Al Johnson's Swedish Pancakes
I think there’s another reason why people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and that’s because it has the best food! Nothing beats a good omelet, some bacon, and a perfect toasted English muffin (toasted with a Hatco toaster, of course!). But one of my favorite breakfast foods will always be pancakes – especially Al Johnson’s Swedish pancakes from Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik in Sister Bay, WI. This recipe was featured in volume 40 of Hatco’s Hot Topics newsletter in the fall of 2011. Though you may not have goats on the roof of your house like the restaurant has and is famously known for, you can now make their delicious pancakes any time you’re craving them for breakfast!
• 3 eggs
• 2 ½ cups (592 mL) milk
• 1 ¼ cups (124 g) flour
• 2 tbs. (24 g) sugar
• ½ tsp. (2.5 g) salt
• 2 tbs. (29 g) butter, melted
• In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with half the milk. Beat in flour, sugar, and salt until smooth. Stir in melted butter and remaining milk. Heat a griddle or large skillet with a small amount of oil. For each pancake, pour about ¼ cup batter onto griddle and cook over medium heat, 1-2 minutes. With spatula, turn pancakes over until golden brown, about ½ minute. Serve immediately or keep warm while making remaining pancakes. Serves 4.
If you need to keep your pancakes at that perfect temperature, Hatco’s Drop-In Heated Wells are the perfect choice! Utilizing a “free flow” technology for an efficient and long-lasting operation, the adjustable set points keep your food at optimum temperatures. To learn more about Hatco’s Drop-In Wells (HCWBI Series), check it out at Hatco’s website at www.hatcocorp.com. Or, if you’re going to be at the NRA Show 2013 from May 18th to the 21st, stop by Hatco booth #2218 to say hi to the Hatco team and to look at the Drop-In Wells and other featured Hatco products! Sadly, I won’t be making an appearance at NRA, but I will be there in spirit! Now it’s time for me to go make some pancakes in the Hatco kitchen. Until next month’s blog post!
Cordeiro Assado (Grilled Lamb Chops)
They say that April showers bring May flowers. But I like to think about how April also brings about the start of warm weather, which means it's time to pull out the grill from the garage, where it's been hiding all winter, and start grilling and barbequing again! As much I enjoy grilling some burgers or steaks, I'm in the mood for trying something new! This recipe is called Cordeiro Assado, or Grilled Lamb Chops, and comes all the way from Fogo de Chão in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil! Very exotic! Hatco first featured this recipe in our Hot Topics newsletter, volume 19, in the spring of 2005. Let's learn how to make Cordeiro Assado!
• 8 rib lamb chops
• 2 cups (472 mL) white wine
• 2 tablespoons (30 mL) lemon pepper
• Juice of one lemon
• 1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt, or to taste
• 1 cup (237 mL) mint leaves
• Vegetable oil spray
• Mint jelly and mint leaves for garnish
• Trim lamb of excess fat. Mix all other ingredients to make marinade, including mint leaves, and marinate lamb chops for one hour
• Spray grill with vegetable oil. Remove lamb chops from marinade and place on preheated open barbeque grill. Grill chops without moving them for 4 minutes (for medium rare). Baste chops with marinade and turn over to grill for another 4 minutes on the other side. Remove to serving plate
• Season with salt and garnish with additional mint leaves and mint jelly
If this recipe is as delicious as it sounds, then I think we're all in for a great meal! This recipe makes 4 servings, so share it with your family or friends while having a nice cookout, enjoying the warm weather, and watching a Brewers game (go Brew Crew)! Until next time, everyone!
Pheasant with Whiskey, Apple, and Ginger
Now that it's March, you know what that means! No, not March Madness (though it is one of my favorite times of the year)! I'm talking about the beloved St. Patrick's Day! St. Patrick's Day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, though today the holiday has become a secular celebration of the Irish culture. Many people have different traditions of celebrating St. Paddy's Day, including eating the traditional Irish-American meal of Corn Beef and Cabbage. How delicious! However, for this St. Patrick's Day, I thought it would be fun to switch up the meal! This recipe, which was featured in our 4th Hop Topics newsletter from the summer of 2001, comes straight from Ireland, courtesy of the Castledaly Manor in County Westmeath, a bed and breakfast that's been open for over 10 years. It's called Pheasant with Whiskey, Apple, and Ginger.
• 4 tablespoons / 60 g / 2 oz. butter
• 2 tablespoons / 60 mL / 2 fl. oz. oil
• 4 pheasant breasts, halved and boned
• 2 onions, thinly sliced
• 4 eating apples, peel, cored, and thinly sliced
• 1 piece ginger root, slivered
• 1 tablespoon / 15 g / ½ oz. flour
• 2 cups / 500 mL chicken stock
• Salt and pepper
• ¼ cups / 60 mL / 2 fl. oz. Irish whiskey
• Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C / Gas mark 4
• On the stove top, heat butter and oil together in a large ovenproof casserole. Lightly brown the pheasant breasts on each side. Remove and keep warm. Add onions to casserole and cook until onions become transparent. Add apple slices and ginger; cook slowly for 2-3 minutes. Stir in flour and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Gradually add the stock, stirring continuously until the sauce boils. Season to taste with salt and pepper
• Place pheasant breasts in casserole, cover, place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Stir in whiskey, just before serving
Sounds delicious, doesn't it? It's always fun trying out new recipes, so I can't wait to make this! This recipe makes 4 servings, so invite some friends over this St. Patrick's Day, and experience a new meal together for the holiday. I have a feeling that it will not disappoint! And if you're ever in Ireland and happen to stay at the Castledaly Manor, tell them Billy Booster says hi!
Where in the World Is Jan Verdonkschot?
My first blog post since May! It feels good to be writing again. Now that the craziness of NAFEM is over, things have settled down and I can get back to work. For this month's post, I was given the honor to interview former Hatco employee Jan Verdonkschot. Don't let the last name trip you up! Chef Jan had a lot of great and fascinating things to say about his life before, during, and after Hatco, so I hope you'll enjoy hearing about them as much as I did!
