Specialty Food Magazine

JAN-FEB 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 64 of 159

brands Briannas (a top seller), La Tourangelle and Girard's. Other popular products include Acme and Alvarado breads, Popchips and Kettle Chips, and St. Dalfour and Bonne Maman jams. The recently remodeled deli counter has been a hit with cus- tomers. Three chefs with decades of experience in Bay Area restau- rants (and beyond) create a spread of ready-to-go salads and snacks, and a menu details a mouthwatering selection of made-to-order sandwiches. Signatures include the Flagship, a roast-beef pileup with mayo, pesto and provolone, and the toasted Turkey Buttah, slathered with apple butter, bacon, havarti and avocado. The staff at Le Beau drives home the feeling of community. Employees chat cheerfully with shoppers, and it's not just a show. "From the begin- ning, I've had a lot of locals who have worked for us," Omran says, adding that some of these long-time employees are now managers. Staff and customers know one another, and Omran tries to pay employees competitively to keep them around. "That's the value that I see having local people working for you." An Education in Good Food A self-proclaimed foodie, Omran finds himself eager to emphasize local, seasonal foods. Much of Le Beau's fresh produce comes from the sprawling farmers market at the waterfront Ferry Building, where he browses for the upcoming week's offerings. Omran believes that seasonal foods are a natural means to guarantee satisfied customers. "It's easy to look good when you're selling what's in season," says the purveyor, whose enthusiasm for peak-season fruits borders on religious piety. And with good reason: he sources produce that leaves customers anticipating it year-round, such as heirloom apples from Devoto Gardens in the North Bay Area. "Suddenly if you weren't that big of an apple lover, you'll find yourself loving apples when you taste these things, because they're so damn good," he effuses. Visiting the farmers market is half the fun, he adds. "I've got a lot of connections down there and, for me, it's kind of a game to see what new stuff is coming out and what kind of deals I can find to bring back to customers." The local and regional emphasis comes naturally with a focus on seasonal foods, Omran notes. He concedes that certain creature comforts, from tropical fruits to Italian imports, are necessary to retain customers, but he encourages shoppers to step out of their comfort zone and try products they may never have considered, whether for price or lack of familiarity. "[Customers] approach their food like a lot of people approach soda pop: Early on, they find out that they love Coca Cola, so they'll never try anything else," Omran explains. "Food can sometimes be that way. They get stuck eating and tasting the same food all the time, and sometimes somebody needs to introduce them to different things out there." Now there is time for everything with Fancy Food Show Education recordings available post-Show. t 5ISFF QBDLBHFT UP DIPPTF GSPN #FHJOOJOH .BOVGBDUVSFST .BUVSF .BOVGBDUVSFST 3FUBJM 5SFOET t "VEJP TZODISPOJ[FE UP 1PXFS1PJOU™ TMJEFT t %PXOMPBEBCMF .1 mMFT BOE TQFBLFS IBOEPVUT t BDDFTT—MFBSO XIFOFWFS XIFSFWFS .FNCFST QFS QBDLBHF /PO .FNCFST QFS QBDLBHF (Prices increase after January 17th) 7JTJU VT EVSJOH UIF 4IPX JO UIF -PXFS /PSUI -PCCZ Access a world of knowledge with the NASFT Live Learning Center! http://nasft.sclivelearningcenter.com JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012 63

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