Curtze Food Service: 139 Years and Still Delivering

On its website, Curtze Food Service celebrates its long history of service. It’s a long and rich history, indeed. Back in 1878, founder Charles August Curtze began delivering goods to oil and lumber camps in Pennsylvania. Both oil and lumber were in great demand for a fast-growing America and the camps employed large numbers of hungry workers.  In addition to gunpowder and other supplies, Curtze delivered food staples to the camps and to nearby retail merchants.

The Curtze family has since built its Erie, Pa.-based business into a regional broadline distribution company servicing customers in eight states. It operates three distribution centers, has more than 150 sales consultants and a fleet of more than 125 trucks. Fresh meats and seafood are custom-cut in federally inspected on-site processing facilities. Fresh produce, including many locally grown seasonal items, has become a calling card as has a full line of in-stock E&S items.

Under fifth-generation leadership, the company continues to thrive and to differentiate itself in part by honoring Mr. Curtze’s original goal and enduring business principle: “Total Customer Satisfaction.” When you’ve been around for 139 years in an industry that has changed and consolidated as much as foodservice distribution has, you’ve learned a thing or two about the art of customer satisfaction.

Kudos to the Curtze family for making sure its past continues to inform its future.

What is the origin of your company? Why is it important? Your story is your big differentiator. Competitors have similar products, pricing and services but no one has your unique story. iFD can help you tell it and use it to your advantage.


Getting Started with Your History Project


WHY do you want your company’s story told? This is a question that should not be taken lightly, as it will guide the outcome of the history project. One of the most important aspects of WHY is determining WHO will the audience be.

Potential reasons WHY to invest in a company history project:

  • You are proud of the company’s longevity and success and want to share that story with others.
  • You’re getting ready to celebrating a major company milestone/anniversary.
  • You want to educate customers and/or suppliers about your roots and the benefits of doing business with your company.
  • You want to strengthen/enhance employee loyalty by articulating the roots of your company’s culture and demonstrating the benefits of working with you.
  • You need a core, foundational document to ensure consistent, brand-savvy messaging across all marketing platforms.
  • You’re considering selling your company and want a comprehensive corporate profile to support the sale.

WHO is/are the target audience(s) for your story?

  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Investors
  • The general public
  • All of the above?


Together, we identify WHAT format best suits your needs. Depending on the WHY and the WHO, as well as on timing and budget, the format could be one of several options:

  • Beautiful, professionally designed print book
  • Illustrated e-book
  • CEO/Founder memoir
  • Case study/corporate profile
  • Booklet or brochure
  • Timeline (static or interactive online)

WHAT your story might highlight:

  • The founders – the beginning of your story
  • Social, economic environment at the time
  • Pathways to growth
  • Challenges overcome
  • Defining moments, greatest achievements
  • Corporate culture
  • Innovation
  • Memorable anecdotes
  • Customer and employee insights
  • Next-gen leadership
  • Future promise
  • All that makes your history personal, powerful and unique!

HOW – Every project begins with four key steps:

  1. Together, we identify the motivation and target audience(s) and consider desired format(s).
  2. We meet with you, via conference call or in-person visit, to discuss and help shape the ultimate vision, preferred format and preferred timing for your project.
  3. We create a customized proposal, defining project parameters, budget and schedule estimates.
  4. You provide feedback on the proposal, which we revise as necessary and re-submit for your final approval and signature.

Now we get to work researching and shaping your story. Our process includes interviews with key people and research into archives to enrich the story. We provide you with the information we need, which helps you to identify people who should be interviewed. All interviews are recorded and professionally transcribed. We work with you to acquire photos and other artwork to enhance the text.

We provide you with a detailed outline of what the final product will look like. We also create a schedule, to include regular reviews and check-ins with your designated point person, to ensure the project is on target and true to your vision every step of the way.

The format you choose as well as the depth of information gathering required will dictate the length of time to completion and the budget required.


Do Your Employees Speak Your Language?

Phil: So, Patty, we need to get the right ti-hi on the COP order – it’s going LTL and will be cross-docked. We’re going re-di.
Patty: Good, we don’t want any OS&D. Is this going through a GPO?
Phil: No, it’ll be sold by DSRs.
Patty: So we need POS for them to take to the street?
Phil: Yes, the RCA has given us good testimonials.
Patty: We might try a BOGO promo, too.
Phil: Cool.

You probably know what all of this means. But what about your employees who are new to the industry? These acronyms will be like a foreign language to them and it can be frustrating and confusing trying to get up to speed and on the same page. iFD has solved the problem by creating a macro list of insider terms and acronyms that we encourage you to share with your new hires. They’ll thank you.

