Sofo Foods Provides Food, Jobs Within the Community

Sofo Foods was established in the early 1940s by Antonio Sofo to help service the growing Italian community in Toledo. At the time, many Italian foods were unavailable in the Toledo area. To remedy this, Mr. Sofo came up with the idea to take his truck up to Detroit to purchase food for Toledo area restaurants and deliver the products to them. 

Sofo Foods has grown substantially since the 1940s and now has three more distribution centers, one in Texas and the other two in Georgia. With these warehouses, they are able to deliver products to restaurants in over 22 states. 

As a family company in its fourth generation of ownership, Sofo Foods prides itself on creating a family environment for all its employees whether they are related or not. Many of the employees stay with the company for upwards of 10 years which helps create a strong bond.

“When you have that long-term group of people, you do start becoming family-oriented,” Michael Sofo, the CFO and fourth-generation family member in the company, said.

The heart of the company is the drivers and warehouse workers in the distribution center, they are responsible for ensuring that all customers receive the products they need. 

The drivers are responsible for picking up products from the warehouse and delivering them to the customers on their route. They deliver 70 to 80 cases of product to just one of the many accounts on their routes. Drivers also see the customers more than anyone else in the company and begin to build a rapport with the restaurant owners and employees. 

“We don’t even call them drivers, we call them customer service reps,” Michael said.

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The other half of the distribution center is the warehouse workers. They are in charge of unloading the products from suppliers and then loading trucks to deliver to their customers. The warehouse employees have to work in a few different environments because some of the products that are delivered need to be frozen or kept cool.

Sofo Foods other big employee group is the sales department where they practice “consultative sales.” The sales team works with the customers to help build the restaurants, they sometimes help develop new menu ideas and recommend new products. Their goal is to create a sense of partnership between the company and the customer.

“Having that relationship with the customer it’s something we hope to, you know, keep progressing,” Michael said.

Another important aspect of the Sofo Foods family is that they try to hire internally and always offer opportunities for their employees to advance. One example of this is the company’s driving program where employees are able to earn their commercial driver’s license and become a driver for the company. There are also instances of warehouse employees moving to the sales teams. 

Anyone who is interested in the food distribution industry and looking for an opportunity to enter a family-based workplace can sign up for the company’s job opening alerts available on their website.

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