In 1984, Joel Schonfeld saw an opportunity. Although New York City restaurants served mostly Italian and French Bread when celebrity chefs started opening up shop they sought diverse options to get a leg up on their competition. “Bread became part of the equation of having a better restaurant than down the block,” says Schonfeld. After delivering bread out of a Honda hatchback for two years, a time when Schonfeld says he did not sleep, the business began to take off. In the thirty-two years since, Featherstone Foods has 28 routes covering a two-hour radius from the Bronx including deliveries to Philadelphia, Montauk and Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort in Connecticut.
For the past ten years Featherstone has been growing at a fifteen to twenty percent clip annually with their seven-day a week business and a wide range of customers. Now they mostly deal wholesale to large hotels, offering products from twenty-five bakeries in the metropolitan area.
A premier example of what Featherstone has to offer comes in the form of a story from Schonfeld about his work with the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. “The director told me he was on the phone all day buying from nine bakeries! They have a green initiative and don’t want trucks pulling up all day. So we were able to get them everything they needed with one phone call, one delivery and one invoice.” This aided their green initiative, simplified the process for the director and eased the strain on the accounting team at the hotel. They add bakeries on an as needed basis but twenty-five gives hotels and foodservice operations unrivaled variety and simplicity in ordering.
On a daily basis Featherstone also supplies thirty-six Whole Foods in the area who want that simplicity but also the newest baked goods that the bakeries have to offer. “Whole Foods wants to bring in all of the newest product without calling nine different bakeries. We bring them what they need without the hassle.”
Not only does Featherstone simplify the foodservice operations they supply but also the bakeries they represent. “We save each bakery driver’s accidents, insurance, receivables, workman’s comp, aggravation, all of it” says Schonfeld. Featherstone wants bakeries to focus on what they do best, which is manufacture great products. “Leave the distribution to us, it is what we do well.” Featherstone has maintained long-standing relationships with some of their bakeries for over twenty-five years, such as Amy’s Bread and Eli’s Bread.
Featherstone also started a program almost two years ago called Sesame Distribution where they will distribute for bakeries they do not represent for commission. They can meld those deliveries with other stops around or outside the city that they are making for their own bakeries.
Featherstone goes well beyond what is required to provide both their bakeries they distribute and the operations they supply with the best service possible. This was evidenced by their Inaugural Hospitality Vendor Show this past June 15th at the Grand Hyatt New York. It was an opportunity for purchasers to see the entire product line that Featherstone has to offer. “You have to be on top of the market…I can’t wait to get on the phone and create the new bread order from what I saw here today,” said Michael Mosolino, former television host and current Chef at Schiavoni’s Market in Sag Harbor in a video that Featherstone produced about the event.
Through their variety, simplification of the ordering process and one-stop-shopping mantra, Featherstone Foods can supply your foodservice operation with any product and any quantity you require. Learn more now at their website.