SALINAS, Calif. — With an eye on expanding its foodservice operations, Dole Food Co. Inc. has created a executive position at Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc. and promoted Rick Bravo to fill it.

Bravo, who has served as vice president of commodity sales for seven years, has been named vice president of foodservice sales.

“This position will allow Dole to expand its strengths in foodservice sales,” said Eric Schwartz, president of Dole Fresh Vegetables. “We’ve always been in foodservice, but we haven’t had a strong presence.”

But Dole is looking to change that, he said.

In late June, the company installed packing equipment to handle more bagged salads in both its Yuma, Ariz., and Soledad, Calif., plants, Schwartz said.

“Foodservice is important, and we want to focus more on it,” Schwartz said. “The reason we asked Rick is that he’s been on the Dole commodity side for 20 years and vice president there for the past seven years. We’re taking a proven entity on the commodity side and asking him to boost foodservice.”

Dole also is recruiting personnel to fill several senior positions to allow regional sales coverage, Schwartz said. With expanded sales opportunities in foodservice, the company should benefit from a higher level of management presence, he said.

Kevin Fiori, vice president of sales for Dole Fresh Flowers division in Miami, will succeed Bravo at Dole Fresh Vegetables as vice president of commodity sales.

A Dole employee since 1979, Fiori is expected to provide a smooth transition based on his past work as vice president of sales and marketing for Dole’s North American Fruit organization and as vice president of sales and marketing for Dole Citrus.