LIFE BEFORE HATCO
Before he joined the Hatco family, Chef Jan led quite an exciting life. He is originally from the Netherlands (how cool!), and is a professionally trained cook. He's had a wide range of careers, from serving in the Canadian army during World War II where he has experience working on marine merchant vessels and working as the cook's helper, to working in the kitchens of numerous upscale hotels.
JOINING THE HATCO FAMILY
A contract employee, Chef Jan worked for the company for close to fourteen years. He was an instrumental part in developing the "chef system" roast and hold oven for slow cooking roast beef (yummy!), which Hatco acquired in 1990. Because of this, during his time at Hatco, Chef Jan served as a consulting chef, and would perform demonstrations at trade shows, where he became very well-known.
In 2008, Chef Jan unfortunately suffered a stroke, but that hasn't stopped him from his hobbies. Now living in Missouri, he is currently penning a book with the help of a ghost writer. The book's focus is about his life during the last four years of World War II, when Chef Jan was a mascot for the Canadian army. The book, aptly titled The Mascot, has no official release date at the moment, but be on the lookout for it!
ONE STEP AT A TIME
Chef Jan has a lot of memories from his time at Hatco that he stills holds dear to him. He says he misses his co-workers, especially the sales departments and Rick Anger. He also misses travelling with David Hatch and Mark Ecker. One of Chef Jan's most memorable moments from his time at Hatco was when he was at his first Hatco trade show with David Hatch; they were out to dinner on a rainy night, and David wore a raccoon coat. The rain caused an odor to come from the coat, which Chef Jan has said smelled like a "wet camel." I'm going to guess that's not the most pleasant smell in the world, but Chef Jan said they got quite a laugh out of it!
To the future employees of Hatco, Chef Jan says to "take one step at a time and be nice to everyone.' That's a good piece of advice to give, so we can all lead a great life and create memorable moments like Chef Jan has. I hope you enjoyed this month's post! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm in the mood for some roast beef!
Where in the World Is Randy Keltner?
One of the things I love most about Hatco is how much the company cares about its employees, both current and former. And when I spoke with retired employee, Randy Keltner, I could immediately tell that he too still cares about the company. Learning about Randy's time at Hatco and beyond was fascinating, and I hope you enjoy learning about it as well!
LIFE AT HATCO
An alum of Marquette University located right here in Milwaukee, Randy Keltner joined the Hatco family in November 1967. Though he was originally hired as a Credit Manager, Randy was moved to different positions over the years due to constantly changing technology, which caused the creation of new jobs. In 1979, he was made the Manager of the then newly established Information Services department, and was in charge of Hatco's first computer system. Afterwards, he then transferred over to the Customer Service department, where he worked in the company's export division, focusing on the company's Mexican accounts. Even though his job changed more than once, one thing that did not change about Randy was his love for hats; his co-workers would always see him with a different one over the years. To this day, Randy still is always wearing his hats, joking about how they're the main contributor for the lack of hair on his head.
OH, THE MEMORIES...
Randy has many fond memories from working at Hatco, but there are a couple that really stick out in his mind. The thing he misses most about the company? "The quality relationships formed while I was working there," Randy says. He still remains in touch with some of his former co-workers, and also retains relationships with some of Hatco's current employees. As for the most interesting thing that happened to Randy while he was a Hatco employee, he says there are many; but he will always remember Rose Link, the mother of Hatco co-founder LaReine Hatch, stopping by the office and her love to water the plastic flowers on top of the filing cabinets. If those flowers are still somewhere in the office, I hope someone has been watering them!
After working at Hatco for an outstanding 33 years, Randy retired from the company in 2001. However, Randy has managed to keep himself quite busy over the past 12 years. He founded and is the owner of a business called ANA, "Chair Massage on Location," which has masseuses show up to a business that hires them and give the employees massages at work. Sounds like a good way to enjoy your job to me! He is also an advocate for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and volunteers for the Wisconsin Senior Medicare Patrol. In his spare time, Randy likes to relax by practicing yoga and, like a true Wisconsinite, he follows the Brewers and the Packers (Go Pack Go!)
As for the current and future employees of Hatco? All Randy has to say is to "go for it," a motto he still implements in his life to this day. It's short and simple, but I know it's something that I'm always going to remember. Getting to spend time with Randy and hear about Hatco in the older days was a blast, and I hope you enjoyed reading about it (and the picture I took of him below as well!)
(Filling in until Billy is found.)
Hatco from an Engineering Perspective
Although I'm probably the first thing you think of when you hear Hatco's name, my pal John Scanlon, the Director of Engineering, thinks of family. After sitting down with John, I really got a glimpse into the company from an engineering perspective and I hope you'll find it as interesting as I did!
In his 21 years here, John has put to use his restaurant and engineering background to cultivate an environment focused on keeping Hatco's product in front of the competition. Producing quality products, maintaining an innovative approach, and keeping his team motivated are always on the forefront of John's mind. Besides overseeing the design engineering department and the model shop, he also oversees technical publications for Hatco's products. He's really involved in the design of our new products, as well as maintaining the engineering aspects of our existing products. Basically, that means he focuses in on the questions:
- Does the product do what it should?
- Is it robust enough to handle the tough kitchen environment?
- And is it safe for our customers and employees?
I don't know about you, but I certainly appreciate someone taking the time to ask those difficult questions to keep Hatco's products great! I've seen a lot of imitation in this industry, and John agrees with me that imitation of a particular product/category signifies that it's one of the best. John and his team work hard to ensure that Hatco's products consistently rank in that top tier. I guess he's doing something right if we've been named Best in Class 11 years in a row!
KEYS TO SUCCESS
In addition to being proud of his personal success of becoming the Director of Engineering, he'ss also proud of his department for consistently putting out between 15 to 20 new products per year. What an accomplishment! Through the gentle pushes he gives his team members to keep them focused and always enjoying what they're doing, they've been able to reach these high achievements. Throughout that success, John has also helped his department embrace Hatco's family-like culture and knock-your-socks-off customer service. Instead of spending time looking over everyone's shoulders making sure they're doing the right thing, John relies on the skills of the team. "Everyone wants to do the right thing which, by definition, fits right in to knock-your-socks-off customer service. They're bending over backwards to try and give the customers exactly what they want."
