Hall of Fame

Recognizing individuals who have contributed to the good of the industry throughout their career.


FE&S 2024 Hall of Fame Award Winner: Rick Post

Proof of Concept: Mentoring Matters

Rick Post at one of his favorite restaurants, Canyon in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.Rick Post at one of his favorite restaurants, Canyon in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Photos by Scott McIntyreAs with so many others in foodservice, Rick Post got a taste of the business early on. His father, originally a dairyman, influenced his brother to open a retail chain of ravioli stores in the New York metropolitan area in the 1960s. Today, the Pastosa Ravioli chain still operates in that region with 10-plus stores. Post got his first job at the age of 16 working in the Brooklyn Pastosa store, and he soon progressed to overseeing the opening of new stores. At Pastosa, he learned a work ethic that still impacts everything he does: the importance of taking responsibility for your work — in other words, owning it. “Ownership for me is probably the key ingredient in any successful person,” he says. “If you own it, you’re going to be successful. That’s always been my mantra.”

Post received an associate degree from the College of Staten Island. Next, he attended Brooklyn College, where he studied business administration and marketing, but had to drop out due to the death of his father. In 1977, upon meeting his future wife Darlene, Post says, “I realized that there was more than working seven days a week and sleeping on flour bags in the basement because I was too tired to go home.” Three years later, Darlene’s father found him a job as an assistant manager working for the management company that operated the cafeteria for the Avon Products cosmetics company in New York City. Of note, Post adds, “I really didn’t know anything about foodservice.”

Post deems that job his official launching pad into foodservice. There, he worked his way up to district manager and eventually an executive leadership role for a series of companies that were acquired by Sodexo. After roughly 18 months into his role at Sodexo, Mike Bailey, CEO of Compass Group, knocked on his door — literally. “He knocked on my door and said, ‘I’ve got a great opportunity for you to come and join our team,” Post says. “I actually turned him down.”

Rick Post making mozzarella at a client’s locationRick Post making mozzarella at a client’s locationBailey was undaunted and returned to present Post with a golden opportunity. “He came back with Rudi Flik from Flik International [which Compass Group acquired in 1995] and said, ‘Now you’ve got to come because you are going to be Rudi Flik’s successor.’” The challenge appealed to Post. “It’s one thing to take a business and fix it, but the real challenge is if you have a great business, and you make it even better. I don’t think there’s anything better than that,” Post admits. He assumed the presidency of Flik International in 1997 and, working closely with the company’s founders, Rudi and Julie Flik, grew the business substantially.

Two years later, Post was promoted to president and CEO of Compass Group’s business and industry sector. By 2007, Post was appointed CEO of Contract Foodservices, overseeing all of Compass Group’s various contract divisions, such as healthcare and education. In 2014, he was named chief operating officer of Contract Foodservices.

Post credits his success partly to a rather unorthodox way of building relationships with his clients. “A lot of people spend time on the golf course to build relationships,” he says. “I’m not a golfer. I would tell my clients, ‘I’m not going to golf with you, but I’m going to be in your business to make it better,’ and that’s what I did.” That working style paid off, both for him and Compass Group. “Before you knew it, I went from one cafeteria at Avon Products to running close to $9 billion worth of business,” Post says.

Post describes a major part of his job as nurturing the companies he worked with — not just external clients — but internal Compass Group companies as well. Those internal companies include many of Compass Group’s high-profile acquisitions, such as Wolfgang Puck Catering and Restaurant Associates, each with its own market niche. Leveraging the concept of market segmentation gave Compass Group a competitive edge, Post says. For example, “if you wanted to be more retail, we would line you up at one of our divisions that specialized in retail,” he says. That helped the company through a substantial period of growth in North America, culminating in 2023 fiscal year revenues of slightly more than $26 billion.

Gary Green, CEO of Compass Group North America, who Post has been working with for more than 20 years, pays Post and his leadership skills the highest tribute by saying, “He’s as responsible for that amazing success as anybody else on the planet.”

Working Relationships

Post’s current title at Compass Group is an unusual one: chief relationship officer. As the pandemic eased, Post went to Compass Group executives and gave them this analogy: “When your runway is shorter in front of you than it is behind you, the most important asset you have in life is time,” he says. Translation: After being on the road for many years, he wanted to spend more time with his family, specifically his wife, four children and five grandchildren.

While he wanted to slow down, Post was not so keen on the idea of ending his career entirely. “I didn’t like the word ‘retirement’ because retirement means the end. And I’m not ready for the end yet,” he says. “I wanted to transition to something where I can continue to work with the on-site teams whom I’ve mentored over the years to make sure they could be successful for years to come — and that means clients too.”

Compass Group didn’t want him to leave quite yet either. Post agreed to stick around with the condition that his role would be to help influence the business with a title that others would deem important enough to pay attention. The word “officer” fit the bill for Post, which is exactly how the role of chief relationship officer for Compass Group was born. Today, Post says he is not only building relationships with clients but also nurturing the people he has been working with for years. “If they need to call me for executive counseling, they can call or meet me for a cup of coffee anytime,” he says. “Or they’ll call me to come in and help with new business or business retention.”

Proof of Concept: Mentoring Matters

Say the name Enrico Postiglione to someone in foodservice, and they might very well greet you with a blank stare. But say the name Rick Post, and they’ll recognize who you’re talking about immediately — and most likely have a smile on their face. Over the course of a career that spans more than 40 years in the foodservice industry, Rick Post’s history of success debunks the “nice guys finish last” theory. For a lifetime of service to the industry, Rick Post, chief relationship officer at Compass Group North America, is the recipient of the 2024 FE&S Hall of Fame Award.

