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Climate-controlled facilities for food and beverage are unique in their operations. We approach each with a lens that meets our client’s demands for today and their future needs. Our clients are looking for assurances their facility will be functional, safe, and adaptable. We apply our expertise and industry relationships to ensure projects meet our client’s objectives and business goals. We want to ensure when a client has another project, we’re the company they want back.

ESI Group is a design-build engineering and construction management firm dedicated to supporting companies nationwide that safely feed the world. We focus on designing and constructing food processing, distribution, and automation facilities, including those earning LEED Certification.

We have provided design and construction services exclusively to the food and beverage industry for over 30 years. Our President and Founder, Brad Barke, shares, “I view our longevity as an advantage to our clients because there isn’t much in the industry we haven’t seen. We are also very fortunate to have highly educated personnel who are passionate about their work.”

From food processing and packaging to shipping and receiving, automation, and more, our single-source turnkey services increase efficiencies, mitigate costs, and ensure compliance.

We put our customers first so our customers can put their customers first!

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ESI Group works with all types of food and beverage facility owners. In our 30+ years in business, we have had the opportunity to partner with some of the industry’s most significant household name brands and distributors. The foodservice industry consists of manufacturers, distributors, operators, consumers, and other professionals. These entities all work together to bring prepared food and beverages to consumers.

Foodservice is defined as food or beverage that is prepared away from home. The emphasis is on where food is prepared rather than where it’s consumed. Some modern-day examples are food trucks, school cafeterias, convenience stores, or commissary kitchens.

While we have partnered with Grocery Retailers over the years, we purposefully target foodservice as part of our sales and marketing strategy. Grocery Retailers sell products packaged for at-home cooking. You may notice foodservice is providing more ready-to-eat options in retail locations.


Manufacturers are the first in the process. They vary in size and product offerings. Some are large manufacturer brands you know and trust, while others are controlled brands you may never hear about in the media or see on store shelves. Controlled products are made by a wide variety of manufacturers and labeled with an alternative brand name. This approach is more popular in foodservice than in retail.



Distributors act like a partner between the Manufacturer and the Operator. They receive and store fresh, frozen, shelf-stable, and disposable non-food products. Operators rely on multiple distributors to satisfy their unique menu needs. There are broadline distributors like Sysco and specialties like United Natural Foods with a deeper line of products within a given category. Lastly, some specialty distributors carry only products used by a chain customer like Martin-Brower, who distributes for McDonald’s.



Operators use products from the Manufacturer to prepare foods and beverages for consumers to purchase. Quality, variety, consistency, and fair price are important when they place orders with their distributors. There are a few types of operators: Chain Operators, Independent Operators, and Group Purchasing Organizations; each has distinctive needs and roles in the marketplace.



Consumers are people who buy goods and services. That includes you, your family, your friends, and other individuals you may interact with on any given day. The entire foodservice supply chain process is built to satisfy the consumer. With consumers being the heart of the foodservice supply chain, it’s important to know what they look for when choosing to eat away from home.


Project Delivery Methods are one of the most important decisions made by clients and influence the way ESI Group approaches a project and prepares our proposals. The right choice is specific to a client’s unique operations and can help overcome project challenges in terms of how the project will be designed, constructed, and delivered.

Design-Bid-Build (DBB)

  • Owner controls design and construction via separate contracts
  • Design changes are easily accommodated prior to construction start
  • Design is completed prior to the start of construction
  • Construction cost is fixed at contract award
  • Low bid cost, maximum competition
  • Relatively simple to implement

Design-Build (DB)

  • A single entity is responsible for design and construction
  • Construction often begins before design is complete, reducing the overall project duration
  • Construction cost is fixed during design
  • Emphasis on best value with with improved quality
  • Requires less owner expertise and resources
  • Reduces potential for design changes after construction
  • Early procurement to manage long-lead items and increase project efficiency
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ESI Group looks to partner with students pursuing careers in design, construction, and related fields. It takes a collaborative effort to execute any successful project, and our goal is to educate students about the unique processes of designing and constructing a climate-controlled facility by offering exposure across all teams for a well-rounded experience. Interns may qualify for program credits.

Start your career with ESI Group today!

Start your career with ESI Group today!

ESI Group team fun events

Contact Rebecca Linke, HR Manager