WORK HARD, PLAY HARD
How can you tell the difference between an introverted engineer and an extroverted engineer? ...an extroverted engineer stares at someone else's shoes.
Although this joke may be true of stereotypical engineers, John tries his best to embrace Hatco's motto: Work Hard, Play Hard. It's clear that the engineers work very hard, but they enjoy what they do. They also take part in an engineering summit twice per year and are sure to include some play time. However, John said, "we may not play as hard as some of the other departments, but we try." John's favorite memory at Hatco? It was the catalyst to Hatco's infamous parties at NAFEM, David Hatch's 50th Birthday Party. Down in Dallas, Texas, Hatco hosted an unforgettable night to celebrate the 50th Birthday of former President and CEO, David Hatch, after NAFEM. So, although John's team works extremely hard to deliver innovative, top products to the industry, they enjoy what they do and reward themselves with some fun!
TO SUM IT UP...
Engineering, along with every other department at Hatco, is vital to the overall success. Through John's 21 years here at Hatco, he sticks around because every day he comes to work, he makes a difference; it might not always be a positive difference, since some days not everything goes the way you want it to, but he feels like he truly makes an impact here. Well, John, I think I, along with many others, would have to agree with you!
I hope you all enjoyed hearing about my buddy John and his work with the Engineering department.
(Filling in until Billy is found.)
Hatco from an International Sales Perspective
So we all know that Hatco is an employee-owned company based in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin. But, do you know that Hatco products are sold world-wide? And that we have an awesome person managing the international sales named Debby Kopczynski? She's got a lot of unique insights that I hope you find as interesting as I did!
If I could only tell you one thing about Debby, it would be that she rocks at what she does. She reflected on the many changes in the foodservice industry during the past couple of decades, one of which relates to the changing role of women in the international workplace. Whereas twenty five years ago, women were rarely seen traveling internationally as representatives of foodservice equipment manufacturers; women today hold prominent management positions in all segments of the industry throughout the world. Debby's job includes working hand in hand with regional sales and marketing teams, distributors and dealers, consultants and end users to develop sales opportunities for Hatco products. Debby works alongside the international team to implement promotional programs that will increase brand awareness. Exhibiting at international trade shows is a major strategy in getting across the Hatco message to all markets. Time spent in the field, traveling with reps and dealers, is critical in being able to understand what our customers are looking for in order to develop effective sales and marketing strategies that fully support their needs. Debby and her team also spend a great deal of time pioneering the concepts of food warming and holding. Customers warm and hold food differently in various regions, depending upon the eating out behavior of consumers. Training and educating customers on how Hatco products hold food safely serve to elevate foodservice standards, in general, and create a niche for Hatco products globally. Debby is passionate about this mission and loves her exciting position here at Hatco!
DOWN THE ROAD
Debby's overall goal is to increase brand awareness in all markets, and to position Hatco as a company that's easy to do business with at a local level. There is a strong focus on having people in the field available to readily respond to customers' inquiries. Quick ship stocking programs in several international regions are valuable in having products on hand to fulfill customers' orders quickly, eliminating long transit times from the factory to the country of destination. She's really proud of the teams' effort and success in growing Hatco internationally. This team includes the people here in the Milwaukee office, as well as those in the field. She explained that, in order to make our global program successful, every department needs to "buy in" to the mission, from Engineering, in designing special configurations for the export products, to Advertising, in creating custom, translated literature and price lists, to the manufacturing team, in building market specific quality products for international customers. "Our global success is due to the collective efforts of team members across all departments in the company!"
WORK HARD, PLAY HARD
There's a lot that goes into Debby's job of managing sales and marketing for Hatco's International department. One aspect of her job includes a lot of traveling. Some of her favorite places (though she claimed she can't name a favorite) include: Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Italy, Greece, and Egypt, to name a few. Due to the nature of the job, in needing to spend a lot of time on the road, Debby's job definitely embraces the "work hard, play hard" philosophy prevalent throughout Hatco. Relationship building is an important part of the job and business friendships are nurtured long after the close of the business day; typically over dinner and during karaoke! Here at Hatco, we love to laugh; and it's one of Debby's unofficial goals to always cultivate a fun atmosphere. During our sit down we got to laugh and reflect on the fun times we've had at Hatco, particularly some of the past April fool's pranks. You can ask her more about those another time. ;)
The first things that come to Debby's mind when Hatco is mentioned are quality, people, and culture. Debby sure does a great job at bringing these things to the international markets. She's focused on delivering Knock Your Socks off Customer Service to customers around the globe and positioning Hatco as a worldwide leader in foodservice technology. We sure are lucky to have her here! She's a great friend of mine and I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about her and Hatco's International side.
(Filling in until Billy is found.)
Hatco from a Business Development Perspective
It's inevitable; you've all been the new guy at least once in your life. Here at Hatco, we've had some fun making our "new guy" feel welcomed to the team by fully immersing him in the Hatco culture. Aside from the fun, Steve Everett, Jr., Hatco's new Business Development Manager, has done, and hopes to continue to do, some really great things here! I enjoyed hearing about this new position, and learning more about the "new guy" filling it.
THE INS AND OUTS
So what does developing business really mean? Steve's role includes traditional sales management with key accounts, collaborating with our international team to support the great growth story they're currently writing, and working alongside engineering to enhance our new product development efforts. It also includes forming and cultivating strategic partnerships and alliances to contribute to Hatco's vision of eternal growth. His goal is to apply his diverse background in the foodservice industry to give Hatco a fresh perspective and to open up new opportunities. Steve's job is interesting in that he has to overcome the challenge of catering to individual customers, while continuing to innovate products that customers don't yet know they need. In other words, he focuses on being responsive to our customers while also constantly thinking beyond what customers are asking for. He related this challenge to Apple's success in creating markets through their tablet introduction. Before these products exist, no one really knows they want or need it, but when it's created, everyone has to have it. Steve believes Hatco has an opportunity to "leap-frog" customer demand and create markets as well. He's really looking forward to being a part of what the team comes up with in the future. Personally, I've always been impressed with the innovative minds that have strolled the hallways at Hatco and I think Steve fits right in here!
