How It All Started

We (Ron & Connie Ellefson) opened the first Liberty Food Service cafeteria in Cherokee, Iowa in 1987. Our experience in the food industry began long before then.  Ron served as an Army cook and worked as a restaurant manager for a variety of chain restaurants. We owned several Country Kitchen restaurants and steak houses giving us a solid foundation in the food service industry.

Because of our experience in restaurant ownership, we realized we would be able to install our own kitchen equipment into industrial facilities that currently had only vending machines. We could provide hot fresh meals to the customer. When we opened our first Liberty cafeteria we did not dream of expanding. Soon after we opened, the plant population went from about 600 people to around 300 people due to a plant layoff. We realized that we would need to add other locations if we were going to survive in this industry. In 1988 we opened our next cafeteria in a meat packing plant of 1200 people.

Word traveled at the prospect of a company that would be willing to bring in equipment and serve good fresh homemade food. Liberty takes pride in knowing we were one the first pioneers to offer equipment investment in business and industry cafeterias. Liberty Food Service now serves approximately 30,000 meals every day to guests in 11 states.

What does our phrase, motto, slogan: “Liberty Food Service: A People Company” mean to us and to the people we serve?

  1. We will serve good, safe food quickly
  2. We will maintain a safe and clean environment
  3. We will give cheerful, affirming service
  4. We will give good value
  5. We will provide pleasant atmosphere-more like a mall café court

Liberty Food Service continues to look toward the future. We were one of the first to invest in establishments and bring fresh food, attractive café courts and dining areas to industrial cafeteria settings; and we are striving to lead the way with new ideas. Liberty is made up of people who care and are committed keeping up with our ever-changing world of technology and new food trends. We have a blend of new leaders and established veterans that give our company a balance for stability and growth.

Liberty is a company committed to giving back to the customers in which we serve. We have no professional or business interests other than satisfying our host facilities. Whether it is daily facility functions, picnics, or small to large caterings, our goal is to serve.

– Connie E., LFS President


First Grand Opening Prize 1987. A brand new TV!


Early Vending Machine Line 1988