The Gazzola family has entrepreneurship in its DNA. A history that began in 1900 and achieved the creation of one of the most important business groups in the Country.
The Gazzola family is originally from Italy, where in 1852 Giuseppe Paolo Gazzola was born in the small town of Altivole, near Treviso. The son of Luigi Giovanni and Maria Teresa di Paolo Pilla, he married Luigia Pelizzaro, and they gave birth to Umberto Ângelo Gazzola in 1886.
The Italy-Brazil connection happened when Umberto arrived here, at six years of age. He married Julia Cozer Gazzola and they established themselves in Vila Maria, in the countryside of Rio Grande do Sul.
They had nine children, including Francisco Liberal Gazzola, married to Gema Viecili Gazzola. Years later, they took the first steps towards the creation of one of the most important entrepreneurial ventures in Brazil.
The entrepreneurial history of the Gazzola Family began in 1966, when Francisco Gazzola and Gema Gazzola left the countryside of Rio Grande do Sul to open a restaurant in Porto Alegre.
One of the unique traits of the enterprise ever since the beginning was the dedication to the clients, who were called by name and given personalized service according to their tastes and preferences. The family of Hermes Gazzola prospered in this environment.
Over time, Mr. Francisco was invited by a client to open a corporate restaurant to service the Sulina company employees. Since he was aware that is would be hard to manage both restaurants, he said no. So his son Hermes Gazzola, 21 years old at the time, accepted the challenge.
His parents were major encouragers. “Chico (in memoriam) and I always worked together to build an honest family with lots of love. When Hermes showed interest in the restaurant I said: ‘go ahead my son,’” said Ms. Gema.
In 1979, the young entrepreneur founded the Hermes Gazzola Company. With the success of the first 12 months of operations, he realized the potential for the type of business for the corporate segment and founded Refeições Puras, which later became Puras do Brasil Sociedade Anônima.
Founded in 1980 by Hermes Gazzola, Puras began in the corporate meals market, serving 30 meals a day for Companhia Sulina in Rio Grande do Sul.
Three decades later, as the result of bold growth initiatives, Puras was delivering over 1 million meals a day in over 365 cities. Thus, they reached sales of USD 700 million, becoming the leading national company in the industry.
Innovation, a sense of business development opportunity, and permanent management evolution marked the 30 years of Puras operations. Throughout its journey, Puras received important international certificates, such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, and ISO 22000.
Over the last 15 years, the company was managed professionally, relying on their Board of Directors and PWC audits.
In 2011, Puras was sold to French group Sodexo.
revenue (700 million dollars)
meals a day
cities in Brazil
annual growth (last 10 years)
units inside companies
units inside schools
units at sea – Leader in the offshore segment
Ever since being founded in the 1980s, Puras showed that the adoption of best management practices and market quality would define their business positioning.
The first practical result of this vision of the founder, Hermes Gazzola, was the creation of the GEP (Puras Style Management) document in 1986. At the same time he published the Puras Manual, known as the “Orange Book,” which helped align all the professionals with the company’s management philosophy.
Over the years, this effort helped create the identity of the FEP (Puras Business Philosophy). During this period, the company began to expand their operations, installing their corporate cafeterias in cities in the countryside of Rio Grande do Sul.
Puras innovated by adopting the restaurant concept in their operations, instead of a cafeteria, which dominated the market until that point. With the expansion process in Brazil, they began to reinforce the standardization of their processes.
In 1997, there was the first achievement of an international certification, ISO 9001, focusing on quality. Two years later it was ISO 14001 (Environment), a first in Brazil for this segment.
At the end of the decade, after receiving direct funding from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the corporate name was changed to Puras do Brasil Sociedade Anônima.
As a result of the maturation of their business management vision, Puras institutes Corporate Governance and establishes their Board of Directors. Within the operational strategy, Distribution Centers are opened in Rio Grande do Sul and in Amazonas.
In 2002, Puras creates Infrall, a facilities company that was formed to help client optimize their resources applied in installation management and operational support.
After the year 2000, the BNDES (National Social and Economic Development Bank) begins to support the expansion of Puras in Brazil.
During this same period another important fact occurs: the beginning of the Remote Site, when the company began to supply meals for professional that work on oil platforms of Petrobras and other international corporations, as well as clients installed in hard to access regions.
The company receives another certification, OHSAS 18001, for Workplace Health and Safety. In 2004, the Integrated Information System is implemented, connecting all the units online with the headquarters and central office. Two years later, the company begins operations in the field of school meals.
With decades of market operations, Puras reaches 2010 with a presence in 23 states and over one thousand business meal units and 27 educational units in Brazil. The revenue for the period reached BRL 1.26 billion, the result of an effort driven by the strength of 23 thousand professionals.
As a result of the efforts made in the professionalization of operations and management, the company achieves the Bronze and Silver Quality Prize for the Gaucho Quality and Productivity Program (PGQP), as well as a series of national recognition in areas such as people management, human resources, innovation, health, and corporate governance.
Puras is sold to the French group Sodexo. After the acquisition, Sodexo reached revenue levels of over BRL 2 billion and approximately 36 thousand employees.
2011 was the year of the sale for French group Sodexo. Between the options of launching an IPO or the company’s sale, we opted for the second option.
For the last 30 years of Puras we have been very happy. Our family, therefore, starts a new phase. Today, instead of an operation focused on the food segment, we are an investment company, with a clear strategy of where we want to go. This is just the beginning.