Humble Beginnings
  • John Payiavlas purchases Automatic Vendors, a company with 30 vending machines
  • He personally serviced accounts in the morning from a makeshift warehouse in his home garage, then working from noon to close in his restaurant, the Village Café
  • After a few years, John transforms a local bowling alley into a second warehouse for Automatic Vendors
  • He utilizes the warehouse to assemble fresh food sandwiches for his vending machines


Foundation Building
  • ​John purchases Gretchen Plaza and expands into a Headquarters Service Center building and a Culinary Support Center
  • The company begins to create fresh food from scratch
  • John’s two children, Anthony and Patrice (Patsy) join the company with lessons of hard work from sweeping floors to making sandwiches in addition to helping their father manage parts of the business with integrity


  • Automatic Vendors, Inc. changes their name to AVI Foodsystems to better align with its services
  • AVI expands services to five states
  • John hires professional chefs to help cultivate his fresh food philosophy
  • AVI obtains its first business dining accounts, still focused on fresh, scratch-made recipes


  • Culinary Support Center produces 100,000 units of production a day
  • Investment in PocketSwab technology to drive and maintain the highest food sanitation standards
  • Opens AVI Institute of Vending Equipment Technology to service equipment internally
  • Business dining revenue continues to soar


Strategic Planning
  • John Payiavlas is inducted into the Inside Business Hall of Fame
  • Company logo is updated
  • AVI’s introduces AVI Fresh to its Education division to focus on procurement from local farms and sustainability
  • AVI’s healthcare and patient dining services takes off
  • 1/3 of our ingredients are coming from local farms and suppliers, AVI’s service at Kenyon College becomes a model for sustainability
  • Additions to the Headquarters Service Center are completed
  • Anthony Payiavlas is named President and CEO; Patsy is named Vice Chair


Industry Leader
  • AVI Introduces Leisure and Entertainment as a new division
  • AVI invests and breaks-ground on a new 84-room hotel in California, PA
  • AVI Introduces Market C micro markets and has more than 300 stores by the end of the decade
  • AVI acquires Sanese Services, based in Columbus, OH
  • AVI ranked 6th largest foodservice company in the U.S. by Restaurant News


Seizing the Day
  • Seized opportunities for growth and expansion
  • Revolutionized our processes and food safety measures to continue providing our services as seamless as possible
  • Gained Amazon as a client, serving over 400 locations
  • AVI now provides services in over 47 states with over 8,500 team members


The AVI Vision

How are we going to be judged in the world?

To be known as the company that provides total customer satisfaction, total value and exceeds the expectations of all those we serve.

The AVI Mission

What are we going to do now and into the future.

To be America’s food service leader by passionately focusing upon excellence in product, service and relationships and by being the most innovative and exciting influence in the industry. To partner with our customers, guests, vendors and team members and profitably provide the highest possible value and most inventive and meaningful solutions for our customers.

AVI's Core Values

Our culture. What we believe in. What we live by.

We honor truth, fairness, and honesty above all else and treat integrity as a constant and absolute.


We honor truth, fairness, and honesty above all else and treat integrity as a constant and absolute.

We are committed to excellence in all we do, in our professional lives as well as in our personal lives. We treat excellence as a way of life in the delivery of our product, our service and our relationships.

We reach outward into the unknown to identify new and better ways of doing things and bringing products and services to market in ways others only dream of.

We seek to strengthen the bonds that exist between each of us, built upon faith, trust, esteem and respect. Our goal is to build meaningful relationships with all those whose lives we touch…our customers, guests, team members, vendors and business partners.

We serve our own cause best by placing the interests of others first. And we dedicate ourselves to providing an atmosphere and environment where every person is able to reach his or her maximum potential and contribution. We respect every person and value the uniqueness of each individual.

We are world citizens and because of this we endeavor to create meaningful relationships with the communities and institutions we are a part of, our nation and our world.

We treat every guest and customer as the most important guest and customer in all the world.

As a family-owned and operated business, we especially value the relationship that every team member has with his or her family and we seek to preserve, cultivate and nurture this bond.

All we do, we do with fervor, delight, excitement and enthusiasm.

With each business relationship, a plan is established for the mutual benefit of our customer and ourselves. We are accountable to meet or exceed the plan and deliver positive results for both parties, day to day, on an ongoing basis.

Our Founder: John A Payiavlas

To appreciate the culture and success of AVI, one must truly come to know and understand our visionary founder, John Payiavlas. John’s mindset from the very beginning focused on what he considered “life’s reward system.” Integrity. Putting others first. Exceeding expectations. Excellence. Today, these tenets and ideals are found in the culture of our company.

A son of immigrants, John grew up in a working-class family with hopes of realizing the American dream. His successful journey in food service began when he and two friends opened and operated a local diner, the Village Café, in their small hometown of Warren, Ohio. It was there, a frequent customer presented John an opportunity to purchase a very small vending company known as Automatic Vendors. His decision to seize the opportunity would later result in America’s largest family owned and operated food service company.

From the beginning, he was determined to make his business a success. Insisting on absolutely no shortcuts, he differentiated himself from the competition by providing homemade “from scratch” fresh foods for the refrigerated vending machines he serviced. He worked around the clock responding to the needs and requests of each customer, often before they were even asked.

The birth of his two children, Patrice (Patsy) and Anthony, coincided with the start of his new business venture. John worked passionately, nurturing his family and new business. He involved his children from the beginning, instilling the family values and work ethic they continue to uphold.

AVI truly became a family business… and the business became a part of the family. Patsy and Anthony learned the business from the ground up by preparing sandwiches, sweeping floors and assisting their father in the office. Those experiences were an education in the AVI way. They were taught that success is a result of treating people the right way.

As the children grew, so did the business. In the mid-1980s, AVI added enhanced business dining and catering services and entered new geographic markets as its reputation continued to grow. Soon, AVI began services at colleges and universities, healthcare facilities and sports/leisure complexes. We now serve some of the most widely known and recognized businesses, universities, healthcare and leisure facilities in the world.

Today, AVI has become the largest independently owned and operated food service company in America. Family values, a strong work ethic and dedication to customer needs continue to permeate through thousands of team members in every facet of the business. As Chairman of the board, John remains actively involved while his children lead the organization with the same enthusiasm, commitment and vision.

OUR PRESIDENT AND CEO | Anthony J. Payiavlas

As AVI celebrates over 60 years of providing food and hospitality services, we are extraordinarily proud of our accomplishments and thank each and every team member, client, customer and our communities for contributing to our success. It has been a journey our family never expected when my father started the company in 1960. Every day, I am enthusiastic and excited to continue our journey to become known as the company that provides total customer satisfaction, total value and exceeds the expectations of all those we serve. On behalf of the AVI family, I thank you for your interest in our company.