases in the prices of our seafood products. The prices of our seafood products are largely dependent on the continuous supply of fresh seafood, which in turn could be affected by a large number of factors, including, but not limited to, environmental factors, the availability of seafood stock, weather conditions, water contamination, the policies and regulations of the governments of the relevant territories where such fishing is carried out, the ability of the fishing companies and fishermen that supply us to continue their operations and pressure from environmental or animal rights groups. The major raw material for our seafood products is fresh seafood, and any shortage in supply or upsurge in demand of fresh seafood may lead to an increase in prices, which may adversely affect our profitability, including as a result of increased production costs and lower profit margins.

Our operations are subject to extensive regulation and oversight by the USDA, the FDA, and other federal, state, local and foreign authorities regarding the processing, packaging, storage, safety, distribution, advertising and labeling of its products. Recently, food safety practices and procedures in the meat processing industry have been subject to more intense scrutiny and oversight by the USDA. Failure to comply with existing or new laws and regulations could result in administrative penalties and injunctive relief, civil remedies, fines, interruption of operations, recalls of products or seizures of properties, potential criminal sanctions and personal injury or other damage claims. These remedies, changes in the applicable laws and regulations or discovery of currently unknown conditions could increase costs, limit business operations and reduce profitability.

Group purchasing organizations may become more active in our industry and increase their efforts to add our customers as members of these organizations.

Some of our customers, including a majority of our hotel customers, purchase their products from us through group purchasing organizations. These organizations have increased their efforts to aggregate the purchasing power of smaller, independent restaurants in an effort to lower the prices paid by these customers on their foodservice orders, and we have experienced some pricing pressure from these purchasers. If these group purchasing organizations are able to add a significant number of our customers as members, we may be forced to lower the prices we charge these customers in order to retain the business, which would negatively affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. Additionally, if we were unable or unwilling to lower the prices we charge for our products to a level that was satisfactory to the group purchasing organization, we may lose the business of those of our customers that are members of these organizations, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Fuel cost volatility may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Fuel cost volatility may have a negative impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations. The cost of diesel fuel can increase the price we pay for products as well as the costs we incur to distribute products to our customers. These factors, in turn, may negatively impact our net sales, margins, operating expenses and operating results. Although we have been able to pass along a portion of increased fuel costs to our customers in the past, we cannot assure investors that we can do so again. If fuel costs increase in the future, we may experience difficulties in passing all or a portion of these costs along to our customers, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Increases in our labor costs, including as a result of labor shortages, the unionization of some of our associates, the price or unavailability of insurance and changes in government regulation could slow our growth or harm our business.

We are subject to a wide range of labor costs. Because our labor costs (particularly those in our center-of-the-plate category) are, as a percentage of revenues, higher than other industries, we may be significantly harmed by labor cost increases.

Our operations are dependent upon our experienced and sophisticated sales professionals, warehouse personnel and drivers, and, in our center-of-the plate facilities, on the experienced butchers we employ. Qualified individuals have historically been in short supply and an inability to attract and retain them may limit our ability to expand our operations in existing markets, as well as our ability to penetrate new markets. We cannot assure investors that we will be able to attract and retain qualified individuals in the future. Additionally, the cost of attracting and retaining qualified individuals may be higher than we currently anticipate, and as a result, our profitability could decline. We are subject to the risk of employment-related litigation, which we believe increased as a result of our expansion in California resulting from the Del Monte and Bassian acquisitions and our large workforce in New York, at both the state and federal levels, including claims styled as class action lawsuits, which are more costly to defend. Also, some employment-related claims in the area of wage and hour disputes are not insurable risks.

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Despite our efforts to control costs while still providing competitive healthcare benefits to our staff members, significant increases in healthcare costs continue to occur, and we can provide no assurance that our cost containment efforts in this area will be effective. Moreover, we are continuing to assess the impact of federal healthcare legislation on our healthcare benefit costs, and significant increases in such costs could adversely impact our operating results. We cannot assure investors that we will be able to pass through the costs of such legislation in a manner that will not adversely impact our operating results.

In addition, many of our delivery and warehouse personnel are hourly workers subject to various minimum wage requirements. Mandated increases in minimum wage levels have recently been and continue to be proposed and implemented at both federal and state government levels. Minimum wage increases may increase our labor costs.

We are also subject to the regulations of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement. Our failure to comply with federal and state labor laws and regulations, or our employees’ failure to meet federal citizenship or residency requirements, could result in a disruption in our work force, sanctions or fines against us as well as adverse publicity and additional cost.

As of December 25, 2020, we had 2,221 full-time employees, 149 of whom (approximately 7%) are represented by unions and are operating under collective bargaining agreements which expire at various times between fiscal 2020 and 2025. We have in the past been the focus of union negotiating efforts, and it is likely that we will be the focus of similar efforts in the future.

As we increase our employee base and broaden our distribution operations to new geographic markets, including as a result of acquisitions, our increased visibility could result in increased or expanded union-organizing efforts or we may acquire businesses with unionized workforces. Three labor unions have been certified to represent bargaining units at our New York, Chicago and Maryland facilities, and we have entered into a collective bargaining agreement with our union employees in New York, Chicago and Maryland. Although we have not experienced a work stoppage to date, if we are unable to successfully negotiate union contracts, or renewals of existing contracts, if additional employees were to unionize or if we acquire additional businesses with unionized employees, we could be subject to work stoppages and increases in labor costs, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Geographic and Global Risk

Significant public health epidemics or pandemics, including COVID-19, may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

A public health epidemic or pandemic can significantly impact our business or those of our core customers or suppliers, particularly if located in geographies in which we have significant operations. Such events could significantly impact the food-away-from-home industry and other industries that are sensitive to changes in consumer discretionary spending habits. In addition, our operations could be disrupted if we were required to quarantine employees that work at our various distribution centers and processing facilities.

For instance, the recent outbreak of the Pandemic is resulting in governmental authorities in many locations where we operate, and in which our customers are present and suppliers operate, to impose mandatory temporary closures, seek voluntary closures and impose restrictions on, or advisories with respect to, travel, business operations and public gatherings or interactions. Among other matters, these actions have required or strongly urged various venues where foodservice products are served, including restaurants and hotels, to reduce or discontinue operations, which has and will continue to adversely affect demand in the foodservice industry, including demand for our products and services. In addition, the perceived risk of infection and health risk associated with the Pandemic, and the illness of many individuals across the globe, is resulting in many of the same effects intended by such governmental authorities to stop the spread of the Pandemic. These events have had, and could continue to have, an adverse impact on numerous aspects of our business, financial condition and results of operations including, but not limited to, our growth, product costs, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, logistics constraints, customer demand for our products and industry demand generally, consumer spending, our liquidity, the price of our securities and trading markets with respect thereto, our ability to access capital markets, and the global economy and financial markets generally. The Pandemic may also have exacerbated many of the other risks described in this section or may have the potential to do so in the future. The extent to which the Pandemic impacts our financial condition or results of operations is uncertain and will depend on future developments including new information that may emerge on the severity or transmissibility of the disease, the extent of the outbreak, federal, state and local government responses, trends in infection rates, development of effective medical treatments for the disease, the timing and effectiveness of vaccine distribution, and future consumer spending behavior, among others.


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Because our foodservice distribution operations are concentrated in certain culinary markets, we are susceptible to economic and other developments, including adverse weather conditions, in these areas.

Our financial condition and results of operations are highly dependent upon the local economies of the culinary markets in which we distribute our products. In recent years, certain of these markets have been more resilient to economic downturns than others. Moreover, sales in our New York market, which we define as our operations on the East Coast of the United States spanning from Boston to Atlantic City, accounted for approximately 19.1% of our net sales in our 2020 fiscal year. We are therefore particularly exposed to downturns in this regional economy. Following our acquisition of Del Monte and Bassian, we now have significant operations in the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles, California. Deterioration in the economic conditions of our key markets generally, or in the local economy of the New York metropolitan area, San Francisco Bay or Los Angeles, California areas, specifically, could affect our business, financial condition or results of operations in a materially adverse manner.

In addition, given our geographic concentrations, other regional occurrences such as adverse weather conditions, terrorist attacks and other catastrophic events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. Adverse weather conditions can significantly impact the business of our customers and our ability to profitably and efficiently conduct our operations and, in severe cases, could result in our trucks being unable to make deliveries or cause the temporary closure or the destruction of one or more of our distribution centers. Our operations and/or distribution centers which are located in (i) New York City, Ohio, Washington D.C., Chicago and Canada are particularly susceptible to significant amounts of snowfall and ice, (ii) Miami and Orlando are particularly susceptible to hurricanes and (iii) Los Angeles and San Francisco are particularly susceptible to earthquakes, mudslides and wildfires. In addition, our restaurant customers, many of which are independently owned with operations limited to one or two markets, may be less able to withstand the impact on their business from adverse weather conditions than national chain restaurants because they are unable to spread the risks of such events across numerous locations. In some cases, these customers may not be able to re-open their restaurants, and consequently make payment to us for products previously provided, if the weather event or other catastrophic event is severe, particularly if they lacked sufficient insurance or their insurance claims are not processed quickly.

Due to their prominence as, among other characteristics, densely-populated major metropolitan cities and as international hubs for intermodal transportation, a majority of our markets are known as targets for terrorist activity and other catastrophic events. If our or our customers’ operations are significantly disrupted or if any one or more of our distribution centers is temporarily closed or destroyed for any of the foregoing reasons, our business, financial condition or results of operations may be materially adversely affected. In anticipation of any such adverse weather conditions, terrorist attacks, man-made disasters or other unforeseen regional occurrences, we have implemented a disaster recovery plan. Should any of these events occur, and if we are unable to execute our disaster recovery plan, we may experience challenges in acquiring and distributing our products, failures or delays in the recovery of critical data, delayed reporting and compliance with governmental entities, inability to perform necessary corporate functions and other breakdowns in normal operating procedures that could have a material adverse effect on our business and create exposure to administrative and other legal claims against us.

Information Technology, Intellectual Property and Data Risk

Information technology system failures, cybersecurity incidents or other disruptions to our use of technology and networks could interrupt our operations and adversely affect our business.

