A taste of Australia
An entirely family owned and operated company, Del-Re National Food Groupis a well-established name in foodservice distribution. Over the years, they have become well known for offering their clients outstanding service, competitive pricing, and an extensive product range.
Established in December 2004, the company was formed from a strong foundation of three smaller businesses, managed by four passionate and experienced directors. These individuals have used their expertise and knowledge to create a dynamic and efficient system, in order to better meet the needs of their ever growing client base.
“We’re all related, either by way of brothers or cousins,” says Director Robert Dimartino. “Collectively we’ve been in the industry for over 30 years now. We were all doing mainstream food services, just as we’re doing now – serving cafes, restaurants, hotels, clubs, pubs, and so on. Since joining up, we’ve grown continuously to where we are today.”
Today, Del-Re National Food Group services clients all over Victoria, from metropolitan Melbourne to country areas – as well as interstate in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Their wide range of industry customers includes hotels, restaurants, cafes, pizza restaurants and more. According to Robert, they all choose Del-Re due to the commitment and dedication of their staff.
“We pride ourselves on having a hands-on approach,” he says. “All the Directors especially pride themselves on that. We all have our own departments we take care of in the business and deal with personally. We’re first to arrive and last to leave, and have a personal hand in just about everything.”
“When dealing with customers, our attitude doesn’t change,” he continues. “Our customers are wide ranging, and orders can be placed very late day before delivery — with an expectation on us to get our trucks out there on time. We constantly strive to meet that expectation.”
Robert says that they are always working towards improving their quality of service. He says they want to be known as “second-to-none.”
“Our approach is to service the customer as best we can at all costs, and it’s something we always want to emphasize as we move forward in our growth,” he explains. “We’re always looking for better ways to let the customers place orders that make their dealings with us more efficient and more effective.”
As a result of Del-Re’s constant efforts to better serve the customer, many have stuck with Del-Re for a long, long time. “A number of clients have been with us since back in the days when we ran individual businesses,” says Robert. “Several we’ve worked with for well over 25 years.”
“It’s not just customers either,” he adds. “We’ve also had some employees that we’ve carried onto this business that also have been with us for some 25 years. So relationships are very, very important to us – we’ve got a good name in the marketplace, we’ve gained integrity through the relationships we’ve built, and it’s really assisted us to make this business into what it is today.”
“We also have good relationships with our suppliers as well. We find it’s important for them to want to look after us in terms of pricing and having good access to what we can offer them in return. That’s all built on relationships.”
“Individuals do come and go, of course,” Robert says. “But we’ve established a very good name out there, and one thing we did with this business was put everything we gained back into it, then letting it provide for us long-term. When you pay on-time, and when you pay well, it makes for a stronger relationship without a shred of doubt. That’s a cold, hard fact.”
In 2008, Del-Re began their association with NAFDA – a national buying group made of about 60 distributors nationally. NAFDA is designed to set up buying agreements with suppliers to assist distributors to be competitive in the marketplace. Robert says their membership of that organization has been a key contributor to the company’s success.
Strong relationships with bodies like NAFDA lead to other rewards, as well. In 2013, Del-Re National received enough votes from their suppliers to win the Metropolitan Food Service Award of the Year, after three previous years of being a finalist. The award was presented by FIA (Foodservice Industry Australia), who commended the company on their recognition by the industry for their integrity, commitment, service, and communication.
“We’re really thrilled,” says Robert. “We were competing with huge companies with massive turnovers, and to win against them was just incredible.”
Where everyone is family
Del-Re National currently has a team of 45 committed and dedicated staff members, with each considered to be a member of the corporate family. Robert comments that they have a “solid relationship” with everyone who works in the business, as much as they do with those outside it.
“Obviously you can’t please everyone all the time,” he says. “But we have employees that have been with us for decades. Several nights of the year we make a point to take them out for dinner and special occasions, and we’re always looking out for them. As a result, we trust them and they trust us – they’re never just a number, and we don’t treat them as such.”
“Trust is ultimately the important thing,” he concludes. “You can’t be everywhere at once, so having people to fill in the gaps is absolutely essential. You want those people to be not just reliable but trustworthy – especially so for a family business, because you need to one day hand the reins off to those same people.”
On the topic of the future, Robert says he’s surprised how far the company has come.
“When we started this business, we didn’t have a target. We didn’t have intentions or aspirations to grow significantly. It happened to simply fit really well that the four directors liked the different aspects of the business and grew a strong partnership off of that. It’s what has allowed us to grow incrementally at about 10-15 per cent per year, which is very strange in an industry with almost zero growth for most companies.”
“But we’re still going,” he concludes. “We’re always finding ways to improve the business digitally through online ordering and connecting with customers over social media. It’s the way of the future, and we mean to be ready for it.”