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Stouffer’s® Celebrates 100 Years in Foodservice

Stouffer’s® is celebrating its 100th anniversary in foodservice this year. They celebrated last week in Chicago at the National Restaurant Association Show where they shared cakes in the shapes of lasagna, mac & cheese, and stuffed peppers. They also took the opportunity to inform attendees about the $10,000 Stouffer Family Excellence in Foodservice award which launched this year to observe the milestone and history of the brand.

With 100 years of history, sometimes it’s easy to forget that Stouffer’s began in foodservice and has always been in the foodservice business.  The brand began in 1922 when Abraham Stouffer opened a humble dairy stand in downtown Cleveland where they served buttermilk and crackers. With a keen entrepreneurial spirit, the Stouffer family evolved their business from a single dairy stand to full-service restaurants and later motor inns and hotels.

Guests needs have always driven the innovation of the brand. Mahala, Abraham’s wife, was concerned that customers were not getting enough food at the dairy stand so she suggested that they add her Dutch Apple pie to the menu. Soon after they added sandwiches and in 1924, Stouffer’s opened the first Stouffer Lunch location. By 1929, there were nine Stouffer Lunch locations in three states.

By 1929, Vernon Stouffer, Abraham and Mahala’s son, had joined the family business and was instrumental in ensuring that Stouffer’s not only stayed afloat during the Great Depression, but that they thrived in its wake.  In 1946, Stouffer’s opened its first full-service restaurant in Cleveland’s Shaker Square.  Creating quality, consistent dining experiences was key, and when guests began to request take-home meals, Stouffer’s answered the call.  

In the late 1940s, Stouffer’s opened Club 227 adjacent to its Shaker Square restaurant location. From this location, Stouffer’s sold frozen versions of its most popular menu items from the restaurant. Off premises meals were a hit in 1946.  Ten years later, Stouffer’s would open its first frozen foods pilot plant and later go on to build the frozen business for which it’s known today.

Stouffer’s launched its Management Food Service Division in 1956. The division applied Stouffer’s strategies to companies feeding large groups. By 1965, the division had grown to include 31 commercial accounts including hospitals, schools and vending operations. Satisfying customer needs and meeting growing demands in the foodservice business has always been a driving force in the foodservice division. In 2008, Nestlé built a cutting-edge Customer Innovation Campus where chefs work to incorporate many of the lessons learned from Stouffer’s restaurants to help provide food solutions to operators today.

Innovation, flexibility, and determination are the pillars upon which the brand was built and upon which it stands today. To celebrate this milestone, Stouffer’s will award an individual in the foodservice industry with $10,000 and the Stouffer Family Excellence in Foodservice Award.  The prize will be awarded to an individual in the foodservice industry who embodies the same foodservice entrepreneurial spirit as the Stouffer family. The promotion is open through June 30, 2022. To enter visit here: Stouffers Award (stouffersfsexcellenceaward.com) To learn more about Stouffer’s visit: https://www.nestleprofessional.us/brands/stouffers

This post is sponsored by Nestlé Professional Stouffer's