We rely upon information technology solutions including enterprise networks and software to process, transmit and store data related to virtually all our business processes and activities. Our business involves the storage and transmission of many types of sensitive or confidential information, including customers’ and suppliers’ personal information, private information about employees, and financial and strategic information about us and our operations. We leverage a suite of integrated hardware and software that relies on the availability of private and public networks to facilitate collaboration among all stakeholders. Likewise, we use mobile networks, web social media and other online applications to conduct business with suppliers and customers. Our operations depend upon our ability to protect our computer equipment and systems against damage from physical theft, fire, power loss, telecommunications failure or other catastrophic events, as well as from internal and external cybersecurity breaches, viruses, worms and other disruptive problems. We are continuously improving our information technology solutions, resulting in a larger technological presence and corresponding increase in exposure to cybersecurity risk. Any damage or failure of our computer systems or network infrastructure that causes an interruption in our operations, due to theft, destruction, loss, misappropriation, or release of confidential information or intellectual property, or interference with our information technology systems or the technology systems of third parties on which we rely, could result in business disruption, negative publicity, brand damage, violation of privacy laws, loss of customers, potential liability, remediation costs, and competitive disadvantage, which in turn could adversely affect our business and results of operations. While we have implemented cybersecurity solutions, conducted employee awareness campaigns, employed both internal resources and external
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consultants to conduct auditing and testing for weaknesses in our systems, controls, firewalls and encryption and intend to maintain and upgrade our security technology and operational procedures to prevent such damage, breaches or other disruptive problems, we cannot assure investors that these security measures will either continue or be successful.

Our investments in information technology may not produce the benefits that we anticipate.

In an attempt to reduce our operating expenses, increase our operational efficiencies, boost our operating margins and more closely track the movement of our inventory in our center-of-the-plate category, we have aggressively invested in the development and implementation of new information technology. We may not be able to implement these technological changes in the time frame we have planned, and any delays in implementation could negatively impact our business, financial condition or results of operations. In addition, the costs to make these changes may exceed our estimates and will likely exceed any benefits that we realize during the early stages of implementation. Even if we are able to implement the changes as planned, and within our cost estimates, we may not be able achieve the expected efficiencies, cost savings and operational enhancements from these investments which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property, which, in turn, could harm the value of our brands and adversely affect our business.

Our ability to implement our business plan successfully depends in part upon our ability to further build brand recognition, including for our proprietary products, using our trademarks, service marks and other proprietary intellectual property, including our names and logos. We have registered or applied to register a number of our trademarks. We cannot assure investors that our trademark applications will be approved. Third parties may also oppose our trademark applications, or otherwise challenge our use of the trademarks. In the event that our trademarks are successfully challenged, we could be forced to rebrand our goods and services, which could result in loss of brand recognition and could require us to devote resources to advertising and marketing new brands. If our efforts to register, maintain and protect our intellectual property are inadequate, or if any third party misappropriates, dilutes or infringes upon our intellectual property, the value of our brands may be harmed, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations and might prevent our brands from achieving or maintaining market acceptance.

We may also face the risk of claims that we have infringed third parties’ intellectual property rights. If third parties claim that we have infringed or are infringing upon their intellectual property rights, our operating profits could be affected in a materially adverse manner. Any claims of intellectual property infringement, even those without merit, could be expensive and time consuming to defend, require us to rebrand our services, if feasible, divert management’s attention and resources or require us to enter into royalty or licensing agreements in order to obtain the right to use a third party’s intellectual property. Any royalty or licensing agreements, if required, may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. A successful claim of infringement against us could result in our being required to pay significant damages, enter into costly license or royalty agreements, or stop the sale of certain products or services, any of which could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations and could harm our future prospects.

Legal and Regulatory Risk

Product liability claims could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Like any other distributor of food products, we face an inherent risk of exposure to product liability claims if the products we sell cause injury or illness. We may be subject to liability, which could be substantial, because of actual or alleged contamination in products sold by us, including products sold by companies before we acquired them. We have, and the companies we have acquired have had, liability insurance with respect to product liability claims. This insurance may not continue to be available at a reasonable cost or at all, and it may not be adequate to cover product liability claims against us or against any of the companies we have acquired. We generally seek contractual indemnification from manufacturers or suppliers of the product, but any such indemnification is limited, as a practical matter, to the creditworthiness of the indemnifying party. If we or any of our acquired companies do not have adequate insurance or contractual indemnification available, product liability claims and costs associated with product recalls, including a loss of business, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We are subject to significant governmental regulation, and failure to comply could subject us to enforcement actions, recalls or other penalties, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Our business is highly regulated at the federal, state and local levels, and our specialty food products, meat, poultry and seafood products and distribution operations require various licenses, permits and approvals. For example:
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the products we distribute in the United States are subject to regulation and inspection by the FDA and the USDA, and the products we distribute in Canada are subject to regulation by Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency;
our warehouse, distribution facilities, repackaging activities and other operations also are subject to regulation and inspection, as applicable, by the FDA, the USDA, Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and state and provincial health authorities; and
our U.S. and Canadian trucking operations are subject to regulation by, as applicable, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, Transport Canada, the Surface Transportation Board and provincial transportation authorities.

Our suppliers are also subject to similar regulatory requirements and oversight. The failure to comply with applicable regulatory requirements could result in civil or criminal fines or penalties, product recalls, closure of facilities or operations, the loss or revocation of any existing licenses, permits or approvals or the failure to obtain additional licenses, permits or approvals in new jurisdictions where we intend to do business, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

In addition, as a distributor and repackager of specialty food products and meat, poultry and seafood products, we are subject to increasing governmental scrutiny of and public awareness regarding food safety and the manufacture, sale, packaging, storage and marketing of natural, organic and other food products. Compliance with these laws may impose a significant burden upon our operations. If we were to distribute foods that are or are perceived to be contaminated, or otherwise not in compliance with applicable laws, any resulting product recalls could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. We cannot assure investors in our common stock that these actions will not adversely impact us or others in our industry further, including suppliers of the products we sell, many of whom are small-scale producers who may be unable or unwilling to bear the expected increases in costs of compliance and as a result cease operations or seek to pass along these costs to us.

Additionally, concern over climate change, including the impact of global warming, has led to significant U.S. and international legislative and regulatory efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Increased regulation regarding green house gas emissions, especially diesel engine emissions, could impose substantial costs upon us. These costs include an increase in the cost of the fuel and other energy we purchase and capital costs associated with updating or replacing our vehicles prematurely.

Until the timing, scope and extent of such regulation becomes known, we cannot predict its effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. It is reasonably possible, however, that such regulation could impose material costs on us that we may be unable to pass on to our customers.

Federal, state, provincial and local tax rules in the United States and Canada may adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We are subject to federal, state and local taxes in the United States, as well as federal, provincial and local taxes in Canada. Although we believe that our tax estimates are reasonable, if the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) or any other taxing authority disagrees with the positions we have taken on our tax returns, we could face additional tax liability, including interest and penalties. If material, payment of such additional amounts upon final adjudication of any disputes could have a material impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Complying with new tax rules, laws or regulations could impact our business, financial condition or results of operations, and increases to federal, provincial or state statutory tax rates and other changes in tax laws, rules or regulations may increase our effective tax rate. Any increase in our effective tax rate could have a material impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We estimate our ability to recover deferred tax assets within the jurisdiction from which they arise. A valuation allowance is recognized if, based on the available positive and negative evidence, it is more likely than not that some or all of a deferred tax asset is not recoverable. This evaluation considers several factors, including recent results of operations, future taxable income, scheduled reversal of deferred tax liabilities, and tax planning strategies. Our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely impacted if our valuation allowances increase due to an unfavorable change in our estimate of the recoverability of our deferred tax assets or changes in laws or regulations that limit our ability to recover them.


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Financial Risk

Our substantial indebtedness may limit our ability to invest in the ongoing needs of our business.

As of December 25, 2020, we had approximately $411.4 million of total indebtedness, consisting of $201.6 million of loans outstanding on our senior secured term loan facility (“Term Loan”), $154.0 million of convertible debt and $15.8 million of finance leases. We had $40.0 million borrowings outstanding under our asset-based loan facility (“ABL”). See Note 10 “Debt Obligations” to our consolidated financial statements for a full description of our debt instruments.

Our indebtedness could have important consequences for us and our investors. For example our indebtedness:

requires us to utilize a substantial portion of our cash flows from operations to make payments on our indebtedness, reducing the availability of our cash flows to fund working capital, capital expenditures, development activity and other general corporate purposes;
increases our vulnerability to adverse general economic or industry conditions;
limits our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business or the industries in which we operate;
makes us more vulnerable to increases in interest rates, as borrowings under our Term Loan and ABL (together the “Credit Facilities”) are at variable rates;
in the case of our convertible debt, could result in the issuance of additional shares of our common stock that would result in the dilution of our then-existing stockholders;
limits our ability to obtain additional financing in the future for working capital or other purposes, including to finance acquisitions; and
places us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors with less indebtedness.

If our earnings are insufficient to fund our operations, including our acquisition growth strategy, we will need to raise additional capital or issue additional debt, including longer-term, fixed-rate debt, to pay our indebtedness as it comes due or as our availability under our ABL is exhausted. If we are unable to obtain funds necessary to make required payments or if we fail to comply with the various requirements of our Credit Facilities and convertible debt agreements, we would be in default, which would permit the holders of our indebtedness to accelerate the maturity of the indebtedness and could cause defaults under any indebtedness we may incur in the future. Any default under our indebtedness requiring the repayment of outstanding borrowings would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. If we are unable to refinance or repay our indebtedness as it becomes due, we may become insolvent and be unable to continue operations.

Although the agreements governing the Credit Facilities contain restrictions on the incurrence of additional indebtedness, these restrictions are subject to a number of qualifications and exceptions, and the indebtedness incurred in compliance with these restrictions could be substantial. Also, these restrictions do not prevent us from incurring obligations that do not constitute indebtedness.

The agreements governing the Credit Facilities require us to maintain fixed charge coverage ratios and leverage ratios. Our ability to comply with these ratios in the future may be affected by events beyond our control, and our inability to comply with the required financial ratios could result in a default under the Credit Facilities. In the event of events of default, the lenders under the Credit Facilities could elect to terminate lending commitments and declare all borrowings outstanding, together with accrued and unpaid interest and other fees, to be immediately due and payable. See “Management’s Discussion and Financial Condition and Results of OperationsLiquidity and Capital Resources.”

Our ability to raise capital in the future may be limited.