Steve reflects on his time here at Hatco as highly enjoyable. The company has an environment that cultivates innovation and thinking outside of the box. Everyone here has a forgiving personality which reduces the "fear" of failure; there is a willingness to fail and fail faster to learn from experiences. This isn't to say that Hatco encourages failure by any means. It simply means that there is the understanding that rewards take risks and Hatco wisely takes risks to remain an industry leader. In addition to this innovative environment, Steve also really likes the fun he's had here. One of his favorite times with the company has been "letting his hair down" at the Hatco Training School, which is notorious for after-hour tomfoolery. I can attest that the Hatco team puts a lot of effort into making the school incredibly beneficial for learning, but also in displaying Hatco's fun culture. Hatco's work-life balance has allowed Steve to enjoy spending more time with his wife and two daughters, ages 3 and 9 months. I definitely agreed with his thoughts on family time; it's nice to have time outside of the job to take Tina Toaster out on a hot date or two…
THE MAN WITH THE VISION
Steve has embraced Hatco's goal to bring more products to market faster. As a company known for their innovation in the foodservice industry, it's important for us to get our innovative products out quickly, but also to uphold Hatco's high standard of quality products through effective product launches. Steve sees an opportunity for Hatco to continue to further their innovative and competitive position in the industry through continued creative problem solving, hard work, and collaboration. I'm excited to see what Steve develops here at Hatco - no pun intended ;) - and I look forward to hanging out with him more in the future!
(Filling in until Billy is found.)
Hatco from an Advertising Perspective
I think it's obvious that I have an affinity for Hatco; the products, the people, the partners, customers, etc. I spend most of my days telling people about that affinity because I want others to see how great Hatco truly is. Well, that's one thing that the advertising department and I have in common! I got a chance to sat down with Robin Alfano, the Advertising Manager, and learned about how they work hard to tell the world who Hatco is.
"You can't be creative in beige." Prior to Robin's initiatives, the department was a beige, functional area. With the help of a few others in the company, the creation of an "open environment" to encourage an increased flow of creative juices began. Eclectic furniture used previously by executives, unique colors, and an open work space has encouraged a free environment where everyone has a voice. This creation has been one of her largest successes and contributes to the success in achieving departmental goals. One of the overarching goals of the advertising department is to help the company be the best in the industry. How do you do that? Well, advertising focuses on creating unique and innovative sales tools to make the lives of the sales reps and internal customers easier. Robin believes that creating sales tools to help those internal customers can cut down on the time of getting products to market, assist in the ease of sales, and cut steps for ordering materials. In addition, the advertising department, through Robin's leadership, has taken many steps to encourage and embrace creativity and a strong team environment. Her motto is to give her team room to grow in new areas to ultimately help them evolve into their full potential. The plaque she looks at every morning which sits in a nice frame on her desk says, "Build an innovative, creative, supportive, forward thinking, enthusiastic team of Advertising Professionals who together will have FUN developing 'Knock Your Socks Off' sales tools that add value daily to Hatco Corp., our Reps, and our Customers."
Robin and her team have really embraced Hatco's emphasis on employee ownership through their mentality that they have to constantly think like owners. A focus on saving costs, being efficient, taking on tasks to contribute to the good of the company, and being team-oriented has led the department to achieve huge successes for the company. Robin is proud of building up a department that cultivates these ideals. She is also proud of bringing Hatco into the 21st century! Robin is awesome in that she embraces technology and is always looking for ways that it can streamline processes or benefit the company. She understands that change is the only thing that is constant. This is why it's important to her to stay on top of new technology to understand the trends and needs of the customers while letting others work out the bugs before Hatco jumps on the train. This comes from her observation over the years that the industry is typically a few years behind the trends, but once a new concept is grasped, it sticks and is fully embraced. Robin sits in the middle ground between being too cutting-edge and old school. I personally found this very interesting as I love to be on top of the social media trends. She and I can definitely relate on this topic!
ROLLER DERBY CHICKS?
If you haven't seen the pictures, you're definitely missing out. Robin's favorite memory in her 6 years at Hatco is a recent outing where the advertising department represented Hatco and went down to their media-agency's golf outing dressed as the Hellcats, a wild roller derby team. Let's just say they were a jaw dropping bunch that day! Robin and the ladies had an incredible time and shocked the socks off of many people! This goes along with her team-oriented aspect as it was fun for the group to come together and choose a theme. Collaborating on some crazy costumes and getting into character was a fun team-building event which Robin reflects on warmly.
So they're obviously a great bunch of people with a very strong leader, but… what do they do? Well, lots of stuff! Robin and her team are in charge of many responsibilities; some routine, and some ad-hoc. No matter what, they always do a great job! To name a few (ahem) of those responsibilities: trade show and events planning; Hatco Training School support; online literature ordering system; online customizable equipment flyers; new product direct mail, email, and video campaigns; updating and managing the website; graphics signage program; social media tracking; photography; promoting products through media placement; press releases; as well as acting as a communication vehicle between Hatco and the Rep Community. In the future, they're excited to start working on demos and unique sales tools for the reps and internal customers, as well as a mobile website and other innovative ideas they're looking forward to accomplishing.
It's easy to say that this group is an exciting one to be around! I have a lot of fun in the advertising department and hopefully you all got to learn a little bit more about my favorite Hellcats ;)
(Filling in until Billy is found.)
Hatco from a Regional Sales Perspective
So I knew Hatco had great products, but I had no idea about the intricate process of getting our products to the customers through the talented sales staff until after I sat down with my buddy Mark Ecker, a Regional Sales Manager here at Hatco.
Mark is in charge of generating sales in the west region which includes everything west of the Mississippi, which is a lot of ground to cover in my opinion! One of Mark's primary responsibilities is managing our extensive rep community which is Hatco's conduit to the distribution channel. This requires extensive travelling in those territories, working in conjunction with the respective rep in that territory, as well as calling on the dealers in the distribution channel that sell the product. In addition to all of that, he is very involved in product development as he is a product line manager for two different categories here at Hatco! As a result, he spends a lot of time with the various functions at Hatco to develop new products and constantly enhance existing products.
