Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Marketing Guys-Vince Licata

Years ago I worked for Allied Sysco Foodservice. Allied doesn't' exist anymore.

Vince Licata (left) and Brian Meier discuss the "FAB" of Stockyards Precut Bone In Beef Tenderloin Steaks at the US Foodservice Product Showcase in San Ramon

Back then they were a machine. They hired about 120 people per year, 4 classes of about 30 people. The new hire backgrounds ranged from plumbers to restaurateurs and everything in between. Some of these people may still be employed in the food business today. (Would you like fries with your order? Pull forward please.)

My background came from my experience as a Journeyman Meatcutter at Diablo Foods in Lafayette. I knew meat. I did not know what a number 10 can was or what pre-soak or HACCP was back then.

Fortunately Allied ran a 7 week training program. They covered everything from product knowledge, selling skills, restaurant "prime costs", and industry food trends.

Our brand specialist was a gentleman named Vincent Licata. Vince very thoroughly explained the features advantages and benefits of the Sysco labeled products. My favorite story was of Pasta Labella. As the story went, DeCecco Pasta based in Italy purchased the finest Durham Semolina flour from the Dakota's here in the US. Then they shipped the Semolina to Italy, manufactured their pasta and shipped it back to the states for sale. Well..a group of smart Italians moved to the Dakotas and opened the American Italian Pasta Company, these were the manufacturers of Labella pasta. Just as good as DeCecco but at a better price point.

Vince ended up moving to US Foodservice before I did so when I arrived I asked him what to do about all my customers that were sold on the "FAB" of LaBella Pasta. It turns out that a contingency of the original group of "smart" Italian's moved across the street to open Dakota Growers, the manufacturer of Roseli Pasta (our brand, coincidentally)

Vince has moved on within the company and is now the Regional Sales Manager for the Eastern region of US Foodservice San Francisco, but I suspect at times he misses the marketing department and the opportunity to educate the sales force on the features, advantages and benefits of Monarch Garbanzo Beans versus Teasdale.

1 comment:

Vince Licata said...

Brian,

I appreciate your dedication to the Foodservice industry and your recollection of your past history is 100% accurate. As far a missing marketing, at times yes; once you've done it, it never leaves you. Selling and marketing in our business go hand in hand. Ciao.