2010 Portfolio Company Hall of Fame

Bakery Chef


Founded in 1981 and based now in Downers Grove, Ill., Bakery Chef LLC, has been a subsidiary of Ralcorp Holdings Inc. since December 2003. When St. Louis-based Ralcorp Holdings acquired it for $287.5 million in December 2003, it had annual revenues of $165 million and EBITDA of $39 million. It had five manufacturing facilities and employed about 800 people.

Through Ralcorp Frozen Foods, it now produces frozen, ready-to-eat and microwaveable biscuits, breads, bread sticks, rolls, buns, muffins, pancakes, waffles and French toast, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees. It also provides mixes for pancakes and desserts and sells its products to retail grocery, food service, in-store bakery and industrial food operations in the United States, including McDonalds Corp. In the year ended Sept.30, 2010, the Frozen Foods unit accounted for $698.3 million, or about 17 percent, of Ralcorp Holding's $4.05 billion in revenues. It's divisional headquarters in Downers Grove employs about 70 people.

Before Ralcorp acquired it, Bakery Chef had been a portfolio company of Wind Point Partners since December 1998, when it purchased the Liqui-Dri business from The Quaker Oats Company. Its sales then were about $85 million. Bakery Chef served as an early example of Wind Point's strategy of partnering with exceptional executives, finding acquisitions that fit those executives excellently, and closing such investments with aggressive value-creation plans that the executives lead as CEOs of those target companies. Bakery Chef was a significant investment for the state of Illinois in that Wind Point bought a division of Quaker Oats located in Louisville, Ky., and moved/created its then-headquarters office in Westmont.