MRO Magazine

Darden Supply Chain Exec Joins SpenDifference

June 27, 2016
By Business Wire News


Veteran foodservice executive James B. Thomas has been named vice president of distribution and supply management for SpenDifference, another step in the company’s strategy to offer restaurant chains a comprehensive set of supply chain solutions.

Thomas has extensive experience in purchasing, distribution and logistics, which have grown more complex in recent years, according to Maryanne Rose, SpenDifference president and CEO. “Maximum supply chain savings and efficiency require special expertise in these areas,” she said. “Jim brings us an especially strong background in distribution and logistics, along with deep industry relationships and a great reputation, which will be very helpful as we expand this area of our business.”

His hiring is part of the company’s strategy to provide a complete end-to-end, outsourced supply chain option. “Effective supply chain management requires collaboration that benefits restaurant chains, as well as manufacturers, distributors and other trading partners,” Thomas said. “The SpenDifference culture is centered on building long-term relationships, and I am simply thrilled for the opportunity to help clients navigate ever-increasing industry complexity while building a leading distribution and logistics practice.”

Most recently, Thomas was senior vice president of supply management and purchasing for Darden Restaurants Inc., where he created a progressive logistics and distribution program that resulted in performance improvements in safety, service, quality and growth. The supply chain transformation he directed markedly reduced infrastructure costs for Darden through improved supply and demand management.

Before his 15-year tenure at Darden, Thomas led continuous improvements in each step of the supply chain for Oberweis Dairy Inc. and improved the distribution system and broker network for McCain Foods Inc. He also is active in the Supply Chain Leaders in Action forum and the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative.

About SpenDifference

Based in Denver with an office in Atlanta, SpenDifference partners with restaurant companies to provide customized supply chain solutions. Its “Better Together” approach provides leverage, expertise and transparency to ensure supply chains delivers maximum value and support growth. It currently works with approximately two-dozen regional, national and international brands that represent more than $1.3 billion annually in purchasing. Visit for more information.

Ritter Communications
Brad Ritter