Meat+Poultry - August 2018 - 40
FA M I LY B U S I N E S S
"We have titles
but we are
- BOB BUDDIG
the business and the direction of the business
for the short term and long term. And, they try
to hold an annual family event.
"We try to educate them to be the best
owners, and they understand that in order for
the company to succeed, we have to have the
best owners," Bob says.
The "family feel" also drives the Buddigs'
choice of employees which currently numbers
above 2,000. The company tries to hire and
promote from within as much as possible.
Experience in the food industry is a quality that
makes an individual a good fit to work at Carl
Buddig and Co. The average tenure of a Buddig
employee is about 17 years.
"We usually prefer to hire people that
may have come from a smaller company
background because we kind of operate
that way," Bob says. "Our culture is not a big
corporate culture and we have a very family
feel. Our offices are not very fancy. We treat
people more like family."
But like many companies operating in
an economy with near-full employment,
finding and retaining good team members is
a challenge. "There's a shortage of people for
jobs available," Bob says. "That's sort of a
standard; everybody's got the same problem."
The family atmosphere
at Carl Buddig is one
reason the average
employee tenure at the
company is 17 years.
The past 75 years has seen the Buddig family
of products grow far beyond the back of a
truck driven by the company's namesake, Carl
Buddig, who founded the business in 1943.
Products bearing the Buddig name over the
years include chipped beef, spaghetti sauce,
and chopped, pressed and cooked beef. But
the company's thin-sliced lunch meats remain a
The company's growth story is highlighted
by strategic acquisitions and product
innovations. In 1981, Carl Buddig acquired the
Old Wisconsin Sausage Co., and that business
became a springboard to other product
categories. Seeing an opportunity to capture
market share in the fast-growing meat snack
category, Carl Buddig and Co. expanded the
Old Wisconsin portfolio of meat snacks with
the introduction of Fast Fuel Sausage Sticks
and Bites in 2015.
In 2017, CBQ LLC, a wholly-owned
subsidiary of Carl Buddig and Co. acquired
all the assets of South Holland, Illinois-based
MEAT+ POULTRY | 08.18 | www.meatpoultry.com
Rupari Food Services, a producer of branded
and private label restaurant-quality barbecued
meats, including Tony Roma's and Butcher's
Prime retail brands. Bob says the barbecue
products have opened several sales channels -
including leading distributors and foodservice
operators - for the cooked beef side of the Carl
In the same year, CBQ and Kingsford
charcoal reached a multi-year agreement
to produce Kingsford's branded meals of
pre-cooked ribs and barbecue. "Kingsford is
a highly respected brand across categories
with exceptional consumer awareness. This
partnership is a natural fit for Buddig as we
continue to grow our product line of fresh,
great-tasting meats," Tom Buddig said at the
time the partnership was announced. "We're
excited to expand our line of pre-cooked
barbecued ribs and entrees under the
Kingsford brand while continuing to drive
synergies with their barbecue sauces, flavored
charcoal and grilling products."
And in January 2018, Carl Buddig and Co.
continued to scale its operations with the
acquisition of a new manufacturing facility
in Montgomery, Illinois. "The facility is
being used to produce lunch meat and some
sausage products," Bob says of the 280,000sq.-ft. facility. "We have a lot of growth in our
branded business, our foodservice business
and obviously our store brands as well."
The purchase of the Montgomery building
provides the company plenty of space to grow
capacity and a chance to pursue business that
might have eluded the company in the past
because of capacity concerns.
Additionally, the Montgomery plant gives
Carl Buddig and Co. room to grow without
another acquisition. "...we've always been
playing catch-up," Tom says. "We work three
shifts and weekends and then realize we need a
"This way," he says, "we have the space,
I think, to grow into and the new business
opportunities that may afford us."