Mike Villano, VP/GM Foodservice, Basic American Foods

Tagged in Leadership Manufacturer Members Presidents Conference

Mike Villano is no stranger to hard work. After getting his start in foodservice managing seafood restaurants in Manhattan, he learned quickly what types of challenges operators face on a daily basis. This foundational knowledge and his "no shortcuts" approach helps him ensure Basic American Foods' customers thrive in the restaurant business. Get to know him.

If you had to describe IFMA in just three words, what would they be?
Connect. Learn. Share.

How does being an IFMA Member benefit you?
Being a member of IFMA helps me connect with key foodservice industry leaders. IFMA gives me the opportunity to learn from some very smart and successful people.

What do you value most about industry events?
Foodservice industry events provide the opportunity to connect with peers from other companies and expand my knowledge of the industry.

What do you value most about being on an IFMA committee?
As a member of the Presidents Conference 2013 Committee, I experienced firsthand how participating in IFMA committees enable me to make meaningful contributions to the association and the foodservice industry.

What industry challenge keeps you up at night?
One of the greatest obstacles is the changing consumer behavior. Consumers are moving away from foodservice, which puts pressure on our collective ability to generate growth.

How do you give back to your community?
On a personal level, my wife and I are involved with Meals on Wheels. On a professional level, Basic American Foods supports Feeding America in multiple ways.

What is your advice to a person new to the industry?
Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. Work in a restaurant to gain an understanding of how it generates a profit.

IFMA featured members are selected based on their accomplishments in the food industry. Recognized as leaders, they are the people moving the industry forward with big ideas and even bigger goals. Know someone who fits the bill? Tell us.

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Cleveland Research Identifies Movement in Grocery Foodservice Trend

Given the accelerated shift to perimeter departments within grocery and convenience stores, retailers are allocating more space and resources to grow profits from foodservice sales.  The opportunities for manufacturers to secure growth in this channel are prospering, hear more  from Jason Whitmer, President of Cleveland Research Company at Presidents Conference in November.  

2014 Distributor Award Winners Announced!

IFMA announced the winners of the 8th Annual Distributor Awards. The prestigious awards acknowledge distributor leadership and overall excellence within the foodservice industry. The winners will be celebrated at Presidents Conference on Nov. 2-5, 2014, co-hosted by IFMA and The International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA).

"This year's Distributor Award recipients are among the best in the business and we are proud to honor them." Click to read more. 

Michael Cannon, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Surlean Foods

Managing the growth and development of the sales, marketing and R&D teams at Surlean Foods is quite the task, but somehow Michael finds time to help shape many of IFMA's programs. His motto, "Don't let 'perfect' get in the way of 'better'" helps him stay on task and continuously seek improvement. Get to know him.

The Fight for the Consumer

Traffic growth of 1% or below has become the new normal in the restaurant industry. This can be attributed to the slow economy, food inflation, and consumer preferences for in-home meals. The fight for the consumer dollar has intensified and includes newer food solutions such as meal kits and retail foodservice and an increased focus on foodservice at home. Industry leaders across channels such as Toppers Pizza, Blue Apron, and Cumberland Farms are responding to these trends through experiential offerings and cutting-edge technology.

Erin Buntin, Director, Foodservice Sales, Schreiber Foods

In Erin Buntin's current role at Schreiber Foods, she is charged with being "customer obsessed", which means she leads the company's field sales team to build strategies and business plans that focus on exceeding customers expectations and of course, selling more cases profitably. When her friends ask her what she does, she simply replies "I am changing the world one slice of cheese at a time." Get to know her.

Joe Bybel -- Senior VP, Marketing and R&D, Ventura Foods

Maintaining a strong work ethic and keeping an eye on the details are two key traits needed for success in foodservice, according to Joe Bybel of Ventura Foods. In addition, Joe believes providing simpler and more natural products will continue to be a top priority needed to meet complex consumer demands. Get to know him.

Robert A. Corscadden, VP Marketing & Innovation U.S. Specialty Channels, Kellogg Company

Bob notes that one of the greatest innovations in foodservice over the past decade is reality food shows, which have turned cooking into drama and competition. People are now learning about foods and ingredients they never knew existed and are challenging operators to provide dishes that mirror what they see on TV. Get to know him.

Richard Ferranti, Executive VP and COO, Rich Products

"Why not?" is a simple question that has opened up a world of opportunity for Richard Ferranti. From establishing businesses in emerging markets like China, Brazil and India to leading the North American business for Rich Products, he's a foodservice guru with all the right stuff. Get to know him.

Elisa Giusti -- Director of Marketing, Wholesome Harvest Baking

Elisa Giusti has a passion that echoes throughout her work. No challenge is too large. Simply tell her something can't be done, and she'll make it her mission to overcome. Pay attention to what she has to say, we'll be seeing much more from the likes of her. 

Kent Walrack, President & Chief Operating Officer, Lyons Magnus

Kent has a keen understanding of teamwork and loyalty after spending nearly 30 years working his way up through Lyons Magnus. He takes great pride in being part of a dedicated core management team and cultivating talent throughout the organization. Get to know him.