Our business and operations may consume resources, including availability under our ABL, faster than we currently anticipate. In the future, we may need to raise additional funds through the issuance of new equity securities, debt, including longer-term, fixed-rate debt, or a combination of both. Additional financing may not be available on favorable terms or at all. If adequate funds are not available on acceptable terms, we may be unable to fund our capital requirements or grow our business through acquisitions, or otherwise. If we issue new debt securities, the debt holders may have rights senior to those of our common stockholders to make claims on our assets, and the terms of any debt could restrict our operations, including our ability to pay dividends on our common stock. If we issue additional equity securities or convertible debt, existing stockholders will experience dilution, and the new equity securities could have rights senior to those of our common stock. Because our decision to issue securities in any future offering will depend upon market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing or nature of our future offerings. Thus, our stockholders bear the risk of our future securities offerings reducing the market price of our common stock and diluting their interest.

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We may be unable to obtain debt or other financing, including financing necessary to execute on our acquisition strategy, on favorable terms or at all.

There are inherent risks in our ability to borrow debt capital. Lenders, including those participating in the Credit Facilities, may become insolvent or tighten their lending standards, which could make it more difficult for us to borrow under our ABL, refinance our existing indebtedness or obtain other financing on favorable terms or at all. Our access to funds under the Credit Facilities is dependent upon the ability of our lenders to meet their funding commitments. Our financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected in a material manner if we were unable to draw funds under the ABL because of a lender default or if we had to obtain other cost-effective financing. Longer term disruptions in the capital and credit markets as a result of uncertainty, changing or increased regulation, reduced alternatives or failures of significant financial institutions could adversely affect our access to liquidity needed for our business. Any disruption could require us to take measures to conserve cash until the markets stabilize or until alternative credit arrangements or other funding for our business can be arranged. Such measures could include deferring capital expenditures (including our entry into new markets, including through acquisitions) and reducing or eliminating other discretionary uses of cash.

Changes in the method of determining London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), or the replacement of LIBOR with an alternative rate, may adversely affect interest charged on our outstanding debt.

A portion of the interest rate charged on our Term Loan is currently based on LIBOR and, at our option, a component of the interest charged on the borrowings outstanding on our ABL, if any, may bear interest rates based on LIBOR. On July 27, 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K. announced that it would phase out LIBOR by the end of 2021. On November 30, 2020, the ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (“ICE”) announced plans to delay the phase out of LIBOR to June 30, 2023. The U.S. Federal Reserve is considering replacing U.S. dollar LIBOR with a newly created index called the Secured Overnight Funding Rate (“SOFR”), a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities. If LIBOR ceases to exist, we may need to renegotiate the Credit Facilities and may not be able to do so with terms that are favorable to us. The overall financing market may be disrupted as a result of the phase-out or replacement of LIBOR with SOFR or any other reference rate. Disruption in the financial market or the inability to renegotiate the Credit Facilities with favorable terms could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Risks Relating to Ownership of our Common Stock

The price of our common stock may be volatile and our stockholders could lose all or part of their investment.

Volatility in the market price of our common stock may prevent our stockholders from being able to sell their shares at or above the price the stockholders paid for their shares. The market price of our common stock could fluctuate significantly for various reasons, which include the following:

our quarterly or annual earnings or those of other companies in our industry;
changes in laws or regulations, or new interpretations or applications of laws and regulations, that are applicable to our business;
the public’s reaction to our press releases, our other public announcements and our filings with the SEC;
changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretations or principles;
additions or departures of our senior management personnel;
sales of common stock by our directors and executive officers;
adverse market reaction to any indebtedness we may incur or securities we may issue in the future;
actions by stockholders;
the level and quality of research analyst coverage for our common stock, changes in financial estimates or investment recommendations by securities analysts following our business or failure to meet such estimates;
the financial disclosure we may provide to the public, any changes in such disclosure or our failure to meet projections included in our public disclosure;
various market factors or perceived market factors, including rumors, whether or not correct, involving us, our customers, our distributors or suppliers or our competitors;
introductions of new products or new pricing policies by us or by our competitors;
acquisitions or strategic alliances by us or our competitors;
short sales, hedging and other derivative transactions in our common stock;
the operating and stock price performance of other companies that investors may deem comparable to us; and
other events or factors, including changes in general conditions in the United States and global economies or financial markets (including those resulting from acts of God, war, incidents of terrorism, global pandemics or responses to such events).
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Concentration of ownership among our existing executive officers, directors and their affiliates may prevent new investors from influencing significant corporate decisions.

As of February 16, 2021, our executive officers, directors and their affiliates beneficially owned, in the aggregate, approximately 13.8% of our outstanding shares of common stock. In particular, Christopher Pappas, our president and chief executive officer, and John Pappas, our vice chairman, beneficially owned approximately 12.4% of our outstanding shares of common stock as of February 16, 2021. As a result of their significant individual ownership levels, these stockholders will be able to exercise a significant level of control over all matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of directors, amendment of our certificate of incorporation and approval of significant corporate transactions. This control could have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control of our company or changes in management and will make the approval of certain transactions difficult or impossible without the support of these stockholders.

If securities analysts or industry analysts downgrade our stock, publish negative research or reports or do not publish reports about our business, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our common stock will be influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us, our business and our industry. If one or more analysts adversely change their recommendation regarding our stock or our competitors’ stock, our stock price may likely decline. If one or more analysts cease coverage of us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.

We do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future and our stock may not appreciate in value.

We currently intend to retain our future earnings, if any, to finance the operation and growth of our business and do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. As a result, the success of an investment in shares of our common stock will depend upon any future appreciation in its value. There is no guarantee that shares of our common stock will appreciate in value or that the price at which our stockholders have purchased their shares will be able to be maintained.

Our issuance of preferred stock or debt securities could adversely affect holders of our common stock and discourage a takeover.

Our board of directors is authorized to issue up to five shares of preferred stock without any action on the part of our stockholders. Our board of directors also has the power, without stockholder approval, to set the terms of any series of preferred stock that may be issued, including voting rights, dividend rights, preferences over our common stock with respect to dividends or in the event of a dissolution, liquidation or winding up and other terms. In the event that we issue preferred stock in the future that has preference over our common stock with respect to payment of dividends or upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, or if we issue preferred stock with voting rights that dilute the voting power of our common stock, the rights of the holders of our common stock or the market price of our common stock could be adversely affected. In addition, the ability of our board of directors to issue shares of preferred stock without any action on the part of our stockholders may impede a takeover of us and prevent a transaction favorable to our stockholders.

Additionally, in the future, we may need to raise additional funds or pay all, or a portion, of the acquisition price for a business we acquire through the issuance of new debt, including longer-term, fixed-rate debt. If we issue new debt securities, the debt holders may have rights senior to those of our common stockholders to make claims on our assets, and the terms of any debt could restrict our operations, including our ability to pay dividends on our common stock.

Some provisions of our charter documents and Delaware law may have anti-takeover effects that could discourage an acquisition of us by others, even if an acquisition would be beneficial to our stockholders, and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.

Provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws as well as provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire us or increase the cost of acquiring us, even if doing so would benefit our stockholders, including transactions in which stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares. These provisions include:

authorizing the issuance of “blank check” preferred stock, the terms of which may be established and shares of which may be issued without stockholder approval;
prohibiting stockholder action by written consent, thereby requiring all stockholder actions to be taken at a meeting of our stockholders;
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eliminating the ability of stockholders to call a special meeting of stockholders; and
establishing advance notice requirements for nominations for election to the board of directors or for proposing matters that can be acted upon at stockholder meetings.

Item 1B.    UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

Item 2.    PROPERTIES

We operate 36 distributions centers located in the United States and Canada totaling approximately 2.2 million square feet. We own two distribution facilities in Massachusetts with a combined 241,00 square feet, a 59,500 square foot distribution center in Cincinnati, Ohio and a 10,000 square foot protein processing facility and distribution center in Chicago, Illinois. All of our other properties are leased. The following table sets forth our distribution, protein processing, corporate and other support facilities by state or province and their approximate aggregate square footage as of February 10, 2021.
State / ProvinceNumber of FacilitiesAggregate Size
California10618,900 
Massachusetts3271,000 
Florida4262,400 
New York1231,100 
Texas3214,300 
Illinois3144,200 
Ohio2120,400 
Maryland3115,300 
Nevada174,000 
Oregon155,500 
Ontario151,300 
New Jersey138,400 
Connecticut (1)
129,200 
British Columbia124,900 
Alberta216,500 
Arizona114,500 
Washington10,500 
Total 39 2,292,400 
(1)Represents our corporate headquarters in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

We consider our properties to be in good condition generally and believe our facilities are adequate for our operations and provide sufficient capacity to meet our anticipated requirements.

Item 3.    LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

From time to time, we are subject to various legal proceedings that arise from the normal course of business activities. If an unfavorable ruling were to occur, there exists the possibility of a material adverse impact on our results of operations, prospects, cash flows, financial position and brand. We are not currently aware of any pending or threatened legal proceeding against us that could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results or financial condition.

Item 4.    MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.
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PART II

Item 5.    MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc. Common Stock

Our common stock is publicly traded under the symbol “CHEF” on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. As of February 16, 2021, there were 189 holders of record of our common stock. This does not include the number of persons whose stock is in nominee or “street” name accounts through brokers.

We have never paid a cash dividend on our common stock and do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, we are prohibited from paying cash dividends under the terms of our senior secured credit facilities without the consent of the lenders thereunder.

Performance Graph

The following graph compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock during the period from December 25, 2015 through December 25, 2020 with the cumulative total return on the NASDAQ Composite and the S&P Smallcap Food Distributor Index. The comparison assumes that $100 was invested on December 25, 2015 in our common stock and in each of the foregoing indices and assumes reinvestment of dividends, if any.

The following performance graph and related information shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the Securities and Exchange Commission, nor shall such information be incorporated by reference into any future filing under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, each as amended, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate such information by reference into such filing.