EXPERIENCES AT HATCO
In Mark's 20 years here at Hatco, he would say the biggest drawing card for the company, which still holds true today, is the family culture. Longevity of careers here at Hatco is infamous within the industry which speaks volumes about the company and its culture. Mark emphasized his appreciation of how much employees here are truly looking out for each other's best interest. Everyone helps everyone else out, which is a huge difference from his experience in the "corporate jungle." He confidently stated that he can hand something off to any department knowing it will get done because we all respect each other and we all make it happen. Obviously Mark's primary goal is to constantly maintain and increase sales. This is challenging, particularly in today's competitive market, because Hatco's high quality products are not the least expensive products on the market. Mark conquers that challenge by focusing on the beneficial attributes, "knock your socks off customer service", after market service, as well as, the constant innovation of new products. He talked about his experiences at Trade Shows of how customers constantly seek Hatco out to see what new innovations they are bringing to the market. Mark's goal is to maintain the high quality, innovative image, which gives him and his reps a perpetual "new bag of tricks" to sell on a daily basis.
Everyone knows Hatco's motto is Work Hard, Play Hard, and I'd have to say that Mark and his colleagues fully embrace it! Going along with that, entertaining customers is an important aspect of Mark's job. This is especially true when the sales team entertains 35-45 important customers 6 times a year at the highly acclaimed Hatco Dealer/Consultant training school. Mark says "It definitely keeps you on your game at all times, but gives you an opportunity to truly cement long standing relationships."
The sales function is basically the sounding board of the company. Solid relationships with all departments internally and externally with the reps and their support staff, keep things flowing positively. Our reps are truly an extension of Hatco. Fortunately the longstanding tenure of our reps has created an atmosphere of trust and brand loyalty that is unique to Hatco. There's continuity in the market place because people know the product and know the reps. One of his primary goals is to continue to nurture the rep relationships and assist in succession planning to assure that new personnel are coming up in the ranks.
Overall, Mark uses excellent open communication between departments, reps and customers to facilitate a positive sales experience. This really helps keep everyone on the same page and ultimately helps project Hatco as one of the few premier "employee-owned" companies in the foodservice industry. After leaving our conversation, I feel a new appreciation for the hard work my friends in the sales department do. I hope you do, too!
(Filling in until Billy is found.)
Hatco from a Trade Show & Special Events Perspective
Hatco is well-known for their presence at some of the most highly regarded trade shows in the industry. Knowing that, have you ever thought of the work that goes into those incredibly vital events? After sitting down with Lisa Muszytowski, I got a chance to learn a new perspective on the company and more about Trade Shows and Special Events!
Throughout her 23 years here at Hatco, Lisa has gained an immense amount of company knowledge from her experience in several different departments. Beginning in Equipment Sales, she developed an interest in the company, which propelled her through a time as a Customer Service Rep, Customer Service Assistant Manager, leading her into the Sales Department for 11 years and, as of last year, the Advertising Department. She says that perfect timing gets the credit for these fortunate opportunities. Reflecting on her time at Hatco she said, "It has been very interesting to see the different dynamics of departments and people, and to see how their roles fit into the company as a whole." Over her time here at Hatco, she really has enjoyed seeing how far people have progressed over time. Consider past President and Owner David Hatch who worked his way up through the factory in Sturgeon Bay and sales to become President, or other people who have moved around in the company and up the corporate ladder. Those individual achievements of those around her have topped her favorite memories at Hatco.
To Lisa, trade shows are truly a way to get yourself out there, as well as to see what our company is about. From this, it's clear that they are a great way to manage the brand image. Trade shows are out in front of the public eye and it's important to get people to interact with the brand, put the best foot forward, and most importantly it's a time to shine. Hatco utilizes trade shows by promoting new products and constantly being out in front of the customer. One way Lisa tries to incorporate Hatco's "knock-your-socks-off customer service" into the booths is by providing a fun atmosphere with more lively booths. In conjunction with advertising, Lisa is working on incorporating touch screen technology for customer surveys, testimonials, and contests to make the booths better stand out. Through increasing automation of the booth operation, she wants to create an atmosphere where the sales guys are better able to prospect and sell, instead of being weighed down by the menial tasks of setting up and tearing down the booth.
NAFEM - ONE HECK OF A PARTY
If you haven't heard about it, you're definitely missing out. Lisa is not only responsible for putting together a knock-out booth for the NAFEM trade show, but also for orchestrating, with a team of 3, one of the most anticipated parties ever! By providing a venue for Hatco employees, partners, associates, and friends to "Work Hard, Play Hard" she's created a buzz which people talk about for years. The NAFEM (North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers) show has been around for approximately 60 years and is held every other year (the next one being 2013). There are potentially 7,000-9,000 attendees which mean Hatco gets an awesome opportunity to put themselves in front of a large audience! The old saying is "first impressions are everything." Lisa and her team have found that people only give a few seconds to evaluate a booth which makes her job very exciting. At all trade shows and especially at NAFEM, the first impression is the first "touch point" that Hatco has in customer interaction. Lisa's team wants to make them feel confident and excited about the product, while continuing or potentially creating a relationship with Hatco.
Through the years of gaining knowledge and insights about the company, Lisa is constantly improving processes for trade shows and events. Her goal is to create a unique environment that customers enjoy interacting with. Her goals for the future include improving those processes more and more so she can put more focus into ROI, emphasizing the new products and features, and researching more shows that Hatco could potentially be part of. She concluded this thought by explaining that trade shows are a great way to show people the heart of Hatco's products, people, and business. She wants to continue to be successful while constantly keeping her eyes focused on Hatco's motto of "knock-your-socks-off customer service."
I had a great time learning from Lisa during our talk. I typically see her work when I'm boogying out on the dance floor at NAFEM and visiting the booths at the trade shows. I hope you all learned as much as I did!
(Filling in until Billy is found.)
Hatco from a Sales Manager and Corporate Chef's Perspective
From the title of this post, you may think that I sat down with two individuals to talk about Hatco. If so, I hate to correct you, but we have a multi-talented, highly-regarded individual named Brad Stoeckel who is not only a Sales Manager, but also Hatco's own Corporate Chef. He's a unique guy that I always enjoy being around with an interesting perspective on Hatco.
