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Old, valuable lessons for new, fast-paced horizons—How staying connected keeps you relevant

As a restaurant owner and operator, you know the challenges of day-to-day business. For 25 years Jordano’s Account Executive, John Tomasso, has delivered practical solutions, great customer service and creative ideas to keep his customers’ businesses in the Santa Ynez and Lompoc Valleys thriving.

But it was 40 years ago in his father’s New York grocery store where Tomasso truly learned the building blocks of good customer service.

“I grew up watching my father interact with his customers; it’s something I really admired and emulated,” Tomasso says. “No matter who came in to the store, he always found something in common with no time he would make those customers his friend.”

Staying connected with customers today is far more fast-paced than it was in the neighborhood grocery store, but one thing, Tomasso says remains...striking a common ground with customers and taking the time to understand their challenges.

Tomasso believes that today’s trending challenge for his customers is labor costs.

“Anything we can bring to the table to save a step in the preparation of meals is a benefit so long as the quality level is there,” says Tomasso. And Jordano’s helps make that easier for his customers. “We’re not just frozen French fries and onion rings. We’re helping restaurants find new ways to make their menus stand out with artisan cheeses and prime meats, organic products and more.”

Working in the heart of wine country, many of Tomasso’s customers have serious wine programs accompanied by serious menus. Tomasso says his love and hobby of tasting and collecting wine gives him a better understanding of how flavors and new artisan products complement the wine.

One thing’s for sure, chefs are interested in trending products and techniques. Tomasso applies the principles his father taught him to a new platform of “connecting” by sharing the latest trends with his customers on social media. The recent launch of Jordano’s Facebook page helps him share relevant product information and preparation ideas with those connected customers.

Tomasso shares articles on topics his customers are interested in hearing more about. And by staying active on social platforms, he’s consistently in the know of hot button issues for chefs and new products hitting the market.

“The philosophy of adapting to trends is very opposite of what big corporation food distributors are doing. I let my customers know that Jordano’s is a big company, but we have the ability to talk about an olive oil from Napa Valley or local farmers’ grass-fed products,” Tomasso adds.

It’s a source of pride for him that the purchasing department at Jordano’s welcomes introductions to new growers, producers and products. He attributes Jordano’s nimbleness of their smaller size and proximity to the coast and local farmers and growers to their success.

“If the interest is there for the customer, Jordano’s can make it happen,” says Tomasso. “That’s what service is all about, solving their challenges.”

And it could also be the reason Tomasso’s customers have remained connected with him through his entire quarter-century Jordano’s career.