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Maine Independent Achieves 20 Percent Average Annual Growth

In the article, Dennis describes a pretty simple formula for his company’s success: Put customers first and empower everyone — from the front desk to the front lines — to serve that cause. Top executives have worked in the warehouse, he says, and they would do it again tomorrow, if need be. A thin layer of management means easy access to people who can answer questions right away. This collaborative atmosphere has helped Dennis Paper & Food Service maintain a steady supply of skilled, motivated teammates who now number close to 100.

“When we entered the food business,” Dennis recalls, “the commitment we made was to move into the major leagues and compete with the national companies” like U.S. Foodservice, Performance Food Group and Sysco. To do that, he says, you offer the same services that huge companies do — and kick things up a notch. This means partnering with other independents to buy fresh products at good prices. It means training drivers to manage refrigerated trucks with three temperature zones, so they can help customers handle deliveries quickly and easily. And it means a little straight-talk about money. When food or fuel prices rise, for example, other distributors might try to recover those costs from independent restaurants. But the sales reps at Dennis Paper & Food Service respond to these pressures by turning into menu consultants, says Dennis, offering tips on plate presentation and blackboard specials, or using special software to help customers manage the cost-per-plate for each item. He believes this commitment to customer service is the key factor in his company’s six-fold revenue increase since 2002.

And there’s no plan to slow down any time soon. Dennis and his managers are deciding whether to expand the company’s freezer and double its Bangor facility to better serve a growing demand for frozen foods and broaden the company’s service area into the southern part of the state.

Click here to access the full Maine Biz article on Dennis Paper & Food Service, visit http://www.mainebiz.biz/news44649.html.

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