Sure, you can buy your knives and forks online. But what if you wanted a tabletop that shouted out who you are, and why diners should choose your restaurant first?
That’s when you turn to Pecinka Ferri Associates and the community of equipment and supply dealers that they serve.
“The internet appeals to people who want quick and easy,” said Ed Pecinka. “But when you’re looking for sheer elegance and taste, to make your operation a place you want to return to, this is where you go.”
Pecinka Ferri, the well-known manufacturer’s agent to the foodservice industry, representing internationally recognized brands, is now launching a new tabletop initiative to deliver solutions to local dealers and their restaurant and foodservice customers. The company, with its vast industry experience, brings knowledge and solutions to end users, support for dealers and consultants and innovative marketing services for its factories.
The new lines Pecinka Ferri is introducing are Villeroy & Boch and Lancaster Commercial Products. The duo of iconic brands joins Geneva/Lakeside in the Pecinka Ferri Associates portfolio.
“If you go in to Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, you see our prominence within their display,” said Frank Cullinan of Villeroy and Boch. “It’s the most, widely recognized brand of tableware in the world and has been for decades. But it’s prestige within reach. People may think, I can never afford that but the reality is, it brings value to the table. You may buy something less expensive but ours is going to last. Over the course of its life, it pays for itself.”
Cullinan explained that though many other brands remain the same, the product changes. “Ours doesn’t,” he stated. “And our reorder rate is in the single digits, because our products are not just beautiful, but they last. Competitors can’t say that. Their reorder rates can be about 30 to 40%. So we make sense for restaurants. We have the name, the reputation, the permanence.”
All Villeroy & Boch products are made out of premium bone or premium porcelain.
Discontinuations of products can be a real nightmare. “You don’t have that with us. And we have consistency. You’re always going to get the product you want, with the same design and manufacture. You’re talking 40% replenishment rate vs. 8%.”
The company, which has been around since 1748, has long been known for its simple but elegant style for the table. The billion-dollar, global business is now in its 8th generation of family leadership, with 40% of its business in tabletop.
As for its factories in Germany, “There are no hands structuring the product until the eyes are looking at it to determine whether it goes into a box or not,” Cullinan asserted. “That’s how mindful we are of our quality.”
Cullinan mentioned a project he’s working on right now in Princeton, N.J. “It’s a very unique, small operation. But they want to show that they are refined. They understand quality, and they’re going to present themselves in a way that is going to entice you to come back.”
“Pecinka Ferri decided to start representing this brand because of its reputation and tasteful sophistication,” Joe Ferri noted. The goal is to introduce these new brands to foodservice establishments in the metro New York area to let them see how their tabletops can set them apart from competitors.
Villeroy & Boch has just rolled out a new 71-piece collection, its largest ever, called Affinity that’s all made to look the same and coordinate on the table, according to Cullinan. “It’s designed to integrate with the Current range, the Affinity range, to bring a new breath of freshness to the table, and attention to the guest’s experiences.”
Market penetration for the company has suffered because of Asian imports and other variables but joining forces with Pecinka Ferri is going to change all that, Cullinan expressed. “The opportunity still very much exists here in metro New York, more than ever, we’ve just got to get the right group to tell the story. And the bigger the army, obviously, the faster we’ll have success.”
“The two companies met and immediately felt an attraction,” Cullian said. “They’re extremely professional businessmen. They have a structure that would be a platform from which we would make great leaps in sales success. That’s why we’ve partnered with Pecinka Ferri. The firm has insight into trends and knows the market better than anyone else.”
“So much buying is done online today,” added Ferri, “that the only way to differentiate oneself is to be able to provide face-to-face in an actual human service. You’re not going to stop people from buying on the Internet if they’re only a transactional buyer. But if they want to buy a better product or a better solution and they simply want to see the better products, they need to have a place to go and do that. And that’s us.”
“We’re not selling stuff, we’re helping restaurants create how this entire plating is going to go through an entire operation,” Cullinan put in.
Lancaster Commercial Products, another new line Pecinka Ferri will represent, contains both glassware, including tall, slender titanium-infused lead-free and break-resistant wine and cocktail glasses, along with half a dozen other hospitality furnished tabletops as display products. “They additionally have added to their glassware collection stemware, and other tableware, hospitality and glassware products,” Pecinka said.
Lancaster has been around for over 40 years according to Rudy James, Director of Operations and part of the new Lancaster management team along with Robert Haleluk (President), Vivian Khan (VP of Sales), and Craig Felcher (Director of Sales). Already in the business with the Mr. Ice Bucket organization since 1965, the new owner, Frederick Haleluk had relationships with the existing management at Lancaster. Wanting to continue on with the American Brand and get deeper into manufacturing, he took over Lancaster in 2012 and today it continues as a quality producer of tabletop guest products, leatherette wrapped ice buckets, glassware, and bathroom amenities such as soap dishes, waste baskets and tissue boxes, all for restaurants and hospitality, many pieces made here is the U.S.A.
In the interest of continuing to offer next level services, Lancaster Commercial Products has added an in-house product design team, updated factory, and 3D Printing/Product Prototyping services. Mixed in with new partners around the world this allows Lancaster to source and build the finest tabletop products from an assortment of unique materials. In this ever fashionable world of the Restaurateur nothing makes an establishment stand out more than a one of a kind product. Along with these updates, Lancaster has rebranded and launched a new online portal offering the industry top level resources and customer service along with great value.
With Geneva Designs and Lakeside, Pecinka Ferri is able to offer a full line of “Made in America” mobile serving solutions. From tableside solutions for appetizers and desserts to portable bars for hotels, banquet facilities, convention centers, patios, resorts, and caterers and room service tables for hotels, Geneva has built its reputation on delivering the industry’s highest quality products. “We are very excited about working with the Pecinka Ferri team on their new tabletop program,” noted Geneva’s Jason Fox. “They bring longevity and a special knowledge of the needs of the Tri-State dealers and their end user customers.”
“Our goal is to create the best quality products at competitive, affordable prices,” added the firm’s Eastern Regional manager. “We believe that food service furnishings can have simple, clean designs constructed from beautiful materials. The fact that they endure esthetically and functionally is what we think creates excellent value in the Geneva product line.”
Having a full portfolio helps give Pecinka Ferri more customer touches with its current stable and the infrastructure it’s built with its current manufacturers. “And let’s face it, it’s a very tactile product, kind of silver, having a chef’s touch, showing how to place food, and showing how to set tables. That’s what we bring to the table,” said Pecinka.
Though Pecinka Ferri has long been in the business of repping heavy equipment, like fryers and ovens, a fork or knife or glass has to be replaced much more often. Pecinka explained that the firm won’t have problems moving from fryers to tabletop because it has always had people in tabletop. With the new lines, “it’s like riding a bike. You don’t forget it. You just dust that off. What we offer is that we know the products inside and out and we can help you set up your operation to bring the customers in, and keep them there.”
To learn more about Pecinka Ferri Associates, visit their website.