COMPARISON OF 5 YEAR CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURN
AMONG THE CHEFS’ WAREHOUSE, INC.
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX AND THE S&P SMALLCAP FOOD DISTRIBUTOR INDEX
ASSUMES $100 INVESTED ON DECEMBER 25, 2015

chef-20201225_g1.jpg
December 25, 2015December 30, 2016December 29, 2017December 28, 2018December 27, 2019December 25, 2020
The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc.$100.00 $90.96 $118.02 $180.37 $218.60 $137.54 
NASDAQ Composite Index$100.00 $106.63 $136.74 $130.43 $178.40 $253.63 
S&P Smallcap Food Distributor Index$100.00 $158.22 $108.25 $68.74 $64.37 $68.68 
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ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Total Number
of Shares
Repurchased(1)
Average
Price
Paid Per Share
Total
Number of Shares
Purchased as Part
of Publicly
Announced Plans
or Programs
Maximum
Number (or
Approximate
Dollar Value) of
Shares That May
Yet Be Purchased
Under the Plans
or Programs
September 26, 2020 to October 23, 2020— $— — — 
October 24, 2020 to November 20, 20201,333 16.02 — — 
November 21, 2020 to December 25, 202035,646 24.39 — — 
Total36,979 $24.09 — — 

(1)During the thirteen weeks ended December 25, 2020, we withheld 36,979 shares of our common stock to satisfy tax withholding requirements upon the vesting of restricted shares of our common stock awarded to certain of our officers and key employees.

Equity Compensation Plan Information

See Part III, Item 12 for information regarding securities authorized for issuance under our equity compensation plans.

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Item 6.    SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The selected consolidated financial data presented below as of the end of each of the fiscal years in the five-year period ended December 25, 2020 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements. The data set forth below is qualified by reference to, and should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and their notes and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our consolidated statement of operations for the fiscal year ended December 30, 2016 contained a 53rd week while all other years presented contained 52 weeks.

Consolidated Statement of Operations Data:

(Amounts presented in thousands, except for per share amounts)
For the Fiscal Years Ended
Statement of Operations Data:December 25, 2020 (1)December 27, 2019December 28, 2018December 29, 2017December 30, 2016
Net sales$1,111,631 $1,591,834 $1,444,609 $1,301,520 $1,192,866 
Cost of sales (2)
863,480 1,205,266 1,095,693 985,432 904,140 
Gross profit248,151 386,568 348,916 316,088 288,726 
Selling, general and administrative expenses (2)
336,394 329,542 298,102 275,254 251,025 
Other operating (income) expenses (2, 3)
14,417 6,359 2,225 (283)(9,607)
Operating (loss) income(102,660)50,667 48,589 41,117 47,308 
Interest expense (4)
20,946 18,264 20,745 22,709 41,632 
(Loss) income before income taxes(123,606)32,403 27,844 18,408 5,676 
Provision for income tax (benefit) expense (5)
(40,703)8,210 7,442 4,042 2,653 
Net (loss) income$(82,903)$24,193 $20,402 $14,366 $3,023 
Basic net (loss) income per share$(2.46)$0.82 $0.71 $0.55 $0.12 
Diluted net (loss) income per share$(2.46)$0.81 $0.70 $0.54 $0.12 
Weighted average common shares outstanding:     
Basic33,716 29,532 28,703 26,118 25,919 
Diluted33,716 30,073 29,679 27,425 26,030 
Balance Sheet Data (at end of period)     
Cash and cash equivalents$193,281 $140,233 $42,410 $41,504 $32,862 
Working capital (6, 7)
$287,560 $303,005 $203,193 $188,567 $157,117 
Total assets (6)
$974,325 $1,013,679 $732,398 $687,749 $633,538 
Long-term debt, net of current portion$398,084 $386,106 $278,169 $313,995 $317,725 
Total liabilities (6)
$629,735 $677,746 $423,722 $439,148 $439,778 
Total stockholders’ equity$344,590 $335,933 $308,676 $248,601 $193,760 
(1)Fiscal year 2020 results of operations were materially impacted by the Pandemic.
(2)Includes the impact of the reclassification of food processing costs from selling, general, and administrative expenses, to cost of sales and other reclassifications. Refer to the “Reclassifications” section of “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
(3)Fiscal year 2020 includes a $24,200 write-down related to Del Monte and Bassian trademarks and income of $11,479 related to the revaluation of several earn-out liabilities. Fiscal year 2016 includes income of $8,347 related to the revaluation of the Del Monte earn-out liabilities.
(4)Fiscal year 2016 includes the impact of our debt restructuring resulting in a loss on extinguishment of debt of $22,310.
(5)Fiscal year 2017 includes a tax benefit of $3,573 related to the enactment of H.R. 1, originally known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Act”). Among other changes to the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, the Tax Act reduced the U.S. federal corporate top tax rate from 35.0% to 21.0%.
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(6)Fiscal year 2019 and beyond includes the impact of recognizing operating lease right-of-use assets and liabilities as a result of our adoption of Accounting Standards Codification Topic 842, “Leases,” as of December 29, 2018.
(7)We define working capital as current assets less current liabilities.

Acquisitions Affecting Comparability of Operating Results

The Company has made several acquisitions throughout the five-year period ended December 25, 2020. For acquisitions affecting the comparability of the most recent three fiscal years, refer to the “Recent Significant Acquisitions” section of “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Acquisitions affecting comparability of the previous periods as described below:

On August 25, 2017, we entered into an asset purchase agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Fells Point, a specialty center-of-the-plate manufacturer and distributor based in the metro Baltimore and Washington DC area. The final purchase price for the transaction was approximately $34.1 million, including $29.7 million paid in cash at closing, $3.3 million consisting of 185,442 shares of our common stock and $1.1 million paid upon settlement of a net working capital true-up. We are also required to pay additional contingent consideration, if earned, in the form of an earn-out amount which could total approximately $12.0 million. The payment of the earn-out liability is subject to the successful achievement of annual Adjusted EBITDA targets for the Fells Point business over a period of four years following closing. We paid $3.0 million during both fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019 to the former owners of Fells Point related to the successful attainment of the targeted EBITDA in the first two years of their earn-out agreement.

On June 27, 2016, we acquired substantially all of the assets of MT Food, based in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in the mid-1990’s, MT Food was a wholesale distributor of dairy, produce, specialty and grocery items in the metro Chicago area. The purchase price for the transaction was $21.5 million, of which, $21.0 million was paid in cash at closing with an additional $0.5 million payable eighteen months after the closing date. During the second quarter of fiscal 2017, we paid an earn-out of $0.5 million to the former owners.
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Item 7.    MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with information included in Item 8 of this report. Unless otherwise indicated, the terms “Company”, “Chefs’ Warehouse”, “we”, “us”, and “our” refer to The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc. and its subsidiaries.

Overview and Recent Developments

Overview

We are a premier distributor of specialty foods in nine of the leading culinary markets in the United States. We offer more than 50,000 SKUs, ranging from high-quality specialty foods and ingredients to basic ingredients and staples, produce and center-of-the-plate proteins. We serve more than 34,000 customer locations, primarily located in our sixteen geographic markets across the United States and Canada, and the majority of our customers are independent restaurants and fine dining establishments. Our Allen Brothers subsidiary sells certain of our center-of-the-plate products directly to consumers. We expanded our direct-to-consumer product offerings in fiscal 2020 by launching our “Shop Like a Chef” online home delivery platform in several of the markets we serve.

We believe several key differentiating factors of our business model have enabled us to execute our strategy consistently and profitably across our expanding customer base. These factors consist of a portfolio of distinctive and hard-to-find specialty food products, an extensive selection of center-of-the-plate proteins, a highly trained and motivated sales force, strong sourcing capabilities, a fully integrated warehouse management system, a highly sophisticated distribution and logistics platform and a focused, seasoned management team.

In recent years, our sales to existing and new customers have increased through the continued growth in demand for specialty food and center-of-the-plate products in general; increased market share driven by our large percentage of sophisticated and experienced sales professionals, our high-quality customer service and our extensive breadth and depth of product offerings, including, as a result of our acquisitions; the expansion of our existing distribution centers; our entry into new distribution centers, including the construction of new distribution centers in San Francisco, Toronto, Dallas, Los Angeles and Miami; and the import and sale of our proprietary brands. Through these efforts, we believe that we have been able to expand our customer base, enhance and diversify our product selections, broaden our geographic penetration and increase our market share.

Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on our Business and Operations

The COVID-19 pandemic (“Pandemic”) has had a material impact on our business and operations and those of our customers. In an effort to limit the spread of the virus, federal, state and local governments began implementing various restrictions beginning in late March that resulted in the closure of non-essential businesses in many of the markets we serve, which forced our customers in those markets to either transition their establishments to take-out service, delivery service or temporarily cease operations. State and local governments began to ease these restrictions in mid-May, however, restrictions in certain of our key markets were not eased until early June. As of December 25, 2020, the majority of state and local governments with jurisdiction over markets in which the Company operates allow the Company’s customers to operate outdoor dining and indoor dining service while adhering to specified social distancing and capacity restrictions. The duration and extent of restrictions imposed on our customers by federal, state and local governments is dependent on future developments regarding the Pandemic, including new information about the severity of the disease, trends in infection rates, and development of effective medical treatments for the disease, among others.

The adverse impact of the Pandemic on our customers during the fifty-two weeks ended December 25, 2020 resulted in a $616.7 million decline in our organic sales compared to the prior year. Due to the Pandemic, we incurred estimated non-cash charges of $15.8 million related to incremental bad debt expense and approximately $14.6 million related to estimated inventory obsolescence during the fifty-two weeks ended December 25, 2020.

Our management team is responding rapidly to the changing landscape and pursuing alternate sources of revenue to mitigate the extent of sales declines in our core customer base. Our sales force is working closely with our core customers and developing solutions to help them fulfill the demand in their communities while complying with health and safety restrictions. We are actively entering into new business relationships which include retail food outlets as they have experienced increases in consumer demand and shortages in their traditional supply chains due to the Pandemic. As we develop these new sales channels, we are negotiating favorable credit terms given the nature of the underlying customer base and the current market
34


environment. In addition, our purchasing teams have worked diligently to shift our product purchases to SKUs that are in high demand. Thus far, we have not experienced difficulties in procuring products from our suppliers.

In response to the Pandemic, we expanded our direct-to-consumer product offerings by launching our “Shop Like a Chef” online home delivery platform in several of the markets we serve. We now offer products directly to consumers through both our Allen Brothers and “Shop Like a Chef” online platforms.

We have implemented cost control measures during this time of demand volatility. Our variable cost structure naturally decreases as our sales decrease, however, we are also reducing our fixed cost structure. Among other actions, we have postponed planned capital expenditures, returned certain equipment on short-term rental agreements, and reduced compensation expense through salary reductions, furloughs and lay-offs as we right-size our organization to current levels of demand.

