Whaley Foodservice Inc.

When restaurants need a replacement part quickly, they can rely on Whaley Parts & Supply. “If you’re in Sacramento, Calif., and you want a thermostat, we guarantee you’ll have it in two days,” President and CEO Wells Whaley says, noting that it can provide this service to any client in the continental United States.

Based in Lexington, S.C., Whaley Foodservice offers repair service and replacement parts to restaurants, hospitality and hotel clients, as well as correctional facilities, universities and casinos.

Whaley’s grandfather Ben started the company in 1944 as an electrical contractor. “[He] did the electrical controls for the rock quarries as well as the large-scale printing presses,” Wells Whaley says.

The firm eventually moved into the food industry thanks to its motor rewinding work. “Companies like General Electric that were making electrical motors also were focusing their attention on the commercial foodservice equipment industry,” Whaley explains. “These manufacturers needed somebody to perform warranty service on the new products.”

Today, “We’re the largest privately owned business in the industry,” Whaley states. “What makes us unique is that we not only distribute replacement parts but we actually service the equipment as well.”

Whaley serves clients through two divisions: Whaley Foodservice Repairs, which focuses on warranty and non-warranty service for commercial kitchens, while Whaley Parts & Supply distributes replacement repair parts and accessories. “We’re one of the top four distributors of replacement parts in the United States,” Whaley adds.

Although Whaley Foodservice constantly looks for new ideas to take to market, its values stay constant, General Manager Linda Williams says. “We strive to provide superior customer service in whatever [we do].”

Sharp Service
Whaley is proud of the company’s team of technicians, which have an average tenure of 15 years. “We try to recruit the sharpest minds out there,” he says, noting that its team includes over 160 technicians, many of which are CFESA (Commercial Food Equipment Service Association) Master Certified Technicians. As a matter of fact, in 2014, Whaley was awarded the opportunity to send one of its technicians to Germany for Rational training.

Whaley’s team is also provided with continuous training programs. “We invest in our employees on a daily basis by offering custom built online courses, as well as specifically designed training modules,” Wells explains.

Whaley Foodservice also backs its skilled staff with state-of-the-art equipment, including remote field service tablets. When its technicians are on a job site, “They can look at all the customers’ information, including equipment history and pertinent schematics,” Whaley describes. “We basically give them the technology at their fingertips.”

Whaley uses the same advanced technology on the parts side of the business as well. Whaley Parts & Supply has a state-of-the-art web store where customers can access wiring diagrams, parts breakdowns and see available inventory in real time. “We also have a chat feature if someone is on line and wants to chat with one of our service representatives.”

Whaley also pioneered the idea of having a savvy Technical Support Team that consists of actual field technicians to answer questions, identify parts and help customers troubleshoot.

Whaley Parts & Supply has a very broad base of stock items and a high fill rate. “Our policy is, if you order it and it is in stock, it will definitely ship the same day,” Williams declares.

This level of service distinguishes Whaley Foodservice from its larger competitors. “There are some companies that are bigger than us, but we don’t believe that anyone is better than us,” Wells says. “That’s what keeps us going every day.”

Looking Bright
Whaley Foodservice recently opened two new branches in Orlando, Fla. and Chattanooga, Tennessee. “We went in with experienced management and technicians,” Whaley says. “We think we can certainly elevate the service game in these markets.”

The future looks very bright for Whaley, he adds.

“There is always change occurring around us, not only in this industry, but everywhere,” he says. “We’re always poised to change, as well as grow. We’re always looking at potential acquisitions as well as additional new services for the customer. “The foodservice industry will continue to grow as the population grows and Whaley intends to grow with it.”