BEING A CORPORATE CHEF
So, at this point you probably know Hatco makes quality equipment for the foodservice industry. If not, then I'm glad I had the honor of informing you. This equipment is used by chefs, convenience store owners, restaurant servers, caterers, hospitals, schools, etc. Brad's job entails many functions, but one of those functions is helping customers by helping them choose products, test products, and by showing them how to best utilize a piece of equipment. This includes going to a customer's facility to test their equipment, or having the equipment brought up to Sturgeon Bay for testing. For example, if a food customer needs to bake or hold their food in Hatco equipment, Brad will conduct the testing they desire to set up the correct parameters, or show them how to best hold the food in a certain piece of equipment. Another function of Brad's position as Corporate Chef is contributing greatly to the research and development of new products. Giving Hatco the "Chef perspective" has been incredibly beneficial to Hatco's understanding of the end-users needs. Brad helps Hatco understand how a product would be used in a kitchen which contributes to the practical designs apparent in Hatco's products.
...AND A SALES MANAGER
Brad currently manages all of the Canadian territories, as well as 3 territories in the US. In this role, he trains dealers and reps on Hatco products to ensure that they're up-to-speed with the latest and greatest. Brad strives to back the "front line of sales" with sales and program information to contribute to a met or exceeded budget each year. He didn't necessarily envision himself in sales, but Brad likes the positive challenge. He explained that he has no trouble selling Hatco products because he believes in the company, and he believes in the products, which any salesperson can tell you, is very important! Ultimately, he enjoys coming to work every day because every day is different. Whether he's travelling, meeting with customers, or working on product development, he is always having fun and enjoying what he does.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Many of you know my great friend, the legendary, David Hatch. Back in the day, David was running a restaurant and hired Brad as a chef. The rest is history. Now, ten years later, Brad explains that those 10 years feel like 1 year, in a good way. As mentioned previously, every day for him is different. Over the years, Brad has really enjoyed creating long-lasting relationships with his customers, the family-like atmosphere, and contributing to the Hatco legacy. One of his goals is to continue Hatco's success, but also to have a good time while doing it. In this day and age, it's hard to come by someone who has been with a company for a significant amount of time that has truly enjoyed each day of it. Brad's also really proud of how far he's come in the company, as well as the responsibilities and trust he's received from his boss and peers to be able to take on larger roles over time. Like he said, he never saw himself in sales, and becoming a Sales Manager has been a huge accomplishment for him!
Brad mentioned something he learned from David Hatch that really caught my attention regarding the proverbial "golden rule." That is, "not treating people how they want to be treated, but to treat them according to the 'platinum rule' and treat them how you want to be treated." Knock Your Socks Off Customer Service definitely goes far beyond the Customer Service team! I had an awesome time hanging out with Brad and I hope you all enjoyed hearing a new perspective about Hatco!
(Filling in until Billy is found.)
Hatco from the VP of Sales and Marketing Perspective
I've been around this company for a long time and, in that time, there have been some great leaders walking these halls! If you know my friend Mike Whiteley, the VP of Sales and Marketing, I think you'll agree with me when I say that great leadership is still very much a characteristic of Hatco. My buddy Mike is truly a unique person and I hope you enjoy his perspective on Hatco.
HERDING THE CATS
So, if you're like me, you're probably wondering what a VP actually does. It can vary a lot, based on the company, but Mike approaches the position as a shepherd. Managing the chaos, or "herding the cats," comprises much of his position, but his job also includes providing support and strategic direction for the Sales, Marketing, Advertising, and Customer Service departments (or the SMACS team, as we like to call it). The SMACS team is comprised of some great employee-owners who come together once a month in order to keep the communication lines open for increased efficiency. In addition to these once a month meetings, the team also comes together for a lot of team-building activities and extracurricular events to maintain the fun atmosphere. The group is comprised of some really fun and interesting personalities, so when these folks come together it's always a riot. Mike remembers a team-building trip when they rented a barn for an overnight trip where they all slept under the same roof, relaxed beside a bon fire each night, and conducted some meetings throughout the day. His time here at Hatco is highlighted by memories like these; memories that reflect the fun camaraderie amongst the group.
In addition to those fond memories of "playing hard," Mike also enjoys reflecting on the "working hard" component of his position. The goal of the SMACS team is to generate revenue, create "raving fans," and infect customers with enthusiasm about Hatco products. Not only is he proud of the cohesiveness of the team, but he's also proud of their achievements in these three areas. Every year since Mike has been here, with the exception of 1, they have made or exceeded budget, and have also realized a revenue growth that is higher than the industry average. Aside from these noteworthy numbers, Mike also reflects warmly on the success of the Hatco Training School, which began during his time at Hatco. These training schools not only educate attendees on Hatco products, but they also educate attendees on Hatco culture. Hatco's culture cannot merely be taught, but Mike does a really great job giving the attendees a crash course. After carefully observing and documenting memorable moments, he is able to give class awards as part of his commencement speech. These awards include Valedictorian and, the "prestigious" award of "The One" – if you want to know what that is, ask Mike, or you'll just have to come to the school. ;) Quirks like these, the goofy glasses and clown horn (which Mike stores in his desk drawers), support his goal of continuing to enjoy what he does.
THE FULL SPECTRUM
Looking back, there are clearly a lot of aspects of Mike's job that he can look back upon joyfully. Currently, he focuses on providing support and resources to his team, while continually offering strategic guidance. His job is incredibly important as he oversees the departments that are the primary revenue-generators and that directly interact with customers. Going forward, Mike shares Hatco's vision of eternal growth, but he also sees this vision in an international context. Pioneering emerging markets is an important goal in Mike's eyes. Hatco has enjoyed great success with this in the past, most recently in China. Key markets for the future include India, Brazil and Russia. Similarly, he hopes to see a continued improvement in product development, particularly in getting products to market quicker. Truly new products can sometimes take up to 2 years from idea conception to launch and Mike hopes to contribute to improving this area while maintaining Hatco's reputation of quality products.
