A look at the wholesale food and equipment company PFSbrands (plus advice on to get hired)

Pro Food Systems (PFSbrands), a wholesale food and equipment company that specializes in a quick-service restaurant food concept, is the parent company to Champs Chicken, Cooper’s Express, and BluTaco. PFSbrands is not only unique in the business it conducts, but also the way it conducts its business. The 20-year-old company is 100% employee-owned and completely run with open-book management. Find out more about the management style, how to get hired, and what kind of employee best fits PFSbrands’ company culture.

PFSbrands rundown

Size: About 135 employees

Industry: Food & beverages

Locations: The company’s headquarters is in Holts Summit, Missouri.

Founded: 1998

Founder and CEO: Shawn Burcham

shawn burcham
Courtesy PFSbrands

Mission statement: “We exist to empower our employee-owners and allow them the opportunity to build their futures by providing all of our customers with consistent, high-quality food products at reasonable prices and assisting our retail customers in operating profitable locations.”


PFSbrands jobs

PFSbrands is currently hiring for a variety of open positions, including a Regional Business Developer a Director of People Success to join the team in Holts Summit, Missouri. Find a full list of open roles on Ladders’ PFSbrands Jobs page.

Company culture

PFSbrands’ culture is extremely competitive, according to CEO Shawn Burcham.

“Our culture really revolves around an ownership-thinking mentality and really making sure everybody understands the financials, the income statements, balance sheet, cash flow statements. We really work a lot on financial literacy. Without that financial literacy and the open-book management approach that we take, it’s really difficult and I would argue impossible to create an ownership thinking mentality. Because unless you’re teaching them the financials and the challenges of running a business, it’s really hard for people to think and act like owners because I think a majority of people in the country don’t really understand how business works. So our company culture is all-around goal setting, tolerance of failure, a team approach, and ultimately everybody rowing in the same direction and being aligned on all of our goals in the company and all of our individual goals as employee owners.”


A fun evening supporting a wonderful cause, Super Sam Foundation: Fighting Childhood Cancer! #HopeGala2019 #High5ForHope

Posted by PFSbrands on Friday, September 27, 2019

What the CEO says it takes to get hired

“Again, the best companies should and ultimately do have hiring practices that are based around their core values, so that’s really what we try to do,” Burcham said. “Some of the things that we look for are competitive people, people that like to win, people that like to keep score. Everything in our company we make as visible as possible. So we have to have people that are comfortable with visibility. We mentioned all the surveys that we do so we definitely have to have somebody that’s thick-skinned and can take constructive criticism, who’s always looking to do better and improve. If you can’t take that feedback, if you can’t handle the 360-degree surveys, then it’s probably not the best spot for you.

All of those things don’t make a good person or a bad person, it really boils down to trying to find the people that best fit the culture that you’ve developed and ultimately you want to move forward with.

So those are some key things there and I’ll wrap that up in summary that really just competitive people. We’re a competitive, high-growth, company. One thing I didn’t mention was change. You have to be comfortable with change in a high-growth company because things are always changing.”

Interview advice

Burcham’s advice to someone interviewing at PFSbrands is pretty simple.

“Be honest,” Burham said.

“If you’re interviewing just to try to get in this company and you don’t fit those things, ultimately you’re going to figure out pretty quick that you’re uncomfortable and it’s not the right decision for you. I always encourage people to find something that they’re passionate about and find a company that they truly enjoy going to work for. When those things fall together, that’s when you see people actually excel. We are so focused in our hiring process and trying to make sure that we get the right fit. We put a lot of systems in place to make sure we do that. We don’t always get it right 100% of the time, but we’re doing a much better job today than we did 5 years ago, and we did better 5 years ago than we did 10 years ago and so on. Like I said, I think the honesty in the interview process is extremely critical and we’ve had some get through and actually get hired. Two things happened, they weren’t honest in the process as they could’ve been, but they also really didn’t like the pace and the change, the visibility, some of those things we do at the company. So that honesty is pretty critical.”

Our office olympics have officially come to a close! The losers get dunked!

Posted by PFSbrands on Friday, August 2, 2019

Employee benefits

  • Health, dental, vision, and life insurance
  • Health Savings Account (HSA)
  • Supplemental Life Insurance
  • Accidental death & dismemberment insurance
  • Performance bonus
  • 401K plan
  • Employee stock purchase plan
  • Family medical leave
  • Vacations & paid time off
  • Paid holidays
  • Bereavement leave

Employee perks

  • Company social events
  • Free lunch or snacks
  • Gym membership
  • Professional development
  • Job training

PFSbrands employee reviews 2019

Reviews on Glassdoor range from two-star reviews titled “fake culture and no loyalty” to five-star reviews titled “work hard and have fun in high visibility environment.”

“Every day is a new day at PFS, so if you like variety and are great at balancing multiple projects and responsibilities, you will have the opportunity to directly impact the success of the business,” one reviewer wrote. “PFS is an open-book management company that regularly shares financial performance information and truly gives ownership to each and every employee. With ownership comes accountability leading to a high-performance environment.”

The reviewer warns that it is a “very fast-paced and high accountability culture, so everyone is not a fit.”