Client Testimonial: Reser’s Fine Foods

July 3, 2024
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How Reser’s Fine Foods Became Harris Teeter’s Case Meat Category Leader

Bay Food Brokerage has proudly served as Reser’s Fine Food’s Publix broker since 2011. We also began representing the company’s Main St Bistro® brand at Harris Teeter in the fall of 2022. In this testimonial, we cover how Bay Food took Reser’s from no products sold to the Harris Teeter meat department to being the number-one brand in the retailer’s case meat side dish category.

We’re also grateful to Jon Brown, regional sales manager for the Southeast, Meat and Seafood Division at Reser’s, for taking the time to share his experience working with our team.

About Reser’s Fine Foods

Established over 70 years ago, Reser’s Fine Foods is one of the country’s largest family-owned and -operated prepared foods businesses. The company produces multiple brands, including Main St Bistro.

“Main St Bistro creates delicious, restaurant-quality side dishes with made-from-scratch taste that you can enjoy at home,” Jon said. “We start with trusted ingredients and add a chef-inspired twist to every recipe for a distinctive and memorable dish that is ready in minutes.”

Main St Bistro products include varieties of macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, roasted potatoes and more.

“We’re providing the highest-quality side dishes in the most convenient manner that you can find in the supermarket,” Jon said.

The Challenge: Getting Products into Harris Teeter Meat Department

When Jon joined Reser’s Fine Foods in July 2021, the company had been unsuccessful in its attempts to get its Main St Bistro products into Harris Teeter’s meat department. Currently, the retailer has 261 stores in eight South Atlantic states, including the Carolinas, where their home office is based.

“When I came on board, we realized that we couldn’t figure out the formula for getting into Harris Teeter and needed to make a change,” Jon said. “We’d had a great experience with Bay Food representing us at Publix, and Bay Food had recently opened up an office in South Carolina. So, we wanted to give them the opportunity to show what they could do for us at Harris Teeter. Thank goodness we did.”

Bay Food’s Account Executive Christina Akers took the lead in approaching the Harris Teeter meat department about selling Main St Bistro products in their stores.

“Christina had done such a great job forging relationships over there [at Harris Teeter],” Jon said. “She was actually able to get us a meeting with the director rather than the category manager.”

That meeting resulted in Reser’s getting its first two Main St Bistro products into stores a few months later, in November 2022.

The Results: Becoming the Number-One Brand in Side Dishes in Harris Teeter’s Meat Case

The first two SKUs sold well at Harris Teeter.

“Christina did a great job working with me and our team to put together a promotional strategy that allowed those items to really hold their own,” Jon said. “We’re coming up on three years of those items doing really well.”

However, according to Jon, Bay Food’s strength wasn’t only getting the products into stores.

“Putting a promotional strategy and plan in place and executing well is even more important than getting in the door,” Jon said. “And that’s something Bay Food does well, across the board. They put together a plan and execute very well.”

Jon said Bay Food is proactive in keeping an eye on how the plan is unfolding and what adjustments need be made.

“With Bay Food, it is not a set-it-and-forget-it situation,” Jon said. “I rely heavily on Christina to keep me up to date on where we are. If we do need to make an adjustment, we can be flexible and make it very seamless for the folks over at Harris Teeter.”

With another two SKUs coming to Harris Teeter in the fall of 2024, Reser’s will have gone from selling zero items to the meat department to eight in the span of less than three years. To Jon’s knowledge, that will make Main St Bistro the number-one brand in terms of SKUs in the set at Harris Teeter.

The Experience: Bay Food is a Professional, Prompt Partner

“The biggest thing Bay Food does well is build relationships across all levels of a retail organization,” Jon said. “Oftentimes brokers will just have a relationship with the direct buyer or category manager, but Bay Food does a fantastic job building relationships with people at higher levels in the organization.”

In addition, Jon applauds Bay Food’s retail team.

“If we’re not executing at the store level, none of it matters,” Jon said. “And Bay Food’s retail team is best-in-class in terms of making sure they’re out in the stores and ensuring the stores are executing properly.”

Also, Bay Food’s sense of urgency, responsiveness, exceptional administrative support and attention to detail are second-to-none, according to Jon. The team also demonstrates an invested partnership in their dedication to Reser’s success.

“I really can’t say enough good things about Bay Food,” Jon said. “The amount of pride they have in what they do and the way they go to business can’t be matched. I know a lot of good brokers, but they go right at the top of that list.”

Looking for an experienced Harris Teeter broker that has the relationships, retail team and responsiveness to help your brand succeed? Contact us today to learn more.