The Internet has become a bigger marketing tool as well. Classic Coffee Systems launched a Website in 1992. The Website has evolved as a customer education tool, allowing sales people to review the company’s products online with people. The Website allows customers to peruse the company’s entire catalog for ordering. They can also view virtual demonstrations of brewing equipment.
While Chiarello and Malizio have noticed that many of their larger customers prefer to place their orders online, they don’t want to encourage this. They prefer to have their customer service reps call customers regularly to maintain personal rapport.
FOCUS STAYS ON CUSTOMER SERVICE
While the company has grown, Chiarello and Malizio still pride themselves on personal service, which they believe gives them a leg up over the national OCS players. “They (the nationals) can’t offer the service that we do,” Malizio said. “They are not going to get a box of popcorn to somebody. They (the customer) aren’t going to be able to talk to the owner.”
Chiarello and Malizio do recognize that the nationals have some aces of their own. Many national accounts are looking for national service contracts. To compete for these contracts, Classic Coffee Systems has partnered with independents in other markets to bid on national requests for proposals. This remains a work in progress. “We have a nice little network of independents that are of the same philosophy,” Chiarello said.
Chiarello and Malizio feel fortunate to have established a presence in a big market at a time when OCS is enjoying a new growth period. By maintaining a dedicated staff and keeping an eye on new products, they expect to ride this growth for many more years.
PROFILE: Classic Coffee Systems Ltd.
Headquarters Location: Valley Stream, N.Y.
Owners: John Malizio and Charles Chiarello
Number of Routes: 10 OCS, 2 vending
Number of Customers: 1,500
Business Mix: 45% coffee, 50% allied products, 5% vending
Main Brewer Manufacturers: Bunn, Cafection Enterprises, Mars Drinks (Flavia), Keurig
Private Label Roaster: Empire Coffee Co.
Software Supplier: Metroplex Data Systems.
Annual Sales: $6 million to $7 million