Know of any insider terms or acronyms that we’ve missed? Let us know and we’ll add them to the list.

iFD: Insider Terms & Acronyms
Term or acronym Definition
AFDR Association of Foodservice Distributor Representatives
Agency Another term for a brokerage
AUV Average unit volume (see “unit”), or average revenue generated per year by a single unit in a restaurant chain
BOGO Buy one, get one (free)
BOH Back of the house, in a restaurant, i.e., the kitchen
BSR Broker sales representative
Cash and Carry Also, cash ‘n’ carry, a distributor-owned store open to the public that carries foodservice-sized items
Catch weight Cases or SKUs that can vary by weight and are priced accordingly
COP Also C-O-P. Center of the plate: the entrée
Check average On average, how much a party spends in a restaurant per visit. A critical analysis statistic for restaurants to gauge sales
COEX Chain Operators’ Exchange, an annual conference sponsored by IFMA
Coop Cooperative, a distributor group owned collectively by its individual distributor members
Cross-dock Unloading products from one truck and immediately reloading onto another one without storing in the warehouse
CRM Customer relationship management system, a database to store information about customers
CSR Customer service representative, also called an Inside Sales Rep (ISR)
CSR Consultative sales representative, another term for DSR
Cutting The act of demonstrating one product against a competitive product. Originally from the meat industry, where meat was actually cut for demonstration, but now any product comparison
CWT Hundredweight, i.e., 100 pounds, usually used in reference to livestock and cereal grain weights
Daypart A meal occasion in restaurants defined by the “part of the day,” i.e., breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, late night; a way for restaurants to analyze and plan for their business
DC Distribution center or warehouse
DMA Distribution Market Advantage, a group of regional distributors that serves multi-unit operators nationally
DSC Distributor sales consultant, another term for DSR
DSM District sales manager
DSR Distributor sales representative
86 In kitchen lingo, 86 means to stop offering a particular menu item, or a particular item is sold out (i.e., We 86ed the liver.)
F.A.B. Frosty Acres Brands, a distributor marketing and purchasing group
FOH Front of house, the public-access part of a restaurant
FSMA Food Safety Modernization Act, laws enacted by Congress concerning food safety
FSMA Foodservice Sales and Marketing Agency, an association of brokers
GPO Group Purchasing Organization, an entity created to leverage the combined buying power of its members
GS1 Global standards, an organization responsible for supply-chain and barcode standards
House A restaurant
iFD Inside Foodservice Distribution, dedicated to capturing the history of the industry, one company at a time
IFDA International Foodservice Distributors Association
IFMA International Foodservice Manufacturers Association
IMA Independent Marketing Alliance, an alliance, i.e., marketing and purchasing group, of six regional independent distributors
IQF Individually quick frozen
ISR Inside sales representative, also called a customer service representative (CSR)
LTL Less than truckload or less than trailerload
MA Marketing associate, another term for DSR
MOH Middle of the house: counter service areas in fast-food restaurants
Monkey dish Small dish used in foodservice kitchens to hold ingredients; also used in the front of the house for condiments
Multi-unit Refers to a restaurant company that has a number of units, i.e. chains
Multi-unit operator Person or company operating a multi-unit chain
MUFSO Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators, a conference sponsored by Nation’s Restaurant News
NACUFS National Association of College and University Food Services
NRA National Restaurant Association
NAFEM North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers
NFI National Fisheries Institute
Operator A restaurateur, restaurant or foodservice institution, i.e., the end-user in the foodservice supply chain
OS&D Overages, shorts and damages: relating to orders
POS Point of Sale: different from a retail POS, it is a sales tool for reps to use giving product benefits and how to sell
Principals Used interchangeably in the broker world as the owners of the brokerage or the manufacturers they represent
PMA Produce Marketing Association
PSM Program sales manager
QSR Quick-serve restaurant, fast-food restaurant or the segment of the industry
RCA Research Chefs Association
Re-Di Redistribution; redistributors purchase products from manufacturers and distribute them to other distributors that only require a LTL amount of the product
SKU Stock keeping unit, a coding system for individual items in inventory
SNA School Nutrition Association
SHFM Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management
Store Term for a single unit, or individual restaurant, in a chain
Street business Independent restaurant, non-contract business; a.k.a. “street accounts”
Table turns The number of times new customers are seated during a particular daypart
TA Territory associate, another term for DSR
#10 Number 10, a standard foodservice-sized can, measuring 6 1/8” in diameter and 7” high, usually holding between 96 and 110 ounces of volume
TM Territory manager, another term for DSR (used by US Foods)
TSM Territory sales manager
Ti-Hi Tier height, i.e., the number of layers of products in a pallet
12/5s and 6/5s Number of units in a case, followed by the weight, such as five pounds per unit
Unit An individual restaurant location within a chain
Vac-Pac Vacuum packed
WFF Women’s Foodservice Forum