Management determined the Pandemic’s adverse impact on our operations and our market capitalization were triggering events that required us to test goodwill and long-lived assets for impairment as of March 27, 2020. No impairments were identified as a result of these tests. Although there were no additional triggering events during the remainder of fiscal 2020, the impacts of the Pandemic on our business are uncertain and will depend on future developments, and as such, it is possible that another triggering event could occur that under certain circumstances could cause us to recognize an impairment charge in the future.

We closed the fiscal year with total cash and cash equivalents of $193.3 million, and approximately $50.3 million of remaining availability under our asset-based loan facility as of December 25, 2020.

The future impact of the Pandemic on our business, operations and liquidity is difficult to predict at this time and is highly dependent on future developments including new information that may emerge on the severity of the disease, the extent of the outbreak, federal, state and local government responses, trends in infection rates, development of effective medical treatments for the disease, and future consumer spending behavior, among others.

Recent Significant Acquisitions

On February 3, 2020, we entered into an asset purchase agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Cambridge Packing Co, Inc. (“Cambridge”), a specialty center-of-the-plate producer and distributor in New England. The cash purchase price was approximately $16.4 million, inclusive of a $0.6 million working capital true-up. We are required to pay additional contingent consideration, if earned, of up to $3.0 million over a two-year period upon successful attainment of certain gross profit targets.

On January 27, 2020, we entered into an asset purchase agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets, including certain real-estate assets, of Sid Wainer & Son (“Sid Wainer”), a specialty food and produce distributor in New England. The cash purchase price was approximately $44.1 million, inclusive of a $2.4 million working capital true-up. We are required to pay additional contingent consideration, if earned, of up to $4.0 million over a two-year period upon successful attainment of certain gross profit targets.

On February 25, 2019, pursuant to an asset purchase agreement, we acquired substantially all of the assets of Bassian Farms, Inc. and related entities (“Bassian”), a specialty center-of-the-plate distributor based in northern California. The aggregate purchase price for the transaction was approximately $31.8 million, consisting of $28.0 million in cash paid at closing and the issuance of a $4.0 million unsecured convertible note, partially offset by the settlement of a net working capital true-up. We are also required to pay additional contingent consideration, if earned, which could total $9.0 million over a four-year period. The payment of the earn-out liability is subject to the successful achievement of certain gross profit targets.

Transition of Trademarks

During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, we committed to a plan to shift our brand strategy to leverage our Allen Brothers brand in our west coast region and determined that our Del Monte, Ports Seafood and Bassian Farms trademarks did not fit our long-term strategic objectives. This brand transition is planned to begin in the second quarter of fiscal 2021. As a result, we recorded a $24.2 million impairment charge, $17.5 million net of tax, to write-down the value of our Del Monte and Bassian Farms trademarks.

Our Growth Strategies and Outlook

We continue to invest in our people, facilities and technology in an effort to achieve the following objectives and maintain our premier position within the specialty foodservice distribution market:
35



sales and service territory expansion;
operational excellence and high customer service levels;
expanded purchasing programs and improved buying power;
product innovation and new product category introduction;
operational efficiencies through system enhancements; and
operating expense reduction through the centralization of general and administrative functions.

Our growth has allowed us to improve upon our organization’s infrastructure, open new distribution facilities and pursue selective acquisitions. Over the last several years, we have increased our distribution capacity to approximately 2.2 million square feet in 36 distribution facilities as of February 10, 2021. From fiscal 2018 through the end of fiscal 2020, we have invested significantly in acquisitions, infrastructure and management.

Key Factors Affecting Our Performance

Due to our focus on menu-driven independent restaurants, fine dining establishments, country clubs, hotels, caterers, culinary schools, bakeries, patisseries, chocolateries, cruise lines, casinos and specialty food stores, our results of operations are materially impacted by the success of the food-away-from-home industry in the United States and Canada, which is materially impacted by general economic conditions, weather, discretionary spending levels and consumer confidence. When economic conditions deteriorate, our customers’ businesses are negatively impacted as fewer people eat away-from-home and those who do spend less money. As economic conditions begin to improve, our customers’ businesses historically have likewise improved, which contributes to improvements in our business. Similarly, the direct-to-consumer business of our Allen Brothers subsidiary is significantly dependent on consumers’ discretionary spending habits, and weakness or uncertainty in the economy could lead to consumers buying less from Allen Brothers.

Volatile food costs may have a direct impact upon our profitability. Prolonged periods of product cost inflation may have a negative impact on our profit margins and results of operations to the extent we are unable to pass on all or a portion of such product cost increases to our customers. In addition, product cost inflation may negatively impact consumer discretionary spending decisions within our customers’ establishments, which could adversely impact our sales. Conversely, our profit levels may be negatively impacted during periods of product cost deflation even though our gross profit as a percentage of sales may remain relatively constant. However, some of our products, particularly certain of our center-of-the-plate protein items, are priced on a “cost plus” markup, which helps mitigate the negative impact of deflation.

Given our wide selection of product categories, as well as the continuous introduction of new products, we can experience shifts in product sales mix that have an impact on net sales and gross profit margins. This mix shift is most significantly impacted by the introduction of new categories of products in markets that we have more recently entered, the shift in product mix resulting from acquisitions, as well as the continued growth in item penetration on higher velocity items such as dairy products.

The foodservice distribution industry is fragmented but consolidating, and we have supplemented our internal growth through selective strategic acquisitions. We believe that the consolidation trends in the foodservice distribution industry will continue to present acquisition opportunities for us, which may allow us to grow our business at a faster pace than we would otherwise be able to grow the business organically.

Performance Indicators

In addition to evaluating our income from operations, our management team analyzes our performance based on net sales growth, gross profit and gross profit margin.

Net sales growth. Our net sales growth is driven principally by changes in volume and, to a lesser degree, changes in price related to the impact of inflation in commodity prices and product mix. In particular, product cost inflation and deflation impacts our results of operations and, depending on the amount of inflation or deflation, such impact may be material. For example, inflation may increase the dollar value of our sales, and deflation may cause the dollar value of our sales to fall despite our unit sales remaining constant or growing.
Gross profit and gross profit margin. Our gross profit and gross profit as a percentage of net sales, or gross profit margin, are driven principally by changes in volume and fluctuations in food and commodity prices and our ability to pass on any price increases to our customers in an inflationary environment and maintain or increase gross profit margin when our costs decline. Our gross profit margin is also a function of the product mix of our net sales in any period. Given our wide selection of product categories, as well as the continuous introduction of new products, we can experience
36


shifts in product sales mix that have an impact on net sales and gross profit margins. This mix shift is most significantly impacted by the introduction of new categories of products in markets that we have more recently entered, impact of product mix from acquisitions, as well as the continued growth in item penetration on higher velocity items such as dairy products.

Key Financial Definitions

Net sales: Net sales consist primarily of sales of specialty products, center-of-the-plate proteins and other food products to independently-owned restaurants and other high-end foodservice customers, which we report net of certain group discounts and customer sales incentives. Net sales also include direct-to-consumer sales on our e-commerce platforms.
Cost of sales: Cost of sales include the net purchase price paid for products sold, plus the cost of transportation necessary to bring the product to our distribution facilities and food processing costs. Food processing costs include, but are not limited, to direct labor and benefits, applicable overhead and depreciation of equipment and facilities used in food processing activities. Our cost of sales may not be comparable to other similar companies within our industry.
Selling, general and administrative expenses: Selling, general and administrative expenses include facilities costs, product shipping and handling costs, warehouse costs, and other selling, general and administrative costs.
Other operating expenses: Other operating expenses includes expenses primarily related to changes in the fair value of the Company’s earn-out liabilities, gains and losses on asset disposals, asset impairments and certain third-party deal costs incurred in connection with business acquisitions or financing arrangements.
Interest expense: Interest and other expense consists primarily of interest on our outstanding indebtedness and, as applicable, the amortization or write-off of deferred financing fees.

Reclassifications

In response to a comment letter from the staff of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, we have reclassified our food processing costs, previously included in operating expenses, to cost of sales and have split our historical presentation of operating expenses between selling, general and administrative expenses and other operating expenses. These reclassifications have no impact on the Company’s operating income, net income or cash flows. Furthermore, management has reclassified gain/loss from asset disposal, which was previously presented as a non-operating expense, to other operating expenses. See Note 2 “Reclassifications” to our consolidated financial statements for a full description of these reclassifications.

Results of Operations
Fiscal Years Ended
December 25, 2020December 27, 2019December 28, 2018
Net sales$1,111,631 $1,591,834 $1,444,609 
Cost of sales863,480 1,205,266 1,095,693 
Gross profit248,151 386,568 348,916 
Selling, general and administrative expenses336,394 329,542 298,102 
Other operating expenses14,417 6,359 2,225 
Operating (loss) income(102,660)50,667 48,589 
Interest expense20,946 18,264 20,745 
(Loss) income before income taxes(123,606)32,403 27,844 
Provision for income tax (benefit) expense(40,703)8,210 7,442 
Net (loss) income$(82,903)$24,193 $20,402 











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Fiscal Year Ended December 25, 2020 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended December 27, 2019

Net Sales
20202019$ Change% Change
Net sales$1,111,631 $1,591,834 $(480,203)(30.2)%

Sales growth from acquisitions contributed $136.5 million, or 8.6%, to sales growth. Organic sales declined $616.7 million, or 38.8%, versus the prior year primarily due to impacts of the Pandemic. Organic case count declined approximately 43.5% in our specialty category. In addition, specialty unique customers and placements declined 30.4% and 43.6%, respectively, compared to the prior year. Pounds sold in our center-of-the-plate category decreased 38.0% compared to the prior year. Estimated deflation was 0.3% in our specialty category and inflation of 3.5% in our center-of-the-plate category compared to fiscal 2019.
                                        
Gross Profit
20202019$ Change% Change
Gross profit$248,151 $386,568 $(138,417)(35.8)%
Gross profit margin22.3 %24.3 %

Gross profit decreased primarily due to decreased sales volumes. Gross profit margin decreased approximately 196 basis points. Gross profit margins decreased 441 basis points in the Company’s specialty category and increased 117 basis points in the Company’s center-of-the-plate category compared to the prior year period. Our gross profit results include a charge of approximately $14.6 million related to estimated inventory losses from obsolescence due to the Pandemic’s impact on our customers’ purchasing behavior.

