Founded: Family business 1921, food business 1974

Privately Owned

Employees: 500

Balancing innovation with tradition, Tony Taddonio and family keep McDonalds customers in the dough, to the tune of 30 million dozen buns a year

It all started with his grandfather delivering food from horse and a wagon in Denver.

“Now we are a wholesale distribution and manufacturer for fast food and fast-casual restaurants,” says Tony Taddonio, chief executive officer of Mile Hi Foods.

The company is the evolution of what was once Mile Hi Fruit & Vegetable Company, which was founded in 1946 as a supplier of fresh produce to all types of restaurants in the Denver area. What began as delivering potatoes to McDonalds for French fries, has developed into a bakery partnership with the fast food chain.

“It is a lot of hard work, but worth it,” says Taddonio.

Mile Hi Foods was established and dedicated as the exclusive distributor to McDonald’s in the Rocky Mountain Region, which includes 363 restaurants covering eight states. Mile Hi Foods’ partnership with McDonald’s spans over a half a century.

“That is a lot of dough,” says Taddonio. “We make 5,000 dozen buns every hour and our production projection is 30 million dozen a year.”

Traveling over four million miles a year for delivery and distribution requires an extensive, distribution fleet. In 1973, TMT Trucking was established as a contract carrier with a forty-eight state authority for interstate transportation. “TMT is our over-the-road, trucking division,” says Taddonio.

“Mile Hi is a family business and a legacy,” says Taddonio, of the Mile Hi umbrella of companies, which includes Mile Hi Foods, Mile Hi Bakery, the Taddonio Family Foundation and Mile Hi Specialty Foods (provides consolidated distribution to over 1,100 restaurants in the Rocky Mountain Region and mid South).

Daughters Kristy Taddonio Mullins, President of Mile Hi Foods, and Toni Taddonio Brenzikofer, President of the Foundation, successfully represent the current generation of the Taddonio Colorado company.

“We were born and raised in Colorado,” says Taddonio. “It is ideal for us as we are centrally located and in the golden triangle for wheat, which is perfect for a bakery.”

The new, 125,000 square foot, state of-the-art bakery is LEED certified, highly automated and has meet rigid criteria for its environmentally sound initiatives and construction. “We don’t waste,” says Toni.

“We built a new bakery to attract new business,” says Taddonio. “We are innovative and have plans for new products, such as artesian rolls. At the same time, I really believe in traditions and think that is a part of our success.”

“We currently employ 26 different families,” says Toni.

Toni oversees the Taddonio Family Foundation for Mile Hi. “It is one of the unique parts of our giving.”

The non-profit foundation was created to further enhance and focus specifically on the ability to serve the needs of children. Annually hosting a signature golf tournament, sponsoring children camps, gaining marathon sponsorships, and various contributions to children’s activities; the Taddonio Family also delivers unused food to over 25 organizations.

“They make the money and I give it away to the right people,” says Toni of the Foundation’s dedication to support children and families in need.

Taddonio says Mile Hi is a Colorado manufacturer here to stay. “We are an Italian family business, and we are in it for the long haul,” says. Taddonio.

Challenges: “Some of our challenges include controlling costs, continuing to be innovative and creative for customers and keeping the market share,” says Taddonio.

Opportunities: “We have a good reputation and a great product which has served us well for over 58 years,” says Taddonio when discussing the opportunities with new product development.

Needs: “You can’t run any business without people,” says Taddonio. “People don’t get a degree to become a baker. We want to continue to attract good people.”