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The Evolution of Variety FoodServices

Early Roots

The year was 1928 and the country was ravaged by the Great Depression, affecting many countries across the world. In the US, Businesses were going bankrupt, families were going hungry and at the age of 28, Norman Nowak, lost his home. 

An innovative thinker, Norman began to sell bagged peanuts on streetcars and bars in Detroit. After some time, Norman observed that many businesses went bankrupt due to their inability to collect payments. To solve this issue, he believed that vending machines would be the perfect solution. 

With the assistance of a Chicago-based vending company in 1932, Norman would acquire his first three vending machines and placed them in streetcars throughout Detroit. His theory was proven to be successful and the venture quickly expanded from streetcars to gas stations, shops, and offices. Those first three vending machines would be just the beginning of Variety FoodServices. 

Adapting through the 20th Century

Always adapting to the times, in 1939, cigarettes began to be sold in vending machines. Due to World War II gas rationings, in 1943, Variety acquired their first four delivery trucks. In 1949, Variety joined the booming industry of office coffee. Due to the demand for more food options, in 1955, Variety built their first on-site commissary to cook up fresh food options to be placed in their vending machines. In 1984, Variety received their first food service contract at the GM Cadillac Center and has only continued to grow into the automotive food service industry since. Expanding their reach, in 1998, Variety entered the school meal program industry, winning their first contract. 

Who We Are Today

Persevering from a dark time in American history, 95 years later, Variety FoodServices still stands strong and continues to innovate and grow with three generations of Nowaks at the helm. From a lone peanut vendor in 1928 to now serving over 35,000 meals daily across the state of Michigan, Variety FoodServices is proud of its history. 


If you’re interested in a Variety FoodService food program, click the “contact sales” button below or call us at (586) 756-8100.


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