Post in the private dining room at Val + Tino,  Fort Lauderdale, Fla.Post in the private dining room at Val + Tino, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

A Wider View

Post has always brought a broader sense of responsibility to his work. Warren Thompson, chairman and CEO of Thompson Hospitality, says that Post has “always been ahead of the curve in the industry, whether it was sustainability, DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] or instilling in managers the importance of ownership.”

Rick Post’s (premature) retirement announcement
Rick Post’s (premature) retirement announcementThompson first met Post in 1997 when his firm, a minority-owned company, formed a strategic partnership with Compass Group. “When we formed the partnership, DEI didn’t exist in corporate America,” Thompson says. “We saw the value of putting this relationship together and offering it to the client.”

Thompson also cites Post’s involvement in the Compass Community Councils as a further example of his dedication to expanding the industry. The councils, which take place in different locations across the country, provide an opportunity for employees to exchange best practices. “When Rick started that 15 years ago, we started with a meeting of 30 to 40 people,” Thompson says. “Now we have 800 to 1,000 people. His impact will continue long after his retirement.”

Mentoring has been an important part of Post’s career. He takes pride in the fact that he is still in contact with some of the people he worked with at the Avon Products cafeteria in the 1980s. “I don’t think there’s anything more rewarding in life than to impact people’s lives in ways that are so positive that you could look back and share their successes together,” Post says.

Marc Fuchs, executive vice president at Singer M. Tucker, which is part of foodservice equipment dealer Singer Equipment Company, has witnessed Post’s mentoring prowess firsthand. “Rick has really established himself as somebody who has been a proponent to helping younger people grow within organizations,” he says. “I think mentoring for him is probably as satisfying an experience as anything.”

Another mission close to Post’s heart is his industry involvement in the Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management (SHFM). The organization provided an opportunity for Post to share common ground with competitors and clients. “We became a community. We took off our competitive hats, and we all worked together.” His years of serving on the SHFM board earned him the Jay B. Silverstein Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

In 2007, Post received the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association’s Silver Plate Award. He also served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the hospitality school of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., in 2005.

Outside of his continued industry involvement, Post is a confirmed beach bum. “I grew up on the beach, down the Jersey shore. I love to fish off the ocean,” he says. “When I told my kids I was stepping down from chief operating officer,” he laughs, “they bought me a hat that reads CTO: Chief Tanning Officer.”

No matter what the hat says, color the foodservice industry better thanks to Post’s mentoring, work ethic and one-of-a-kind personality. 

A Lasting Impact

A highlight from Post’s career: the annual HBO premiere party for “The Sopranos” at Restaurant AssociatesA highlight from Post’s career: the annual HBO premiere party for “The Sopranos” at Restaurant AssociatesPerhaps the clearest way to understand the impact that Rick Post has had on the foodservice industry is to listen to those who’ve worked for him and with him. 

“The Compass story is quite amazing, and Rick’s been a mainstay of that. When he walks in the room, he makes an impression straightaway. I don’t use the word ‘legend’ frequently, but he is literally a legend.”

—Gary Green
Compass Group North America

“Rick epitomizes the positive parts of this industry. He’s always looking at the best in everything, in everybody. I think there’s not a person in this industry that he’s touched that hasn’t been positively impacted.”

—Marc Fuchs
Singer M. Tucker

“He’s a visionary. He’s always looking ahead of the curve. The impact that Rick has had on Compass Group and the industry is something that will continue. That’s the ultimate testament to anyone’s success: the legacy they will leave behind.”

—Warren Thompson
Thompson Hospitality

Throwback to 1988 Rick Post: here, he is making a presentation to his team.Throwback to 1988 Rick Post: here, he is making a presentation to his team.

From Enrico Postiglione to Rick Post

Rick Post’s “work name” is in some ways a tribute to his mother. After his father passed away, his mother Ann needed to go back to work to support her six children. She got a job at an insurance company as a file clerk, Post says, “but nobody could pronounce her name correctly. So, she said, ‘Just call me Ann Post.’ Well, three years later, she became an executive vice president. I said, ‘You know what? If it worked for Ann Post, it’ll work for Rick Post.’ So that’s why I go by Rick Post.”

Family Influencer

Rick Post’s work-life balance mantra today means more time with his wife of 43 years, Darlene, in addition to his children: two daughters, Danene and Deanna, and two sons, Ricky and Doug. Five grandchildren round out the family tribe.

The Postiglione family:  Doug, Ricky, Rick, Darlene, Deanna and Danene.The Postiglione family: Doug, Ricky, Rick, Darlene, Deanna and Danene.Both of Post’s sons are following in their father’s footsteps by working for Compass Group. Ricky Postiglione serves as the experience director for Eurest, and Doug Postiglione is regional operations manager for Gourmet Dining.

Ricky Postiglione says his father never directly steered him toward the industry or Compass Group.
“I actually went to school for hotel and resort management,” he says. “I wasn’t even going for foodservice. After four years with a hotel company, I was introduced to Compass Group.” He also does not believe his father will ever fully retire. “He’s way too passionate about the foodservice industry to ever step away. He wants to see everyone he has helped and groomed throughout his career flourish and be successful as well.”

Ricky Postiglione also notes that his father always left work-related conversations at the office. “He always went straight into family time when he came home. It was never really about work. But he always tells me to work hard, to always network, to be loyal and honest, to have integrity and just always do the right thing.”