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As a marketing consultant, my interaction with restaurant suppliers has been limited to brief conversations with chefs (or other representatives) in the kitchens or behind the glass at focus groups, searching for information with which I can create consumer communications. Of all the purveyors, Turano Baking was by far the most visible and active participant in the innovation sessions with which I was involved. Their people were always creative, flexible and understanding about the desires of the consumers, no matter which restaurant brand or type of concept was seeking their help. All that, and simply being with them was such a warm, friendly and pleasant experience. When I asked about the company and how they had grown, I thought that the unique Turano Story deserved to be better known.
"Family has always been number one for us," says Renato Turano, chairman of Turano Baking Company, "and we believe in welcoming all the restaurant people we serve into our extended family. From the time he began his small Italian bakery, my father, Mariano, showed us by his example that a family could remain close and be successful in the business they worked at together. My brothers Umberto and Giancarlo and I took his lesson to heart by joining with our customers to do whatever it takes to help improve their businesses, because they are family, too."
The Turano Baking story is unusual in that the company's growth from the original small bakery Mariano Turano and his brothers Carmen and Eugenio opened in 1962 is the result of a focus on persistently and uncompromisingly providing products and services that are extremely personal.
How can the production of quality breads, rolls and other bakery products be described as "personal?" Consumer tastes are extremely personal, and Turano Baking works closely with their restaurant partners to develop the products that customers will buy. Personal service, with the experience and innovation Turano continually demonstrates, has nurtured the close relationships which are responsible for the company becoming a major supplier to the restaurant industry's leading brands. In addition, Turano is still the primary bread source for thousands of independent restaurants in the Midwest, many of which have been customers for decades.
Of course, great personal relationships do not create and produce great products that consumers will love. Turano family members, including the younger generation, have become leaders in developing and testing innovative bakery products that respond to today's more sophisticated tastes. Breads such as ciabatta, whole grain, jalapeno and other artisan varieties that were once strange and exotic, appealing to only a small portion of the population, are now available from Turano and served at thousands of restaurants. Much of the development work that made these products mainstream can be traced to the patience and persistence of people named Turano.
The Italian-American community has recognized the Turano family focus by electing Renato Turano to the Italian Senate, representing 350,000 Italian citizens living abroad. Within the bakery industry, the Turano brothers are well-known and have won many awards for their products, leadership and active participation in events and associations. The company's more than 700 employees, in addition to the people whose restaurants serve Turano Bread, are all considered members of the family, and all the relationships are personal. Turano is truly an unusual company. But isn't it nice to know that there are still some businesses that grew successful by maintaining their founding principles?