Caroline Perkins has more than 25 years of experience in the food industry including 14 years with foodservice publications. She is president of The Foodservice Content Company, which specializes in marketing communication and research, author of Customer Care & Feeding: The Ultimate B2B Selling Strategy and lends her industry expertise to the IFMA Distributor Awards selection jury.
Kohl Wholesale's tagline is "The Leading Customer-Driven Regional Broadline Foodservice Distributor." In its mission statement, Kohl takes pride in its "immense devotion" to customer service. This commitment is evident throughout the entire company, especially the sales and marketing teams who are dedicated to providing creative support to operator clients.
The sales team focuses on training so that reps are armed with the skills and tools necessary to help customers run their businesses. The marketing team plans and executes food shows and other promotional support and is dedicated to e-marketing. They pledge commitment to employees as a valuable link in the company's chain of success. An active Facebook page contains a steady supply of product information and recipes as well as a series of "Happy Motivational Monday" messages. A recent one repeats a motivational quote from Ruth Renkl: "You live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted."
Kohl offers nutrition and culinary services to its customers. It has two registered dietitians and a corporate chef on staff to work with operators.
To expand its customer service beyond its traditional distribution center, Kohl opened a Cash & Carry store in 2000 for its smaller operator customers. The showroom is also open to the public.
Kohl is led by the fourth and fifth generation Ehrhart family. Based in Quincy, Ill., it was founded in 1873 by Nicholas Kohl. Management is involved in all aspects of achieving excellent customer service. As one supplier puts it: "Customers know the management team as well as they know their DSRs." The family also recognizes the key role played by each employee. In the mission statement, they pledge commitment to employees as a valuable link in the company's chain of success.
Learn more about the 2013 IFMA Distributor Award winners presented at Presidents Conference: