As a restaurant owner or operator there’s comfort in knowing you don’t always have to be on 24-hour trend watch to stay in step with industry changes or new food movements. Mike Sagraves, Vice President of Jordano’s sales department, oversees a 40-member sales team that does all the heavy lifting for their customers.


Sagraves insists it’s at the heart of every product line and every sales solution. There’s always something new emerging, but defining whether it is a solid, marketable trend that makes good business sense to implement or patiently waiting for manufacturers to create more palatable products to fit the price and demand is where Jordano’s sales department transitions to a trusted business partner to their customers rather than a selling force.

With Jordano’s as a business partner, customers reap the benefits of expertise and business know-how.


On average, Jordano’s sales force boasts 15 years each of experience in the industry. It’s almost unheard of in an industry where sales jobs are typically considered high turnover positions. But for Jordano’s, people are this company’s source of pride and it’s an appreciation for the human factor that gives Jordano’s a reputation for retaining the best and the brightest.

Aside from a five-county selling team, Jordano’s relies on subject matter experts in seven specialty product lines (Equipment & Supplies, Specialty Coffees, Warewash/laundry Chemicals, Center of the Plate, Import/Specialty Foods, Produce, and Seafood) to ensure Jordano’s customers get the specific expertise they deserve. Sagraves maintains that Jordano’s specialty sales teams have distinct expertise in these niche areas that their competitors just don’t have, “Our goal is to present to our customers new, more effective ways of doing business.”


“We are in constant training mode,” says Sagraves who employs the services of manufacturer and broker experts to help in the field and present products to customers. “These are niche areas where we have distinct expertise that our competitors just don’t have. Our goal is to present to our customers new, more effective ways of doing business.”

Well trained in their specialty line, these specialty sales teams have experience and knowledge of the products, the most efficient business application for those products, and the trends in their specific area.

“We’re large enough in one respect, to be the force in our market, yet still small enough to train and educate our people on a one-on-one basis,” says Sagraves who conducts monthly sales meetings to demonstrate new products.


The memories and the business in his 20- year tenure with Jordano’s have all been good according to Sagraves, but the last few years delivered something he won’t soon forget, “We didn’t know it then, but looking back now I can see that business came easier.” He’s fond of the memories of his 20-year tenure with Jordano’s.

The recession turned the industry on its side. Counteracting those fluctuations created a new movement in the relationships with customers. Selling for the sake of sales wasn’t sustainable, it evolved into a strong partnership intended to help those restaurants survive, Sagraves recalls.

“It’s no longer business as usual; we are truly in an age of business as unusual. During that time we started to adapt and embrace our customers to a level never previously done; we worked to ensure that they did not become vulnerable to our competition and to do that we had to stay on top of our game and work harder to build our relationships in a way that was committed to their business,” he says.

When abrupt pricing shifts took place in 2008 and 2009, Jordano’s sales teams worked to be more proactive, educating restaurant and food service owners/operators and communicating to them impending market changes. The sales representatives suggested lower-cost alternatives and ways to get the most value out of their products.

Sagraves’ teams still work to keep the information going up stream, reporting changes that are on the horizon back to customers. “We’re perceived as a business partner, blocking and tackling so that market changes or trends don’t take our customers off guard.”

To be effective, that same efficiency and proactive approach must be seamless from order taking to delivery. The result of the recession was a “back-to-the-basics” mentality that stuck. They streamlined the entire process: take the order accurately, deal with issues swiftly, select products properly and ensure timely delivery.

The recession made them better, more proactive and more positive about discovering solutions for their customers. Sagraves says when you do this, business is pretty simplistic and you become a trusted partner.


To stay ahead, you must have watchful eyes at the helm. Whether it’s market research or having a thumb on the new and emerging products sweeping through the industry, Sagraves says Jordano’s sales department is tactical about introducing those products to their customers.

Organics were hot on the list of trends years ago. Yet, being a player didn’t come cheap. Jordano’s built smart alliances over the years preparing them as the trend launched into a frenzy.

“We’ve seen organics and the natural food area coming up for a number of years, but it was very pricey for restaurants and for college food service providers to afford. Since, we’ve been able to create partnerships with food-service friendly producers that are hitting more of an affordability factor,” Sagraves says of an increasingly strong demand for organics and natural foods among university students.

Today Jordano’s stocks 10,000 products, and has access to nearly 5,000 organic and natural products.

When you buy from Jordano’s, you can lean on industry expertise and a partner that is solution oriented and working to help you succeed.

Relax; Jordano’s has done the homework.