Pecinka Ferri Set To Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Serving the Metro NY Foodservice Community
Metro New York’s restaurant and foodservice professionals and the equipment dealers and kitchen consultant that support them know that the key to staying ahead of the competition is finding resources that can provide solutions and strategies.
For the past three decades of the company’s 50-year existence, Ed Pecinka and Joe Ferri and their team have rallied around that commitment to build Pecinka Ferri and Associates.
Founded in 1972, Pecinka Ferri Associates is one of Metro New York’s leading manufacturers’ agents to the foodservice industry. Pecinka Ferri Associates represents internationally recognized brands by providing end-user knowledge and solutions, supporting dealers and consultants, and innovating marketing services in the greater New York Metro area.
The company was able to grow to the next level when Joe Ferri and Ed Pecinka teamed up over 25 years ago. “We changed the name 25 years ago when I bought out one of the heirs of a founder,” Ferri reflected. “Starting at that time from a basement of a house in Mineola, we grew the business by selectively and strategically partnering with synergistic manufacturers for the ensuing 25 years.”
The partners were faced with a once in a lifetime decision for their business in 2017. As they do now, Pecinka Ferri had a portfolio of companies that they represented from a wide range of manufacturers.
Among the offerings were several from Middleby Corp. Its visionary leader at the time, Selim Bassoul, saw consolidation to one local area rep for Middleby’s many lines as a must to grow market share. In a gut-wrenching decision based on the deep relationships that the Pecinka Ferri family had with many of its manufacturers, the company made the commitment to Middleby, and was still able to keep all but one of their independent
factories as well!
“It is part of a process that is evident in all areas of modern life, conglomerating at opposite ends of the spectrum, while weakening the middle,” Ferri explained. “We knew that we’d need to scale along with Middleby to increase the odds for passing a successful business to future generations.”
Beyond their competitive expertise in the sales and marketing of foodservice equipment, the duo has built an educational programming track that is simply unmatched in the Metro New York foodservice industry. Pecinka Ferri’s goal for their programming has been to help the foodservice professional utilize technology to get the most out of their labor force. “Even with the growth of e-commerce, the basics have not changed, noted Joe Ferri. We need to ask and understand what somebody needs and then help them get it. Technology is not going to replace people. Human touch is still going to be vital. We need to figure out a way to get hospitality back into the hospitality industry.”
When the company moved to its current headquarters in 2015, Pecinka and Ferri saw the opportunity to build a facility that could house and cultivate the commitment to education. With that the company hosts an annual sale of events that spans from Pizza Prep to the latest in Cocktail and Beverage menu strategies and a captivating look at the growth of Ventless and electric cooking.
“Pecinka Ferri & Associates puts education, relationship, and hospitality first”, noted Blodgett’s Stephanie Martin. “They continuously tell the stories of their brands to the dealers, consultants, and end users by way of demonstration and education all the while never forgetting the little things about each segment’s uniqueness.”
Among the keys to the value the Pecinka Ferri special event series is the ability of the company to continue to stay on top of the latest trends. “We have accomplished that by bringing along our next generation of leadership and adding top notch talent to both our outside sales team and our support staff,” added Joe Ferri. With an eye towards the future, Ferri and partner Ed Pecinka are molding Joe Ferri Jr and corporate chef Nick Mercogliano to take over the reins.
“Chef Nick, for example, attended and helped sell the ventless product portfolio at the Stadium & Arena conference in NYC in July,” noted Scott Heim President of EVO. His involvement helped ensure the decision makers of this growing selling segment understood how to create “pockets of revenue,” even in dead concourse spaces. Clearly, the Pecinka Ferri team is eager to learn and reinforce their overall product knowledge. The operators see them as a consulting resource to approach BEFORE any culinary program or concept gets to the final planning stage.”
The depth of their portfolio has enabled Pecinka Ferri to grow its team to support the needs of the customer base. “Our staff additions have been strategic, creating positions that never before existed (in rep organizations) in order to serve an ever-evolving customer base, Pecinka said. We’ve built a team that reflect our raison d’etre – the sales function is there to discover what people need and help them to get it. Through teaching we also become more adept at the subject matter ourselves.”
In order for the company to move forward, Ferri has carefully looked at how the role of the rep has evolved. “What we embarked upon in 2015 was really all about content curation and creation and event management. As a result of the industry shifting from analog to digital, we have added key marketing functions to that daily focus on outside sales. The days of updating our factories three ring binders has been replaced by creative digital marketing.”
“Whether it be cooking equipment, hot and cold holding, or beverage solutions, Pecinka Ferri has created programs to bring our customers together and work hands-on with the innovative Middleby technology that can drive their businesses to future success,” explained Mike Tagliaferri Director of Sales – Foodservice, Healthcare & International of Follett Products LLC
The foodservice kitchen and supply industry has like most segments seen big change as a result of the injection of technology. “E-Commerce has been a huge driver in the changes we’ve seen,” Pecinka added. “Content curation and event management are key initiatives for us. Our staff has grown threefold in the past three decades, a trend that is likely to accelerate!”
Understanding how to take tech trends and turn them into teaching points has become a pillar of the Pecinka Ferri strategy. In 2022, Middleby rolled out a new controller platform that enables remote control of a combi or a convection oven or a fryer. “Every product category will work off the same platform. Bottom line is that this will simplify the training process with simple IOS and SAAS technologies,” Pecinka noted.
The educational program has proven to be of great value to the Pecinka Ferri’s represented lines. “The open house events are a catalyst for bringing the Middleby brand teams to the Tri-State area,” added Heim. ”We are able to share new concepts and highlight new products with top FCSI designers, kitchen equipment suppliers and even high-profile operators too. In particular, they do an outstanding job featuring the ventless equipment innovations and demonstrate the new cooking solutions with skilled culinary personnel.”
“The rep role has really evolved in the last decade, as the reps have really stepped up their game and become the experts in their marketplace,” explained Jade’s VP of Sales & Marketing Phil Eaton. “Consultants, dealers, and end users no longer have to visit factories for education, the factory is in essence coming to them as reps have built test kitchens, education facilities in their territories. The relationships the reps build are very strong and they are viewed as the experts in the territories.”
The accomplishment of Pecinka Ferri’s 50th anniversary truly celebrates its ability to continue to help its industry and community look towards the future. That has been accomplished by carefully responding to change. Ferri sees several key changes in the industry as a result of two years of Pandemic life. “Sanitation will continue to be a priority as we move forward, Ferri noted. Features like touchless and virtual are here to stay. Much of that has to do with how we now produce food through new concepts including ghost kitchens. It’s all about the foodservice operator having agility to pivot based their
dining customer needs.”
With that passion to listen to those needs and guide with education, Pecinka Ferri certainly has positioned itself for the next 50 years.
For more information on Pecinka Ferri, please visit their website
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