Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2018

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.

Issue link: https://specialtyfoodmagazine.epubxp.com/i/1017167

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Page 54 of 91

Winter Fancy Food Show Booth 546 smarter than both of us—she has a Ph.D. in business, and teaches in the business school at Ohio State. I always tell people that I got a two-for-one deal on my busi- ness partner because Erynn is a huge resource for us." Beaton is now the CEO of the com- pany, overseeing the business side of the operations, while Kurtz focuses on market- ing and driving relationships with chefs and tastemakers. The company, which secured a round of private financing last year, also has added staff in operations, finance, and sales. After Beaton joined Mike's Hot Honey, it began partnering with several foodser- vice and specialty retail distributors, which has helped expand its reach to about 4,000 retail outlets and about 1,000 restaurant locations. Kurtz says he learned from his experi- ence at Paulie Gee's that restaurants can help drive demand for the product, which in turn can lead to increased retail sales. "When we go into new markets now, we look to tackle foodservice first, and grow brand awareness," says Kurtz. "We know that as a small brand, you can't really make it on the shelf in the supermarket without brand awareness." He always encourages restaurants to mention the company's brand by name on the menu. "We do everything we can to get the product as visible as possible in those res- taurants," he says. "It means a lot to con- sumers when they see a restaurant using a product. They know that it's high quality —'If it's good enough for this restaurant, then it's good enough for me to use in my own kitchen.'" Evolving Applications Chefs have been using the product in a variety of ways, Kurtz says, either as a glaze, MIKE KURTZ Age: 36 Years in specialty food: 8 Favorite food: A nice bowl of pho. Least favorite food: Foie gras. What can I say? I'm just not into it. Last thing I ate and loved: The upside down square slice at Scarr's Pizza on the Lower East Side here in New York City. He mills his own flour on-site and uses organic tomatoes from California for the sauce. It's one of my favorite pies anywhere, and I eat a lot of pizza. If I weren't in the food business I'd be: t rying to write a hit R&B song. I worked in the music business before I got into food and still play/compose music for fun. I think I have some hits in me. Stay tuned ... One piece of advice I'd give to a new food business: Don't rush your product to market. Test your product on a small scale. Take the time to listen to consumers and customers and get feedback on your product and packaging before pushing for wider distribution. A slow build will allow you to avoid hasty mistakes and give you the time to establish meaningful relationships that will help your business in the long run. producer profile PHOTO: MIKE'S HOT HONEY 52 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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