Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Vendor Spotlight: Samuels and Sons Seafood

Recently, members of the Black Restaurant Group (BRG) team were invited to tour the facilities of Samuels and Sons Seafood, which is located in Philadelphia, PA and nestled within a Mike Schmidt homer of the Philadelphia sport's teams complex.  We weren't sure what to expect.  We knew Samuels was a large company servicing many regions, while continuously looking to expand.  We also knew that they offered attentive, hands-on services with excellent quality seafood options.  It's very difficult to accomplish both of these things under one roof, but somehow Samuels is doing it and we were there to find out how.

Upon entering we were greeted with a state of the art test kitchen where a professional chef uses a revolving seafood inventory so large that it would make Poseidon blush.  Here, delicious seafood concoctions are created to educate staff, especially those in sales, so that they are able to intelligently advise the most discerning customers (read here chefs) on what is running strong and how those items may be utilized.

Walking through the giant facility, it was apparent right away that cleanliness is an active priority for the company's staff.  Though thousands of pounds of seafood lay inventoried, only the sweet smell of the ocean wafted through our olfactory senses.  The cutting room floors were spotless and reminded me more of a surgical operating room than a fillet house.
Cutting Room Display Tuna 
So how does Samuels keep an active eye on each client and give each one of its customers the individual attention they command?  Without giving away all their secrets, I can comment on a couple of initiatives I found creative and progressive.  Instead of one person working with an account, Samuels employs teams of sales staff to assist each account.  It isn't just lip service either, each person on the team had a vested interest in taking care of each team member's customer, ensuring that each account had many eyes on its products and services.  It was also refreshing to see sales staff not buckled down behind desks away from the seafood they were selling.  Sales staff was expected to assist in the loading of trucks every morning, getting a first hand view of what their customers were ordering.  In fact, moving boxes of fresh fish was actually the highlight of most of the sales staff's day and, overall, it seemed as if the process of getting the seafood out each day was a united team effort of everyone working in the company.  You got the feeling that even though you have this huge company where everyone had a specific task, it was everyone's concern that the right fish got to the right people.

That's where over a hundred years of success comes from.  The group effort of a well orchestrated team working with a united goal of serving great seafood is why we offer Samuels and Sons Seafood.  Samuels may grow tenfold in the coming years, but it's the attention to detail and the small company hands on service that will keep them rooted in their artisanal ideals and successful principles.

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