In addition to being successful at "herding the cats," Mike and I really have had some great times. We've spent a lot of time together over the years; writing blogs, travelling the world, combatting the daily grind, and of course attending trade shows - particularly since Mike was actually the Chair of 2011's NAFEM show! He truly is a great person to be around and I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Hatco from the perspective of our VP of Sales and Marketing!
Hatco from a Parts & Service Perspective
Quality is a loaded word. For Hatco, quality defines our products and people. But what goes into those quality products that everyone knows and loves so much? Well, a lot – but my friend Gary Kramer, Manager of the Parts and Service Team, has a great perspective on this topic. We sat down the other day, and I really learned a lot about him!
LEARNING FROM THE BEST
In Gary's 28 years here at Hatco, he remembers his humble beginnings; a fresh-graduate from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, working at a brand new company in a not-so-great economic time (quite like today). He remembers when the Parts and Service Department was in a different part of the building, writing orders by hand and sending them via courier for fulfillment. During this time, he had the fortune of working within feet of the President at that time, Rod Chaudoir. Gary attributes his current managerial style of leading his team members to the answer, instead of merely giving it to them, to Rod, who would occasionally pop over to Gary's desk to lead him through an issue he may have been facing at the time. Gary finds this managerial style important in empowering team members such that they will be able to be more confident in answering questions on their own. Before I get ahead of myself, I had better explain what exactly it is that Gary does...
Gary leads a department dedicated to providing quality service to internal and external customers through entering orders, troubleshooting equipment, referring customers to appropriate service agencies, giving installation instructions, and providing guidance about equipment specifications. A day in the life in the Parts and Service Department is always changing, depending on the needs of the customers. Their department gets up to 250 calls/day and 5,000 calls/month from external customers (reps, end users, etc.). At times it can be turbulent in the department, which can be wearing, but they stay in good spirits no matter happens; whether that's through funny one-liners to keep it loose, or pulling pranks to capitalize on a humorous moment. For instance, one of the team members came to work fairly sunburnt and throughout the day found photos edited in Photoshop of his head on lobster bodies around his desk. I guess you can say they definitely embrace Hatco's motto of "Work Hard, Play Hard!"
CUSTOMER IS KING
Some people say content is king, while Hatco firmly states that the customer is king. The goal of the department is to go above and beyond in taking care of the customer. Not only does the department cater to external customers, but also "internal customers" like Hatco employees, for instance. The entire company works to exceed customers' expectations, and a goal Gary has for the future is to provide more training for those at the company so they will be better able to answer questions and serve customers by their extensive knowledge about the necessary product lines. This goal comes from the general understanding that if Hatco doesn't exceed customers' expectations of quality service, a competitor will, so it's very important to be as knowledgeable and as easy to work with as possible. Quality service goes beyond answering the phones well. The entire team's efforts go into helping provide quality service through creating high-quality replacement parts lists, installation and operation literature, keeping documents up-to-date, and helping customers understand how to find information, if necessary. This department does a lot and they do a great job exhibiting Hatco quality!
Gary and I have had a lot of fun together in the past. Whether it's chatting about my crush on Tina Toaster, pulling pranks around the office, or simply enjoying each other's company – we always have a great time! He is always focused on the customer; being fair and helpful, while consistently trying to make things better for them. Give Gary a pat on the back next time you see him, he deserves it!
Hatco from a Marketing Perspective
Marketing can be defined in many different ways for different companies, but at Hatco, it can be defined as the voice of the customer. I got a chance to catch up with my great friend Charleyne Brenneis, Hatco's Marketing Manager, and I learned a lot about our marketing efforts which are really neat! Charley, as I like to call her, focuses on utilizing marketing research to ensure that Hatco can effectively get a product to market as efficiently as possible.
THE VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER
When people think of marketing research, they typically think of an online survey, or telemarketing. Well, I learned that there is MUCH more to it than that! Charley's job covers a broad variety of projects, but the main concern is product development. Product development includes the obvious, designing and developing a new product. It also includes the process of getting it out to market, which can either prove the product to be successful, or sometimes a failure. Charley uses many different resources to first understand the needs and wants of the customers in order to help a new product achieve success. These resources include online surveys, focus groups, one-on-one meetings with customers, and test groups (where people use new products then provide feedback about them). Charley uses many different ways to listen to the customer throughout the various stages of product development. It takes time to get feedback throughout those stages, but it's necessary to ensure a smooth product introduction.
WHERE IT STARTED
Charley and I go way back to my early days here at Hatco. She started here at Hatco to attempt to pay her way through college and was eventually offered a job upon graduation. After working her way up through the advertising department, she reflects on the invaluable advice received by her mentor, Ron Halverson. One of the most impactful lessons learned from Ron was after one of her first photo shoots. After diligently preparing for this photo shoot and taking a beautiful photograph, she realized that she overlooked a tiny detail. This resulted in her, now fully-embraced, motto of "It's all in the details." This was not only true in her advertising days, but is now embraced in every aspect of her work. One of her successes over the years was being part of a team that put together parties for the customers which were talked about for years after. The chatter about those events was about the details that the guests still warmly reflect on. Details are the small building blocks of a big-picture success.
THE HATCO FAMILY
What would Charley first think of when someone mentions Hatco? Family. Over Charley's 37 years here at Hatco, one of many reasons why she has stayed here is the familial culture. The camaraderie among the folks here at Hatco creates an atmosphere that can only be described as family. Whether it's going bowling, playing ping pong, having a summer picnic "just because," or heading to a Brewer's game, they are always looking to have some fun. The family-like culture is not only embraced socially, but also professionally in that each department really wants to know and understand what the other departments do. Throughout the years, lifestyles have changed, so Charley feels like the extracurricular activities have slowed down a little, but she adds that maybe they're a little wiser for not "playing" as hard.
Like I said, Charley and I go way back. We've seen this company grow so much and, with her expertise and experience, hope to see it continue to grow eternally through product development and innovation while constantly having Hatco's ears open to the customers. She is an awesome person to be around and her strong work ethic is admired in the company. I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet with her. I hope you all enjoyed learning about Hatco from a marketing perspective.
