Home / About Us / History

Around 1944, Carter Hoffmann started his business in a welding shop that he set up in his garage in Chicago. Known as Blessing-Hoffmann, Carter’s fledgling company specialized in stainless steel fabrication of a myriad of products, from distillery equipment to dairy processing equipment and even dog cages. In 1947, the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago approached Carter about creating heated carts to hold meals for large banquet service.

The banquet cart was born, and Carter jumped into the foodservice industry without looking back. He changed the company name to Carter-Hoffmann by the late 50’s. Fun fact: By hyphenating his first and last name he thought it would make the company appear larger and more established.

Booming Post-WWII Era

Carter-Hoffmann developed a complete line of heated and refrigerated food transport “Carters” to support the growing banquet business for hotels and banquet operations in the booming post-WWII economy.

When Carter retired, his son Cliff took the helm as CEO and in 1973, took on a new partner and president, Phil Hartung. With his background in sales and marketing, Phil concentrated on making Carter-Hoffmann a well-known global brand for quality and durability and the company developed a complete line of equipment for healthcare foodservice.

Innovation Holds

In the early 90’s Carter-Hoffmann developed and rolled out a precise humidified holding cabinet for McDonald’s. In 1993, the company earned FCSI’s Award for Innovation for this achievement. A number of innovations for food holding equipment for restaurants followed, including modular holding cabinets and Crisp ‘N Hold fry stations.

Into the 2000s

In 1999, Specialty Equipment Companies acquired Carter-Hoffmann to expand its product line, as well as its position in the hotel hospitality market. Soon thereafter, in 2000, United Technologies purchased Specialty Equipment Companies and Carter-Hoffmann became a division of Carrier Commercial Refrigeration along with several other recognized foodservice equipment brands such as Wells, Bloomfield, Taylor and Beverage-Air.

Joining the Middleby Brand Family

In 2006, Carter-Hoffmann joined the Middleby family of companies. Recent developments under Middleby’s stewardship include microgreen growing cabinets, dry aging refrigerators and our newest innovation, PUC smart order pick-up lockers.

A History Of Quality

Throughout our 75-year history, Carter-Hoffmann has maintained its entrepreneurial roots, focusing development on products with the customer in mind. We have built a reputation as a company devoted to customers, and quickly respond to their needs and changing requirements.

Products include a full line of food holding, transporting and specialty equipment for many segments of the foodservice industry, including restaurants, hospitality, healthcare, schools, colleges & universities, B&I and corrections.

Responding to our customers’ needs is what Carter-Hoffmann is all about.

Sales and marketing work with engineering and to create innovative products to solve customers’ operational problems. It is the key to Carter-Hoffmann’s success in making new products and introducing them to the marketplace.