Zink Foodservice Group

Zink Foodservice Group is proud of the comprehensive sales and marketing services it provides for leading manufacturers of foodservice equipment and supplies. From design specification, ordering, installation and after-sale support – Zink is a full-service branch office for its manufacturers, which include Elkay SSP, New Age Industrial, Oneida Global Foodservice and Carlisle Foodservice Products.

“For more than 30 years, the major brands in the commercial foodservice industry have turned to Zink for sales and marketing expertise and exceptional performance,” the company says. “Zink Foodservice Group brings the highest levels of professionalism, responsiveness and service to the dealers, consultants, chain accounts, schools and independent operators that we serve.”

CEO Jim Zink and Marketing Manager Mike McGuire recently spoke with Food and Drink about Zink Foodservice’s dedication to meeting the evolving needs of its clients.

Food and Drink: How are your operations set up?

Mike McGuire: Our name is Zink Foodservice Group, which includes Zink Marketing and Top O’ The Table. We are a manufacturer’s representative – a seller of equipment and supplies to foodservice clients. We cover the Great Lakes region and work with dealers, chains, universities and hospitals.

Jim Zink: We’re like a broker, not a redistributor. We set ourselves apart by having one division to focus on the front of the restaurant – Top O’ The Table – and another to focus on the back – Zink Marketing. We are proud to represent premier brands in the industry, such as Manitowoc Foodservice.

FAD: How do you market products and supplies to your clients?

MM: We have test kitchens and showrooms with the latest and greatest products. We allow our clients to test their menu items and also let them see how their china will look in different settings.

JZ: We are constantly sitting down with customers to listen to them and understand their operations. Our clients are doing more in the kitchen, and we are supplying them with equipment that will help them save energy and time.

FAD: How have you helped clients?

MM: We’ve worked with clients such as Bob Evans, Yum! brands, Wendy’s, Ohio State University and Purdue University. By being a multi-line supplier, we can tie the front and the back of the house together. For example, we can provide a client with special dishes and efficient dishwashers that will help them save time washing, as well as energy.

JZ: We have positioned ourselves with the industry leaders by always representing the premier brands in a product category. This is a winning combination – the top brands together with our team.

MM: Our outside sales team is supported by our very experienced inside sales team, which coordinates clients’ shipments. Our team members are definitely our competitive advantage. Zink Marketing and Top O’ The Table are separate groups, but they work as a team to help our clients.

FAD: Why do you use two sales forces vs. one team for both areas?

MM: It is all about our sales staff’s expertise and focus. It’s easy to see – the person who is an expert in Oneida flatware has a different set of skills than the walk-in cooler expert.

JZ: It is tough to be all things to all people, and we are proud of the diverse expertise our people have.

FAD: Have you noticed any trends?

JZ: Green initiatives are becoming more important to more clients, and they are especially popular among chains. Clients are really focused on saving energy, so we have been supplying a lot of energy-efficient equipment. The new federal energy act is affecting refrigeration equipment in particular, so that is becoming much more efficient. There are certain products that help restaurants meet their LEED requirements.

Also, more sites have open kitchens, so we are focusing more on the kitchen design, arrangement of the equipment and layout of the front of the house.

FAD: What are your plans for growth?

MM: We’ve had tremendous growth in the last five years with our acquisition of Top O’ The Table. Right now, we are focused on growing with the Manitowoc brand – we recently picked up seven of their lines.