What makes you excited to come on board with Marra Forni?
Todd: I think the question should be what doesn’t make me excited to come on board with Marra Forni Brick Oven Cooking Solution? I’ve always enjoyed working with privately held companies. In fact, I’ve been extremely lucky to have spent the majority of my professional career in foodservice working in the service of family-owned businesses. Marra Forni has a great story and has in a very short period of time built an industry-leading brand and a very high-quality product offering. The Marra Brothers are passionate about the business and their future legacy, which only continues to drive their business and future vision. Few are fortunate enough to be a part of something truly special. Having the opportunity to be involved with a company at this stage in their development, that is so well positioned in the marketplace, is once in a lifetime opportunity for me!
What are some of the elements from your past experience that you’re excited to bring to the company?
Todd: Despite COVID-19, we are, have always been, and will always be an industry and business that is based upon relationships! Over the past 25+ years in the foodservice industry, I have had the pleasure of working with so many incredible people around the world, and those relationships run deep. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to transition some of those relationships to my new role with brick oven manufacturers and help to create and bridge new relationships for our team. I’ve also been blessed to have worked in a variety of roles in my career.
My formal education was hospitality and culinary based and my work experience ranges both front and back of the house. I’ve been an operator in the hotel, restaurant, and college/university business segments, I gained experience in sales with both national food and equipment manufacturing brands. I’ve been with a manufacturers rep firm, top-5 national equipment and supplies distributor, and with some leading equipment manufacturers in their respective categories. All of these experiences have helped to make me be rounded in order to bring more value to my relationships. I’m looking forward now to sharing some of this experience with our team as a mentor.
Todd:Well, obviously things have changed in the global marketplace, and the future isn’t as clear as many would like. The industry will change and evolve as a result of COVID-19, and while things may look different, I’m very optimistic. Since walking into the office on my first day with Marra Forni, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing, the quotations have continued to go out, orders continue to come in and equipment continues to ship out the door. I would like to believe that there’s some level of “resilience” that Marra has had based on the already established take-out and delivery nature of the Pizza segment. Marra has established a cult-like following among the pizza community and our intention is to grow from that platform into other business segments and business applications. We want to be proactive with new product development and stay at the forefront of “artisan meets innovation and technology. I do see growth in Marra Forni’s future. Our short-term goal is to become the market share leader in our category in the Americas. As we continue to add new products and expand sales and support into new markets, there’s no reason why we can’t quintuple our current business as we did in the first 5 years of operation.
What do you feel differentiates Marra Forni from others in the marketplace?
Todd: That one’s easy . . . people, passion, and products! This is why I have always gravitated toward privately held, family-owned businesses. When the owners of the company exude passion, it’s hard for it not to be contagious! There is a level of pride here based on the product being “handcrafted.” And the end product, it really is art! Art for the kitchen defines an experience that customers will remember and continue to come back for! There’s a lot of talent within this small company, and a sense of teamwork that’s evident with every facet of the business. The family here extends past the employees, and directly to Marra’s customers! Marra Forni has Ambassadors all over the world that believe and support the cause!
Oh . . . and the Pizza is totally kick-ass!! I would like to personally welcome all of you to the Marra Forni Nation!!