Ray Rastelli reveals Rastelli Foods’ recipe for steady and continuous growth

Setting the standard in taste, quality, cleanliness, and safety, Rastelli Foods Group (Rastelli) has been a world-class provider of food products since 1976. Catering to the finest hotels, restaurants, institutions, and retail markets, Rastelli supplies top-tier food products and services. Ray Rastelli, Co-Founder and President, provides a thorough introduction to the business.  

Rastelli's burgers“I founded the business nearly 48 years ago when I was just 18 years old, with a baby on the way. I believed that the town I grew up in, Oak Valley, New Jersey, could really use a butcher shop. Despite knowing nothing about the meat business, I decided to give it a try. My brother Tony joined the business and with the support of our family and friends, the business flourished, and we quickly expanded with eight additional butcher shops across South Jersey over the next eight-to-ten years. About eight years in, we noticed that customers were coming in because they loved our product quality and trusted us. This trust was crucial to us as a family business, and we made sure to always be honest and fair. Rastelli also began attracting local restaurants, which significantly boosted our business at a time when the hospitality industry was going strong. Seeing this success, we decided to open our first processing facility, which we ran for several years. In the early 2000s, we built our first production facility, initially spanning 50,000 square feet. Over time, we expanded it to 210,000 square feet, and that facility now serves as our Rastelli Foods Group corporate headquarters. Our food service business continued to grow, particularly through our restaurants in the Northeast region. Concurrently, our international division, spearheaded by my brother Tony, gained momentum and facilitated our partnership with the US military abroad, thus expanding our reach to commercial accounts across the Middle East and the UK,” he begins. 

Brand recognition 

Delving deeper into the company’s history, Ray reveals how strategic rebranding fueled Rastelli’s phenomenal growth. “Our business is segmented across various channels, which has been instrumental to our success. We have diversified across four channels – retail, food service, export, and e-commerce – which has minimized risk and smoothed out fluctuations in our operations, mitigated risk and ensured steady growth throughout our history. While not without challenges, this approach has enabled us to remain adaptable and maintain a positive outlook. Around 2015, we renewed our focus on branding and began promoting our products on QVC, a television shopping channel. Today, we are the largest food brand represented on QVC, with seven Rastelli-owned brands alongside the Rastelli brand itself. I personally represent our Rastelli Brand – the top seller within our portfolio – live on the channel five-to-ten times per week. This exposure has significantly boosted our visibility in the industry and propelled us into the retail segment nationwide, where customers recognize and seek out our brand. Thanks to our talented workforce and unwavering commitment to quality, our products are now sold within thousands of retailers across America. Additionally, seven years ago, we established our first fulfillment center, capable of handling up to 100,000 packages daily, allowing us to fulfil private label orders for prominent customers. Supported by our dry ice facility, this infrastructure ensures flexibility, agility, and personalized service,” he adds.

Ray describes the core products offered through each of the Rastelli brands, beginning with the company’s meat business. “Rastelli’s brand portfolio encompasses Rastelli’s Butcher Burger, which serves fresh and frozen burgers, as well as our Ready to Cook program, featuring marinated meat items like lemon herb marinated chicken and steakhouse marinated sirloins, as well as our Case Ready steak line, available at retailers nationwide. Additionally, we own a seafood brand called Egg Harbor Seafood, showcasing products such as Faroe Island salmon, shrimp, cape hake, and scallops. Meanwhile, our Annabelle’s Kitchen line, showcased on QVC by our Director of Marketing Communications, Lauren Rastelli DeMarco, features Italian-inspired recipes passed down from my mother. Lastly, The Perfect Gourmet focuses on appetizers like potstickers and white tablecloth entrees, while Grateful Eats caters to busy moms with products like meatballs and burger patties made with 60 percent meat and 40 percent vegetables, free from additives. These brands are available in e-commerce, retail, and food service channels,” he enlightens. 

People-first culture 

To ensure quality is upheld consistently throughout its operations, Rastelli fosters a culture centered around trust and care. “Building an environment where trust is paramount and our expectations align with those of our employees, customers, and vendors, has been key to our success. We consistently prioritize our employees, promoting a sense of collaboration where nobody works for us, but everyone works with us. At Rastelli, we treat each of our 900 employees as family, considering their family commitments by offering a flexible work-life balance. Like a family, we celebrate our victories together, all the while addressing challenges as opportunities for growth. Moreover, sharing profits with our employees reinforces this culture, acknowledging their invaluable contribution to our success. After all, steering the ship is pointless without everyone rowing in the same direction. When it comes to quality, we all follow one simple philosophy: if we wouldn’t serve our products to our own family, we won’t serve them to yours,” Ray ends. 

Through trusted quality, diversification, and a culture of care, Rastelli is poised to continue making waves in the food sector for years to come.