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
20202019$ Change% Change
Selling, general and administrative expenses336,394 329,542 6,852 2.1 %
Percentage of net sales30.3 %20.7 %

The increase in selling, general and administrative expense relates primarily to our recent acquisitions and an estimated non-cash charge of approximately $15.8 million to bad debt expense incurred during the first quarter of fiscal 2020 at the onset of the Pandemic, partially offset by cost measures implemented during the year in response to the Pandemic’s adverse impact on demand for our products. Our ratio of selling, general and administrative expenses to net sales was higher as a result of the Pandemic’s adverse impacts on our sales growth and a 161 basis point increase in non-cash charges related to bad debt expense.

Other Operating Expenses
20202019$ Change% Change
Other operating expenses14,417 6,359 8,058 126.7 %

The increase in other operating expenses relates primarily to a $24.2 million impairment charge on Del Monte and Bassian trademarks and non-cash credits of $11.5 million for changes in the fair value of our contingent earn-out liabilities compared to non-cash charges of $5.9 million in the prior year period.

Interest Expense
20202019$ Change% Change
Interest expense20,946 18,264 $2,682 14.7 %

Interest and other expense increased primarily due to $1.2 million in one-time third-party costs incurred during the second quarter of 2020 in connection with the extension of a majority of our senior secured term loans and the full year impact of interest charged on our Convertible Senior Notes issued on November 22, 2019.


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Provision for Income Taxes
20202019$ Change% Change
Provision for taxes(40,703)8,210 $(48,913)(595.8)%
Effective tax rate32.9 %25.3 %

The higher effective tax rate is primarily related to our net loss for fiscal 2020 which allows us to claim tax refunds against taxes paid in fiscal 2015 and 2017, both of which were at statutory tax rates of 35%.

Fiscal Year Ended December 27, 2019 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended December 28, 2018

Net Sales
20192018$ Change% Change
Net sales$1,591,834 $1,444,609 $147,225 10.2 %

Organic growth contributed $65.0 million, or 4.5%, to sales growth in the year. The remaining sales growth of $82.2 million, or 5.7%, resulted from acquisitions. Organic case count grew approximately 5.2% in our specialty category. In addition, growth in specialty unique customers and placements grew 4.5% and 3.0%, respectively, compared to the prior year. Pounds sold in our center-of-the-plate category increased 0.7% compared to the prior year. Estimated inflation was 2.4% in our specialty category and 2.6% in our center-of-the-plate category compared to fiscal 2018.

Gross Profit
20192018$ Change% Change
Gross profit386,568 348,916 $37,652 10.8 %
Gross profit margin24.3 %24.2 %

Gross profit increased primarily due to increased sales volumes. Gross profit margin increased approximately 13 basis points. Gross profit margins increased 19 basis points in the Company’s specialty category and increased 27 basis points in the Company’s center-of-the-plate category compared to the prior year period

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
20192018$ Change% Change
Selling, general and administrative expenses329,542 298,102 31,440 10.5 %
Percentage of net sales20.7 %20.6 %

The increase in selling, general and administrative expenses relates primarily to increased sales volumes. Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of net sales increased 7 basis points. The primary drivers of the increase in the ratio of selling, general and administrative expenses to sales were a 27 basis point increase in warehouse costs, primarily related to our investments in Texas and our new facility in Los Angeles, partially offset by a 22 basis point reduction in general and administrative compensation costs as a percentage of sales.

Other Operating Expenses
20192018$ Change% Change
Other operating expenses6,359 2,225 4,134 185.8 %

The increase in other operating expenses relates primarily to non-cash charges of $5.9 million for changes in the fair value of our contingent earn-out liabilities compared to non-cash charges of $1.4 million in the prior year period.

Interest Expense
20192018$ Change% Change
Interest expense18,264 20,745 $(2,481)(12.0)%
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Interest and other expense decreased primarily due to a $1.1 million write-off of deferred financing fees in fiscal 2018 associated with the re-pricing of our Term Loan and lower effective interest charged on our outstanding debt in fiscal 2019.

Provision for Income Taxes
20192018$ Change% Change
Provision for taxes8,210 7,442 $768 10.3 %
Effective tax rate25.3 %26.7 %

The lower effective tax rate in fiscal 2019 is due to certain permanent tax differences related to stock compensation.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

We finance our day-to-day operations and growth primarily with cash flows from operations, borrowings under our senior secured credit facilities and other indebtedness, operating leases, trade payables and equity financing.

Indebtedness

The following table presents selected financial information on our indebtedness (in thousands):
December 25, 2020December 27, 2019December 28, 2018
Senior secured term loan$201,553 $238,129 $239,745 
Total convertible debt$154,000 $154,000 $— 
Borrowings outstanding on asset-based loan facility$40,000 $— $44,185 
Finance leases and other financing obligations$15,798 $3,905 $193 

As of December 25, 2020, we have various floating- and fixed-rate debt instruments with varying maturities for an aggregate principal amount of $395.6 million. See Note 10 “Debt Obligations” to our consolidated financial statements for a full description of our debt instruments.

On June 8, 2020, we amended our senior secured credit agreement which converted $238.1 million of the term loans then outstanding into a new tranche of term loans (the “2025 Tranche”), which, among other things, extended the maturity date by three years and increased the fixed-rate portion of interest charged by 200 basis points. The Company made a prepayment of $35.7 million on the 2025 Tranche immediately after it was established. See Note 10 “Debt Obligations” to our consolidated financial statements for a full description.

On March 18, 2020, we drew $100.0 million on our asset-based loan facility to increase our cash on hand during the early stages of the Pandemic’s impact to our business and have subsequently repaid $60.0 million of the draw.

On November 22, 2019, we issued $150.0 million aggregate principal amount of 1.875% Convertible Senior Notes (the “Senior Notes”). Approximately $43.2 million of the net proceeds were used to repay all borrowings then outstanding under our ABL and we intend to use the remainder for working capital and general corporate purposes, which may include future acquisitions.

On July 25, 2018, the holders of the $36.8 million principal amount of convertible subordinated notes, issued in connection with our acquisition of Del Monte, converted these notes and related accrued interest of $0.3 million into 1,246,272 shares of the Company’s common stock.

On June 29, 2018, we entered into a new asset-based loan facility (“ABL”) that increased our borrowing capacity from $75.0 million to $150.0 million. Additionally, we reduced the fixed-rate portion of interest charged on our senior secured term loan (“Term Loan”) from 475 basis points to 350 basis points over Adjusted LIBOR as a result of repricings executed on December 14, 2017 and November 16, 2018.

A portion of the interest rate charged on our Term Loan is currently based on LIBOR and, at our option, a component of the interest charged on the borrowings outstanding on our ABL, if any, may bear interest rates based on LIBOR. LIBOR has been the subject of reform and was expected to phase out by the end of fiscal 2021, however, on November 30, 2020, the ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (“ICE”) announced plans to delay the phase out of LIBOR to June 30, 2023. The consequences of the discontinuation of LIBOR cannot be entirely predicted but could impact the interest expense we incur on
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these debt instruments. We will negotiate alternatives to LIBOR with our lenders before LIBOR ceases to be a widely available reference rate.

Equity Offering

On May 14 and June 2, 2020, we completed public offerings for a total of 6,634,615 shares of our common stock which resulted in net proceeds of approximately $85.9 million. See Note 11 “Stockholders’ Equity” to our consolidated financial statements for a full description.

Liquidity

The following table presents selected financial information on liquidity (in thousands):
December 25, 2020December 27, 2019December 28, 2018
Cash and cash equivalents$193,281 $140,233 $42,410 
Working capital,(1) excluding cash and cash equivalents
$94,279 $162,772 $160,783 
Availability under asset-based loan facility$50,282 $133,359 $90,015 
(1)We define working capital as current assets less current liabilities. The fiscal 2020 and 2019 balances include the impact of recognizing operating lease right-of-use assets and liabilities as a result of our adoption of Accounting Standards Codification Topic 842, “Leases,” as of December 29, 2018.

We believe our existing balances of cash and cash equivalents, working capital and the availability under our asset-based loan facility, are sufficient to satisfy our working capital needs, capital expenditures, debt service and other liquidity requirements associated with our current operations over the next twelve months.

Our capital expenditures, excluding cash paid for acquisitions, were approximately $7.0 million for fiscal 2020. We are not providing guidance on our capital expenditures for fiscal 2021 due to the continued uncertainty with regards to the pace of the economic recovery and the duration of the Pandemic related restrictions on our customers.

Cash Flows
Fiscal Year Ended
December 25, 2020December 27, 2019December 28, 2018
Net income$(82,903)$24,193 $20,402 
Non-cash charges$62,509 $47,625 $38,186 
Changes in working capital$63,275 $(26,811)$(13,506)
Cash provided by operating activities$42,881 $45,007 $45,082 
Cash used in investing activities$(67,968)$(44,154)$(33,688)
Cash provided by (used in) financing activities$78,056 $96,947 $(10,442)


Fiscal Year 2020 Cash Flows

Net cash provided by operations was $42.9 million for fiscal 2020 consisting of a $82.9 million net loss, offset by $62.5 million of non-cash charges and an increase in working capital of $63.3 million. Non-cash charges increased predominately due to the $24.2 million write down of Del Monte and Bassian trademarks. The increase in working capital of $63.3 million is primarily driven by negotiating favorable credit terms with our customers and suppliers and maintaining lower inventory balances as a result of reduced demand due to the Pandemic.

Net cash used in investing activities was $68.0 million in fiscal 2020 driven by $7.0 million in capital expenditures which included implementations of our Enterprise Resource Planning (“ERP”) system. The Company used $60.9 million in cash to fund acquisitions, the most significant of which were Sid Wainer and Cambridge.

Net cash provided by financing activities was $78.1 million for fiscal 2020 driven by $85.9 million net proceeds from our common stock offering and $40.0 million of net draws on our asset-based loan facility, partially offset by payments of debt and finance lease obligations of $40.4 million.

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Fiscal Year 2019 Cash Flows

Net cash provided by operations was $45.0 million for fiscal 2019 consisting of $24.2 million of net income and $47.6 million of non-cash charges, partially offset by an increase in working capital of $26.8 million. The increase in non-cash charges of $9.4 million is primarily driven by changes in the fair value of earn-out liabilities of $4.4 million and higher depreciation and amortization expense. The increase in working capital of $26.8 million is a result of organic growth and acquisitions and includes $1.8 million of earn-out liability payments classified as operating activities.

