Friday, October 31, 2008

People & Service That Make Vienna Beef A Cut Above; Jim Locaciato & Keith Smith

In the world of Hot Dogs and Chicago Style food items Vienna Beef continues as number 1 in almost every ones mind. Since 1894 Vienna Beef has been known as the maker of some of the finest products in the food industry. What they're also known for is their support of their retailers in whatever way necessary to help ensure the success of the business's. Many a small Mom and Pop Hot Dog stand has become legendary, especially in Chicago (see "Never Put Ketchup On a Hot Dog" by Bob Swartz, 2008) as a result of the help and support provided by Vienna Beef and their family of employee's.

Here at SkagenHus our experience has been no different. As a retailer we're often speaking with sales reps from multiple companies regarding products we know little about to begin with. The most helpful reps are those that share product info from their experiences and from others in their companies who know. In small business, product information is vital to success. We need to know what sells and which products are made well. Nothing turns off customers faster then poor products and nothing turns off retailers faster then products which don't sell.

Today we had the opportunity to consult with Jim Lacaciato, Vienna Beefs resident guru on all things food and food industry. The consult was set up by Keith Smith, Vienna Beef's Marketing Executive. Keith came to us, unsolicited, and asked if we'd like the help. When you understand how small we are in comparison to many of Vienna Beefs clients you begin to understand how amazing the offer was and how valuable the service is.

Jim, according to Keith, is one of Vienna's top minds on product as well as food service delivery systems. In our meeting with Jim we found Keith's perspective professionally understated as Jim was a veritable font of knowledge and invaluable in his help. Aside from his basic good guy demeanor and his experience, he was a true pleasure to speak with and be with. As a retailer we couldn't have asked for anything more.

We'll be putting Jim's ideas and suggestions to work immediately. And the feeling of support we received from Vienna Beef through Jim and Keith's efforts will always make Vienna Beef number 1 in our minds in terms of product knowledge and total customer support. Thank you both for all the help and encouragement!

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