When Kinder’s got its start as a family business in Northern California in 1946, it was born as a one-unit meat market. But over the ensuing decades, the company developed strong roots in the region and expanded its footprint. Today, Kinder’s branded products are poised to make an impact on a national level. “We believe we’ll start to become a national player this year,” says Beth McDonald, head of product and brand development. “We have some very strong partnerships and relationships that have developed that are on the cusp of closing for national distribution.”

When visiting any type of foodservice establishment, most customers expect quality in every as­pect of the experience. At a restaurant, for example, patrons expect the waitstaff to be perfectly attentive, hope the food will delight the taste buds and assume every square inch of the establishment will be clean and sanitary. If any part of the operation seems dirty or unsanitary, it’s most likely that customers will go away with a negative opinion.

Established in 1960 as a butcher shop known locally for square burger patties and beef barbecue, in recent years JTM has built a national reputation as a high-quality supplier of a broad range of better-tasting, healthier foods. It also has evolved into an efficient food production organization for a variety of markets.

The Horton family’s experience in the Canadian spice business extends back more than a century to Cecil Horton’s introduction to spice grinding in 1909. Horton’s son, Tom, and grandson, Tom Jr., have continued that tradition through Horton Spice Mills, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Feb. 28, 2012.

Customer loyalty is key to brand success. Many times, a customer’s affinity for a certain product can even outweigh the cost factor when selecting between comparable brands. Customer loyalty, however, is not easily gained, and with one wrong move it can be easily lost. But Holsum Bakers of Puerto Rico has worked hard to maintain this loyalty. 

For some coffee companies, dealing with the end-user might seem like an unnecessary hassle that is not worth the trouble. But for Grupo Britt N.V., it is the only way of doing business, CEO Pablo E. Vargas says. “We have to do something different,” he says. “We have to get the end-consumer close to the coffee producer, similar to what happens [in] the wine industry.”

Bob Chinn offers a humble response when asked why he feels his restaurant has been such a success over its long history. “I never gave it much thought,” says Chinn, whose self-named crab house in Wheeling, Ill., celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. “I just work day-to-day and try to make each day better than yesterday.”

The business world is not short on stories about manufacturers that got started in their founder’s home garage, a construction worker starting with one hammer and a few nails that grew into a multimillion-dollar operation, and restaurants with concepts that were developed in their creators’ kitchens. The Slap Ya Mama brand of Cajun products takes that notion even further – the origins of its business involve rolling a large pickle jar around on the kitchen floor. 

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