Net cash used in investing activities was $44.2 million in fiscal 2019 driven by $16.1 million in capital expenditures which included implementations of our ERP system and the buildouts of our headquarters in Ridgefield, CT and distribution center in Dallas, Texas. The Company used $28.1 million in cash to fund acquisitions, the most significant of which was Bassian.

Net cash provided by financing activities was $96.9 million for fiscal 2019 driven by $145.0 million of net proceeds received from the issuance of our Senior Notes, partially offset by $44.2 million to settle all borrowings outstanding on our ABL and $2.4 million of earn-out liability payments classified as financing activities.

Seasonality

Excluding our Allen Brothers direct-to-consumer business, we generally do not experience any material seasonality. However, our sales and operating results may vary from quarter to quarter due to factors such as changes in our operating expenses, management’s ability to execute our operating and growth strategies, personnel changes, demand for our products, supply shortages, weather patterns and general economic conditions.

Our Allen Brothers direct-to-consumer business is subject to seasonal fluctuations, with direct-to-consumer center-of-the-plate protein sales typically higher during the holiday season in our fourth quarter; accordingly, a disproportionate amount of operating cash flows from this portion of our business is generated by our direct-to-consumer business in the fourth quarter of our fiscal year. Despite a significant portion of these sales occurring in the fourth quarter, there are operating expenses, principally advertising and promotional expenses, throughout the year.

The Pandemic has had a material impact on our business and operations and those of our customers. Our net sales were most significantly impacted during the second quarter of fiscal 2020 when, in an effort to limit the spread of the virus, federal, state and local governments began implementing various restrictions that resulted in the closure of non-essential businesses in many of the markets we serve, which forced our customers in those markets to either transition their establishments to take-out service, delivery service or temporarily cease operations.

Inflation

Our profitability is dependent on, among other things, our ability to anticipate and react to changes in the costs of key operating resources, including food and other raw materials, labor, energy and other supplies and services. Substantial increases in costs and expenses could impact our operating results to the extent that such increases cannot be passed along to our customers. The impact of inflation on food, labor, energy and occupancy costs can significantly affect the profitability of our operations.

Commitments and Significant Contractual Obligations

The following table summarizes our contractual obligations and commercial commitments at December 25, 2020:
Payments Due by Period (1, 2, 3)
TotalLess than One Year1-3
Years
4-5
Years
Thereafter
(In thousands)
Indebtedness$405,889 $4,715 $84,516 $316,658 $— 
Finance lease obligations$17,259 $4,905 $6,756 $4,291 $1,307 
Pension exit liabilities$2,020 $159 $351 $401 $1,109 
Long-term operating leases$177,740 $24,542 $40,787 $25,104 $87,307 
Total$602,908 $34,321 $132,410 $346,454 $89,723 

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(1)Interest on our various outstanding debt instruments is included in the above table, except for our Term Loans and ABL, which have floating interest rates. At December 25, 2020, we had borrowings of $201.6 million under our Term Loans and $40.0 million under our ABL. During the fiscal year ended December 25, 2020, the weighted average interest rate on our Term Loan and ABL borrowings were approximately 4.4% and 1.7%, respectively. See Note 10 “Debt Obligations” to our consolidated financial statements for further information on our debt instruments.
(2)The table above excludes $2.8 million of total contingent earn-out liabilities related to certain acquisitions as of December 25, 2020 and approximately $30.2 million of lease payments related to a distribution facility that does not commence until fiscal 2021.
(3)The table above excludes our supplier purchase obligations as we do not have any material unconditional contractual obligations to purchase fixed or minimum quantities of goods or services from our suppliers.

We had outstanding letters of credit of approximately $20.1 million and $16.6 million at December 25, 2020 and December 27, 2019, respectively. Substantially all of our assets are pledged as collateral to secure our borrowings under our credit facilities.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

As of December 25, 2020, we did not have any off-balance sheet arrangements, as defined in Item 303(a)(4)(ii) of Regulation S-K.

Critical Accounting Policies

The preparation of our consolidated financial statements requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and related disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities. The SEC has defined critical accounting policies as those that are both most important to the portrayal of our financial condition and results and require our most difficult, complex or subjective judgments or estimates. Based on this definition, we believe our critical accounting policies include the following: (i) determining our allowance for doubtful accounts, (ii) inventory valuation, with regard to determining inventory balance adjustments for excess and obsolete inventory, (iii) business combinations, (iv) valuing goodwill and intangible assets, (v) self-insurance reserves, (vi) accounting for income taxes and (vii) contingent earn-out liabilities. For all financial statement periods presented, there have been no material modifications to the application of these critical accounting policies.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

We analyze customer creditworthiness, accounts receivable balances, payment history, payment terms and historical bad debt levels when evaluating the adequacy of our allowance for doubtful accounts. In instances where a reserve has been recorded for a particular customer, future sales to the customer are either conducted using cash-on-delivery terms or the account is closely monitored so that agreed-upon payments are received prior to orders being released. A failure to pay results in held or cancelled orders. We also estimate receivables that will ultimately be uncollectible based upon historical write-off experience. Management incorporates current macro-economic factors in existence as of the balance sheet date that may impact the food-away-from-home industry and/or its customers, and specifically, beginning in the first quarter of fiscal 2020, the impact of the Pandemic. We may be required to increase or decrease our allowance for doubtful accounts due to various factors, including the overall economic environment and particular circumstances of individual customers. Our accounts receivable balance was $96.4 million and $175.0 million, net of the allowance for doubtful accounts of $24.0 million and $8.8 million, as of December 25, 2020 and December 27, 2019, respectively.

Inventory Valuation

We adjust our inventory balances for excess and obsolete inventories. These adjustments are primarily based upon customer demand, inventory age, specifically identified inventory items and overall economic conditions. A sudden and unexpected change in consumer preferences or change in overall economic conditions could result in a significant change to these adjustments that could require a corresponding charge to earnings. We actively manage our inventory levels as we seek to minimize the risk of loss and have consistently achieved a relatively high level of inventory turnover. As a result of the impacts of the Pandemic on our customer demand we incurred additional inventory valuation charges of $14.6 million in fiscal 2020.

Business Combinations

We account for acquisitions in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification Topic 805 “Business Combinations.” Assets acquired and liabilities assumed are recorded at their estimated fair values, as of the acquisition date. The judgments made in determining the estimated fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed, including estimated useful life, may
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have a material impact on our consolidated balance sheet and may materially impact the amount of depreciation and amortization expense recognized in periods subsequent to the acquisition. We determine the fair value of intangible assets using an income approach and, when appropriate, we engage a third party valuation firm. Generally, we utilize the multi-period excess earnings method to determine the fair value of customer relationships and the relief from royalty method to determine the fair value of tradenames. These valuation methods contain significant assumptions and estimates including forecasts of expected future cash flows and discount rates. Determining the useful life of an intangible asset also requires judgment, as different types of intangible assets will have different useful lives. The excess of the purchase price over the fair values of identifiable assets and liabilities is recorded as goodwill.

Valuation of Goodwill and Intangible Assets

We are required to test goodwill for impairment at each of our reporting units annually, or more frequently when circumstances indicate an impairment may have occurred. We have elected to perform our annual tests for indications of goodwill impairment during the fourth quarter of each fiscal year.

Goodwill is tested at the reporting unit level, which is an operating segment or a component of an operating segment. When analyzing whether to aggregate components into single reporting units, management considers whether each component has similar economic characteristics. We have evaluated the economic characteristics of our different geographic markets, including our recently acquired businesses, along with the similarity of the operations and margins, nature of the products, type of customer and methods of distribution of products and the regulatory environment in which we operate and concluded that the business consists of three operating segments: East Coast, Midwest and West Coast and these operating segments represent our reporting units.

In testing goodwill for impairment, we may elect to perform a qualitative assessment to evaluate whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of each reporting unit is less than its carrying amount. The qualitative analysis considers various factors including macroeconomic conditions, market conditions, industry trends, cost factors and financial performance, among others. If our qualitative assessment indicates that goodwill impairment is more likely than not, we proceed to perform a quantitative assessment to determine the fair value of the reporting unit.

When a quantitative analysis is required, we estimate the fair value of our reporting units using an income approach that incorporates the use of a discounted cash flow model that involves many management assumptions that are based upon future growth projections. Assumptions include estimates of future revenue based upon budget projections and growth rates which include estimates for the duration of the Pandemic’s impact on the Company’s customers. We develop estimates of future levels of gross and operating profits and projected capital expenditures. This methodology includes the use of estimated discount rates based upon industry and competitor analysis as well as other factors. A goodwill impairment loss, if any, would be recognized for the amount by which a reporting unit’s carrying value exceeds its fair value.

Due to the Pandemic’s adverse impact on our business, we performed an interim quantitative goodwill impairment test as of March 27, 2020 and concluded that goodwill was not impaired. As required, we performed our annual goodwill impairment test during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 the results of which indicated that goodwill was not impaired. Total goodwill as of December 25, 2020 and December 27, 2019 was $214.9 million and $197.7 million, respectively.

Intangible assets with finite lives are tested for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value may not be recoverable. Cash flows expected to be generated by the related assets are estimated over the assets useful lives based on updated projections. If the evaluation indicates that the carrying amount of the asset may not be recoverable, the potential impairment is measured based on a projected discounted cash flow model. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, we committed to a plan to shift our brand strategy to leverage our Allen Brothers brand in our west coast region and determined our Del Monte, Ports Seafood and Bassian Farms trademarks did no fit our long-term strategic objectives. This brand transition is planned to begin in the second quarter of fiscal 2021. The Company assessed these trademarks for impairment and used the relief of royalty method to determine fair value. Significant assumptions used include future sales forecasts, royalty rates and discount rates. As a result, we recorded a $24.2 million impairment charge, $17.5 million net of tax, to write-down the value of our Del Monte and Bassian Farms trademarks. There have been no other events or changes in circumstances during fiscal 2020 or 2019 indicating that the carrying value of our finite-lived intangible assets are not recoverable. Total finite-lived intangible assets as of December 25, 2020 and December 27, 2019 were $111.7 million and $138.8 million, respectively.

The assessment of the recoverability of goodwill and intangible assets contain uncertainties requiring management to make assumptions and to apply judgment to estimate economic factors and the profitability of future operations. Actual results could
44


differ from these assumptions and projections, resulting in us revising our assumptions and, if required, recognizing an impairment loss.