Hatco from a Customer Service Perspective
If you want to talk about longevity, let's talk about one of my best pals, Tom Grams, the Customer Service Manager here at Hatco. I got a chance to catch up with Tom who has been with Hatco for 38 years. Not only is he a great guy to hang around with, he's committed to Hatco's infamous motto of "Knock Your Socks Off Customer Service."
KNOCK YOUR WHAT OFF?
So, it's been said before that Hatco offers Knock Your Socks Off Customer Service. Where did this expression come from, and what does it really mean? Well, I think the colloquialism is longstanding, but Hatco uses it to illustrate the superior customer service offered through their call center, order-entry and export functions. Although the philosophy has dwelled in Hatco for many years, Tom has really gone the extra mile to contextualize it in their department. He knows that in order to develop the loyal customers Hatco has, you need to be flexible and understanding of their needs to truly be as easy to do business with as possible. The typical day for the Customer Service team isn't scheduled or routine by any means. Their day-to-day functions are dependent upon the customers' needs, ranging from explaining how a piece of equipment works, recommending pieces of equipment for different types of applications, tracking after-sales shipments, and more. Tom's department works closely with many of the other functions at Hatco including Sales, Credit, and the Manufacturing Plant, among others in order to help customers. Despite the challenge of managing a broad range of functions, Tom does a great job in keeping a cohesive team.
With an open door, Tom offers himself as a resource for the folks on his team. The team of 14 is accredited with the reason why the department achieves success. With the training they've received and experience gained over the years, he can comfortably manage with a hands-off approach. Tom thinks of his team as a self-sustaining, well-oiled machine. If anyone needs help, he's always there to assist whether that entails answering the phones, entering orders, or assisting with whatever issue may arise. Tom recalls the days when the Customer Service team included 3 people. The growth of the department and the advancements made in further embracing the Knock Your Socks Off philosophy is something Tom is very proud of.
Reflecting on the word Hatco brought one thought to mind: fun. Although there isn't one stand-out moment that Tom can claim is his favorite memory, he can think of a slew of memories that put a smile on his face. He recalls the bus loads of people being brought down from the manufacturing plant in Sturgeon Bay to the offices here in Milwaukee for a huge Brewers Tail Gate. All of the company-wide gatherings have contributed to his conclusion that Hatco has a fun work environment. He can state firmly that he has never dreaded a day of work at Hatco, which speaks volumes about the company! I'd have to say that I agree with him there! Over the years at Hatco, Tom has really been amazed by the transformation of the company from being family-owned to becoming employee-owned. The flow of information through the managers to everyone in the company has really contributed to the family-like environment.
Tom has gotten to experience a variety of work in his 38 years at Hatco and has gotten involved in a lot of different initiatives. He looks forward to contributing to continued global growth and continually expanding to meet the needs of the customers. He's an incredible asset to this company and I look forward to hanging out with him for many years to come!
Hatco from the President and CEO's Perspective
Some people call it the Chief Executive Officer, but here at Hatco, we've been known to call it the Chief Entertainment Officer. I sat down with my best bud, Dave Rolston, Hatco's President and CEO, and talked to him about Hatco from his perspective. To many, it may seem like Dave's perspective would be the bird's eye view, but after talking to him more, I realized that he is so involved in the various aspects of Hatco that it's much more than that.
Dave began as President and CEO in the fall of 2004, at the same Hatco became 100% employee owned. His main goal is to maintain the Hatco culture which he says is made easier because of the amazing team members in the company. Despite differing opinions of the meaning, he also suggests that his goal is to maintain the fun; he wants to make sure that people enjoy their work. How do you accomplish this somewhat complicated and ambiguous task? First step, according to Dave, is the empowerment of the talented employee owners. Of course there's the risk of people making mistakes, or doing things differently, but it's a risk he's willing to take. He knows he can trust the people here to make decisions that are appropriate because of their knowledge of the company and their desire to see the company truly succeed.
He loves the simplicity of Hatco's management structure which is derived from that unique aspect of empowerment. He affirms that the idea of empowerment wasn't necessarily his, but that it was inherited from David Hatch. Either way, Dave highly values keeping it up!
OH THE MEMORIES
Dave reminisces of the days with David Hatch; particularly David's 45th birthday which proved to embody Hatco's Work Hard, Play Hard motto. He enjoyed the unique leadership of David Hatch, where you never knew what was going to happen when you stepped into his office. Although Dave doesn't think he's a naturally funny guy, he tries to live out the Work Hard, Play Hard motto personally through ensuring the new team members have fun, interesting personalities-particularly the sales team. The sales team is the primary contact between the company and the customer which makes it exceedingly important to get great people in that department; case in point, David Hatch came up through the sales department!
GOALS & VISION
Dave told me about the many goals of this company which gave me a clear vision of Hatco. It was really neat. Here are some of the strategies of Hatco we talked about:
- Staying within core competencies, or doing what we're good at. Highlighted was Hatco's complex distribution channel, as well as the outstanding manufacturing and assembly abilities.
- Long Term Strategy. As an employee-owned company that doesn't have to externally report quarterly figures, Hatco is not overly-focused on the short-term gains that many other companies stress over, which really allows Hatco to be focused on long-term growth through investments, etc.
- Controlled growth is another important strategy. Instead of excessive acquisitions and huge, sudden growth, Hatco expands appropriately at a controllable rate, to produce smart, controlled growth.
- Focusing on being beneficial to owners. Owners of Hatco (the employees) care about the business and the return, which according to Dave, is a perfect combination.
HOW IT GETS DONE
How do you maintain this fun-loving, but serious culture? How do you uphold the image of quality? Tough questions, but Dave says his approach is like that of a coach. He has high, but appropriate expectations and gives empowerment to individuals to make decisions. The education that comes with decision making is what makes people smarter and better prepared for the future.
I guess to conclude this segment, though it could go on forever, Dave is focused on ensuring that Hatco has a great team made up of the right people in the right place. From there, it goes down to expectations and accountability; expectations that people will do their best and providing support as accountability. Dave is a great leader, coach, and friend. I enjoyed my time with him, as well as the insights gained, and I hope you did too!