The Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series (DDLS) brings prominent industry professionals to speak at SHA most Fridays during the fall semester. For 2014, students work in pairs each week to research, meet, and profile featured speakers, and then guest-blog here about the experience.
This week’s student authors are Gabby Maurer ’16 and Ben Peters ’15.
This past week we had the pleasure of welcoming the Turano brothers from the Turano Baking Company to Cornell. From the dinner Thursday night to the post-lecture discussion Friday afternoon, the Turano brothers made us feel like we were part of their family—a tribute to how great they are at building the brand of their family business. The dinner featured–of course!–a bountiful variety of fresh-baked Turano breads, all of which we had the luxury of trying!
Each brother offered great insight into what has made the family business so strong through the years.
From the oldest brother, Mr. Joseph Turano ’98, we learned the value of taking initiative and setting the tone for your siblings (or potentially your employees) by being the first to do things—whether it was choosing Cornell, studying abroad, or entering the family business. He gave us an in-depth analysis of the Turano operational model, elaborating on the business in Chicago in addition to the company’s east coast facilities.
Joe also spoke about the huge number of SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) that Turano produces and the scale economies they achieve. Turano Baking Company’s ability to achieve such economies with such a variety of breads speaks volumes about the company’s efficiency and ability to meet the demands of Chicago and the United States as a whole.
Giancarlo ’01 or G2, the middle brother, provided insight into building great relationships and expanded upon the company’s sales positioning and values. By highlighting the partners Turano has in Chicago and beyond, he made it clear that Turano is a premier producer of breads of great variety. In our post-lecture discussion, G2 went into further detail on how Turano Baking Company takes such great care of their employees to strengthen the brand from within. Because everyone at the company feels like he or she is part of the family, Turano experiences one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry with many employees staying with the company for upwards of ten years!
G2 also emphasized the need for Turano to stay focused. He wisely noted that although Turano may have the capital to enter new market segments, they would be better suited focusing on refining their core product and sticking to what they do best: selling world-class bread! He briefly mentioned that although international expansion is a common next step, they first need to continue expanding throughout the United State before even considering taking the brand abroad.
Anthony ’04, the youngest brother, shared some great information with us from a more logistical perspective. The company’s director of administration, Anthony told us many of the various strategies he had acquired through working at his family’s business. Always the youngest brother, he told us that his initial strategy was “taking the proven path” by following in his brothers’ footsteps, and it is obvious from speaking with him that he certainly has achieved success by choosing that strategy! Anthony, like G2, also spoke about the strength of the unique Turano company culture and how it is so conducive to productive employment.
With these three fine gentlemen helping run the family business, we at the School of Hotel Administration trust we can look forward to hearing more great things about the success of the Turano Baking Company.