Self-Insurance Reserves

We maintain a self-insured group medical program. The program contains individual stop loss thresholds of $275 thousand per incident and aggregate stop loss thresholds based upon the average number of employees enrolled in the program throughout the year. The amount in excess of the self-insured levels is fully insured by third party insurers. Liabilities associated with this program are estimated in part by considering historical claims experience and medical cost trends. Projections of future loss expenses are inherently uncertain because of the random nature of insurance claims occurrences and could be significantly affected if future occurrences and claims differ from these assumptions and historical trends.

We are self-insured for workers’ compensation and automobile liability to deductibles or self-insured retentions of $500 thousand per occurrence. The amounts in excess of our deductibles are fully insured by third party insurers. Liabilities associated with this program are estimated in part by considering historical claims experience and cost trends. Projections of future loss expenses are inherently uncertain because of the random nature of insurance claims occurrences and could be significantly affected if future occurrences and claims differ from these assumptions and historical trends.

Income Taxes

The determination of our provision for income taxes requires significant judgment, the use of estimates and the interpretation and application of complex tax laws. Our provision for income taxes primarily reflects a combination of income earned and taxed in the various U.S. federal and state jurisdictions. Jurisdictional tax law changes, increases or decreases in permanent differences between book and tax items, accruals or adjustments of accruals for unrecognized tax benefits, and our change in the mix of earnings from these taxing jurisdictions all affect the overall effective tax rate.

We estimate our ability to recover deferred tax assets within the jurisdiction from which they arise. This evaluation considers several factors, including recent results of operations, scheduled reversal of deferred tax liabilities, future taxable income and tax planning strategies. As of December 25, 2020 and December 27, 2019, we had valuation allowances of $2.3 million and $0.9 million, respectively, relating to certain net operating losses that may not be realizable in the future based on taxable income forecasts and certain state net operating loss limitations.

Contingent Earn-out Liabilities

We account for contingent consideration relating to business combinations as a liability and an increase to goodwill at the date of the acquisition and continually remeasure the liability at each balance sheet date by recording changes in the fair value through our consolidated statements of operations. We determine the fair value of contingent consideration based on future operating projections under various potential scenarios, including the use of Monte Carlo simulations, and weight the probability of these outcomes. The ultimate settlement of contingent earn-out liabilities relating to business combinations may be for amounts which are materially different from the amounts initially recorded and may cause volatility in our results of operations.

Management has discussed the development and selection of these critical accounting policies with our board of directors, and the board of directors has reviewed the above disclosure. Our consolidated financial statements contain other items that require estimation, but are not as critical as those discussed above. These other items include our calculations for bonus accruals, depreciation and amortization. Changes in estimates and assumptions used in these and other items could have an effect on our consolidated financial statements.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

See Note 1 “Operations and Basis of Presentation” to our consolidated financial statements for a full description of recent accounting pronouncements including the respective expected dates of adoption and expected effects on our consolidated financial statements.

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Item 7A.    QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

Interest Rate Risk

Our exposure to interest rate market risk relates primarily to our long-term debt. The Company has various floating- and fixed-rate debt instruments as described in Note 10 “Debt Obligations” to our consolidated financial statements. As of December 25, 2020, we had an aggregate $241.6 million of floating-rate indebtedness. A 100 basis point increase in market interest rates would decrease our after tax earnings by approximately $1.8 million per annum, holding other variables constant.
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Item 8.    CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
Index to the Consolidated Financial StatementsPage
  
  
  
  
  
  

47


Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

Shareholders and Board of Directors
The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc.
Ridgefield, CT

Opinion on the Consolidated Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc. (the “Company”) and subsidiaries as of December 25, 2020 and December 27, 2019, the related consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive (loss) income, stockholders’ equity, and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 25, 2020, and the related notes. In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company at December 25, 2020 and December 27, 2019, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 25, 2020, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”), the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of December 25, 2020, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (“COSO”) and our report dated February 23, 2021 expressed an unqualified opinion thereon.

Basis for Opinions

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud.

Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Change in Accounting Principle

As discussed in Note 3 to the consolidated financial statements, effective on December 29, 2018, the Company changed its method of accounting for leases due to the adoption of Accounting Standards Codification Topic 842, Leases.

Emphasis of Matter

As more fully described in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company has been negatively impacted by the ongoing effects of the outbreak of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Company’s operations.

Critical Audit Matter

The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the consolidated financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the consolidated financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of a critical audit matter does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing separate opinions on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.

Goodwill Impairment

As described in Note 3 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company’s consolidated goodwill balance was $214.9
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million at December 25, 2020, which was allocated between three reporting units. The Company’s evaluation of goodwill for impairment involves the comparison of the fair value of each reporting unit to its carrying value. Management assesses goodwill impairment annually in the fourth quarter, but identified a triggering event requiring an interim impairment assessment of goodwill at the end of the first quarter of 2020 due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Company prepared the valuations of the reporting units for the interim and annual assessments using an income approach, which requires management to make significant estimates and assumptions related to discount rates and forecasts of future revenue and earnings.

We identified the valuation of goodwill during the interim and annual impairment assessments as a critical audit matter. The principal considerations for our determination are the inherent uncertainties related to the Company’s forecasts and how various other factors, including the projected impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, could affect the Company’s forecasted assumptions of revenue and earnings included in the income approach. Auditing these significant assumptions and judgments involved especially challenging auditor judgment and an increased level of effort, including the extent of specialized skills or knowledge needed.

The primary procedures we performed to address this critical audit matter included:

Evaluating the reasonableness of assumptions used in the Company’s income approach, including the revenue growth rate, terminal value growth rate, and the economic impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have on the Company’s performance and its reporting units by: (i) comparing to historical results and industry trends, (ii) understanding state and local restrictions on occupancy capacity for indoor establishments to evaluate management’s expected timing to return to historical revenue and profitability levels, (iii) comparing the actual results for the second and third quarters to the projections that management used for those quarters in the interim assessment, and (iv) performing a sensitivity analysis of significant assumptions and evaluating the impact of such on the fair value of each reporting unit that would result from changes in the assumptions.

Testing the accuracy and completeness of the data used by management to develop its projections.

Testing management’s market capitalization reconciliation and the reasonableness of the calculated control premium identified by management.

Utilizing personnel with specialized skills and knowledge in valuation approach and methodologies to assist in: (i) assessing the appropriateness of the fair value methodology, (ii) evaluating the reasonableness of certain assumptions used, including the discount rate.


/s/ BDO USA, LLP

We have served as the Company's auditor since 2006.

Stamford, CT
February 23, 2021

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THE CHEFS’ WAREHOUSE, INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS 
(Amounts in thousands, except share data)
December 25,
2020
December 27,
2019
ASSETS  
Current assets:  
Cash and cash equivalents$193,281 $140,233 
Accounts receivable, net of allowance of $24,027 in 2020 and $8,846 in 2019
96,383 175,044 
Inventories, net82,519 124,056 
Prepaid expenses and other current assets33,479 13,823 
Total current assets405,662 453,156 
Equipment, leasehold improvements and software, net115,448 92,846 
Operating lease right-of-use assets115,224 127,649 
Goodwill214,864 197,743 
Intangible assets, net111,717 138,751 
Deferred taxes, net7,535  
Other assets3,875 3,534 
Total assets$974,325 $1,013,679 
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY  
Current liabilities:  
Accounts payable$57,515 $94,097 
Accrued liabilities27,924 29,847 
Short-term operating lease liabilities17,167 17,453 
Accrued compensation9,401 8,033 
Current portion of long-term debt6,095 721 
Total current liabilities118,102 150,151 
Long-term debt, net of current portion398,084 386,106 
Operating lease liabilities109,133 120,572 
Deferred taxes, net 10,883 
Other liabilities and deferred credits4,416 10,034 
Total liabilities629,735 677,746 
Commitments and contingencies
Stockholders’ equity:  
Preferred Stock - $0.01 par value, 5,000,000 shares authorized, no shares issued and outstanding at December 25, 2020 and December 27, 2019, respectively
  
Common Stock, - $0.01 par value, 100,000,000 shares authorized, 37,274,768 and 30,341,941 shares issued and outstanding at December 25, 2020 and December 27, 2019, respectively
373 304 
Additional paid in capital303,734 212,240 
Accumulated other comprehensive loss(2,051)(2,048)
Retained earnings42,534 125,437 
Total stockholders’ equity344,590 335,933 
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity$974,325 $1,013,679 
 
See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.
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THE CHEFS’ WAREHOUSE, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS AND COMPREHENSIVE (LOSS) INCOME
(Amounts in thousands, except share and per share amounts)
Fiscal Years Ended
December 25,
2020
December 27,
2019
December 28,
2018
Net sales$1,111,631 $1,591,834 $1,444,609 
Cost of sales863,480 1,205,266 1,095,693 
Gross profit248,151 386,568 348,916 
Selling, general and administrative expenses336,394 329,542 298,102 
Other operating expenses14,417 6,359 2,225 
Operating (loss) income(102,660)50,667 48,589 
Interest expense20,946 18,264 20,745 
(Loss) income before income taxes(123,606)32,403 27,844 
Provision for income tax (benefit) expense(40,703)8,210 7,442 
Net (loss) income$(82,903)$24,193 $20,402 
Other comprehensive income (loss):   
Foreign currency translation adjustments(3)173 (672)
Comprehensive (loss) income$(82,906)$24,366 $19,730 
Net (loss) income per share:   
Basic$(2.46)$0.82 $0.71 
Diluted$(2.46)$0.81 $0.70 
Weighted average common shares outstanding:  
Basic33,716,157 29,532,342 28,703,265 
Diluted33,716,157 30,073,338 29,678,919 
 
See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.
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THE CHEFS’ WAREHOUSE, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
For the Fiscal Years Ended December 25, 2020, December 27, 2019, and December 28, 2018
(Amounts in thousands, except share amounts)
 Common StockAdditional
Paid in
Capital
Accumulated
Other
Comprehensive
Loss
Retained
Earnings
Total
 SharesAmount
Balance December 29, 201728,442,208 $284 $166,997 $(1,549)$82,869 $248,601 
Net income— — — — 20,402 20,402 
Stock compensation310,451 3 4,091 — — 4,094 
Conversion of notes1,246,272 13 37,002 — — 37,015 
Cumulative translation adjustment— — — (672)— (672)
Shares surrendered to pay withholding taxes(30,448)— (764)— —