Merchants Sales Company celebrates its 50th anniversary with an eye to the future

Merchant sales team
Vitamix June 2022 728×90

Companies that have been able to survive the pandemic have done so by adapting and presenting their value to customers in new ways. It was something Merchant sales company has been able to do this not only during the pandemic, but in his fifty years serving the restaurant and foodservice industry.

“During the pandemic, we haven’t had much to celebrate. We’ve been trying to find things to celebrate, and we think it’s definitely worth it,” said Merchants President of Sales Frank Roughgarden. “Sometimes people celebrate accomplishments that are only important to the people within their company. We have two manufacturing partners, Anchor Packaging and Rofson, who we have represented since day one. It’s 50 years of walking side by side in the market. Together we have been through a lot of good times; we have been through many lean times, but the overall success is something we are very proud of and want to celebrate.

Merchant sales companyAs for how Merchants Sales Company has succeeded and grown over its fifty-year history, Roughgarden attributes it to the company’s ability to grow its brand and maintain its high standards. “I was fortunate enough to join the company in 1979, when the company was eight years old,” Roughgarden said. “My brother was involved in the business three years prior and is responsible for my arrival. Merchants Sales then began to grow with the next generation of owners and expanded to Georgia, Alabama, Florida and in Tennessee. That was the geographic area that we really focused on for 15 to 20 years, until one of our manufacturers contacted us and said that our methods would translate well to the New York subway market. York. We then took three years to build a plan to enter this market, because it is our brand and something that we are very careful about. We had to get it right.”

As for the success of Merchants Sales in their field for fifty years, it is thanks to the relationships they have established and the advice they give to their clients. “We are working with operators to help them grow their offsite business,” Roughgarden said. “This can be done by using high quality packaging and striving to develop a strong packaging platform that tells the customer that you care about them and appreciate their business.”

“It’s about reinforcing that value, which ultimately is the essence of a positive customer experience,” Roughgarden explained. “Before the pandemic, takeout and delivery made up maybe 5% of an operator’s profit, sometimes in the last two years it can have gone to 100%. Even though dining halls are open, operators shouldn’t want to give up these hard-earned revenue streams. They need to continue to focus on takeout and delivery as people who two years ago didn’t order takeout or use third-party delivery systems are now including them in their weekly rotation restaurants.

Roughgarden continued, “Operators can affect anyone’s dining experience. If a customer has a bad experience, a manager can address it and work to remedy the situation and make the customer happy. When the take-out bag crosses the threshold of the restaurant door, the operator has lost its ability to affect the customer experience. If everything is not ready to fit in the bag, if the bag is not correctly placed or if the packaging is defective, the customer will not be able to return to the restaurant. Thus, the packaging must be absolutely correct to ensure that a customer has a positive takeout experience.

Uber Eats for Merchants May 2022 728×90

As for how Merchants Sales looks to succeed going forward, Roughgarden says it’s all about continuing to help its customers succeed. “I continually stress to our new reps that one thing is not going to change: if a picture is worth a thousand words, a sample is worth a million,” Roughgarden said.

“Getting a sample into someone’s hands is a physical act. Someone must be present to do this. Operators must place their food in the container to see how it presents to their guest. It’s something you can’t do online,” concluded Roughgarden. “There is a pent-up desire on the part of operators to see suppliers and representatives in person. As long as we can continue to present ourselves in front of our end users and operators, showing them value and innovation, we will be well positioned for continued success.


More information about Merchants Sales Company 50th Anniversary and their services can be found online at their website.