During these challenging times, restaurateurs and distributors alike are doing their best to alter their products to meet new demands and requirements. The industry is undergoing immense change, and change requires flexibility and adaptability. One of the most prominent examples of this is Featherstone Foods, the Tri-State area’s leading bread and baked goods distributor, who have delivered consistently throughout 2020.
Earlier this year, Featherstone hosted a Spring tasting preview at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan. The vision that went into that event now comes full circle as the Bronx based company has been supporting the re-opening of restaurants by providing them with the widest selection of quality baked goods on the market. With a focus on safely packaged items, the consolidating of menus to fan favorites, and the identification of and innovation on popular comfort foods, Featherstone aims to offer customers as many options as possible within the confines of safety protocols.
Individual wrapping has become a major focus ever since the pandemic struck. Although many bakeries were used to packing their products in bulk, individual packaging eliminates the risk of an item being tainted by others and provides customers with assurance that the product is safe. Although there has always been a notion that individual packaging and quality are mutually exclusive, Featherstone intends to marry the two. “It’s always been possible to find run-of-the-mill, lower-end individually packaged products like danishes, muffins, and croissants. What we at Featherstone have realized however, is that more and more people are looking for a bit of luxury to relieve stress during these trying times. That’s why we’re encouraging more premium artisan bakeries to invest in infrastructure that would allow them to individually package their products,” said Mark Rimer, President of Featherstone.
Some of their most popular grab & go items include BAKED’s Deep Dark Brownie, assorted individually wrapped bagels, muffins, authentic belgian waffles, and more. This style of packaging is also more versatile and attractive, as it makes items seem more bite-sized in the eyes of customers, reducing ‘dessert guilt,’ while simultaneously making them more portable and less messy. Although asking bakeries to invest in this might seem like a stretch given reduced cash flow and tight margins, such a feature would pay dividends in the long run. This pandemic has not only revolutionized the way people within the industry think about health and safety, it’s done so for customers as well. The heightened awareness and expectations customers have for these aspects isn’t going away anytime soon, so what seems like a large investment now would pay for itself multiple times over in the future.
Another common trend among restaurants adapting to the pandemic has been the consolidation of menus. In particular, consolidation to fan favorites and items that are the most conducive to takeout and delivery. In Featherstone’s case, it has realized that sandwiches sit at the top of their popularity list, as they are easy to make, transport, and exist in a wide variety. Featherstone has seen a significant increase of sandwich bread sales in the last 6 months. They intend to take this to the next level by further innovating on this trend. “It’s important to be able to recognize trends when they appear, the way we did with sandwiches,” noted Rimer.
“However, we’ve taken this a step further by asking ourselves how we can innovate our sandwich breads to set ourselves even further apart from the rest. We are convinced that the only way to make a great sandwich is with great bread,” Rimer stated. He previewed details about a new mouthwatering custom ‘black charcoal burger bun’ they helped create for a customer as an example of this innovation. Featherstone’s dedication to not only listening to their customers’ needs, but supporting the execution of exciting, new products for them is a large contributor to the success of its customers.
Ultimately, what sets Featherstone apart from their competitors and what has made them the Tri-State area’s leading bread and baked goods distributor has been their focus on customers, coverage, and product curation.
“The value in working with Featherstone is simple. Instead of working with multiple bakeries or going to a broadline distributor, we offer daily, fresh bread from NYC’s leading bakeries with one delivery while also providing access to exclusive products and boutique bakeries. We offer flexible terms, maximum convenience and access to new and exciting items,” Rimer said.
“We can provide you with the best of the best, all in one spot,” stated the Featherstone President. “We save our customers the hassle of having to painstakingly seek out multiple vendors to meet their specific needs, instead allowing them to place one simple order to get everything they need. They can in turn spend more time providing their own customers with the best experience possible.”
When it comes to pricing, Featherstone intends to provide the foodservice operator with signature items that are competitively priced. Although broadline distributors may seem just as attractive, Featherstone guarantees that all of its products are fresh. Often, broadline distributors utilize pre-frozen and parbaking techniques that while convenient in some situations, don’t meet the standard that many establishments set for their products. Featherstone offers more variety and with higher quality than broadline distributors. “With takeout, delivery and a return of indoor dining, we understand the heightened role of the sandwich and pre-wrapped baked goods. These products set the tone for a restaurant menu and can be key drivers to help operators maximize profit,” Rimer concluded.
With over 30 years in the industry, Featherstone is the one-stop-shop for everything baked. Even after all this time, the company remains firm in its commitment to delivering the highest quality products to customers and business partners throughout the Tri-State area. “At the end of the day, it’s about survival and rebirth, and if we can help restaurants survive now then we believe that they will ultimately thrive. That’s good for New York, that’s good for all of us.”
To learn more about Featherstone Foods, visit their website.