Representatives from some of the biggest names in food service across the country are in Buffalo this week. Rich Products and its recent multimillion-dollar renovations are at center stage.
About 200 members of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, the national organization for sales and marketing professionals in the food service industry, are in town for the Marketing and Sales Leaders Forum held Tuesday and today at Rich’s corporate headquarters on Niagara Street. The forum, in its third year, has made stops at Coca-Cola and Pepsi/Frito-Lay headquarters in years past.
“We can do more than hold our own against anybody in our industry,” Richard M. Ferranti, chief operating officer of Rich Products, said before the conference got underway Tuesday.
It’s the first opportunity for Rich’s to show off its brand-new atrium space to a national audience. The Atrium @Rich’s, as it is called, featuring a 40-foot-high fireplace and plenty of Rich’s red infused into the carpets and chairs across the vast gathering space, was completed in June to the tune of $13.5 million as part of the company’s $18.5 million investment in its Buffalo centerpiece.
“What we’ve heard is, people really like the aesthetics; they really like the feel of the place, the fireplace,” Ferranti said. “They really like the design. One young lady just said to me, ‘It really makes you feel warm and comfortable.’ ”
Jim Green, vice president of strategy and member value for IMLF who, for several decades, worked in Buffalo for Rich before moving on to Chicago, said the IMLF committee felt that the conference would be the perfect opportunity to acclimate the rest of the industry to the “new-look” Rich.
“This is for the sales and marketing communities from throughout the food service industry to get together and learn best practices,” Green said. “That aligns perfectly with the Rich model.”