Rastelli Foods Group Is “World Class Provider” of Food Products With $1 Billion in Annual Revenues and 500 employees
Rastelli Foods Group has been “at the nucleus of food management since 1976.” And, today, the organization is recognized as an industry-leading corporation supplying the finest hotels, restaurants, institutions, and retail markets with the highest quality food products and service.
Since its inception, Rastelli has expanded its operation of eight retail locations to three high quality, USDA inspected processing facilities, warehouses, and distribution centers.
Founder Ray Rastelli describes the Group as “a world-class provider of products that set the standard in taste, quality, cleanliness, and safety from each of our food processing plants. We take ownership of the production process; hand trimming, processing and packing in our state-of-the-art facilities. Through direct ownership or proprietary partnership; we select the finest products for our customers and carefully monitor quality throughout all of the steps needed to fulfill orders.
“Today, commercial clients are able to expand their food product offerings with an extensive menu of gourmet meats, seafood, heat and serve items, desserts and gift packages through our national home delivery program,” says Rastelli.
What many people don’t know is that what is today a roughly billion dollar business based in Gloucester County began when 19-year old Ray Rastelli had a pregnant girlfriend, was playing keyboard at Wildwood clubs “to pay the bills,” and trying to decide what to do with his life.
One day, by sheer chance, he happened on a small (15’ x 30’) strip mall location in Oak Valley, just south of Woodbury, that was available because the previous tenant, a donut shop, had just closed down. He liked the location and the rent ($130/month) so much that he leased the property without being sure what he would do with it.
Maybe because his father was the president of the largest ham processing company in the world, or maybe because the empty store was next to a thriving Italian deli—in a moment of what he recalls as “blind courage and youthful optimism,” he decided to “give the area the only thing it didn’t have, a good place to buy premium meats.“
The fact that he personally “knew nothing about the meat business” didn’t stop him. And he proudly recalls that he had the blessing of his father, who supported his decision to work for himself rather than follow is his own footsteps because he had ”always made a lot of money—for other people.”
Rastelli called the new business “The Meat Stop” and opened to the public on October 26, 1976. The rest, as the cliche goes, “is history.” The business expanded and Ray’s brother, Tony, came to work with him. Together, they opened a second location and continued to sell premium meats to customers, including local area restaurants.
From there, the Rastelli brothers have gone on to become the quintessential entrepreneurs—building one small storefront into a nearly $1 billion global business with more than 500 employees, while succeeding in “keeping a family-oriented, small business feel.”
All of which is why, the Rastelli Goods Group is the recipient of this month’s SNJBP Impact Award.
Rastelli Foods Group is now a premier worldwide provider of food products to a variety of commercial clients, including hotels, restaurants and retail markets, with separate divisions for seafood, global and Caribbean food products and distribution, as well as home delivery.
In 2002, Rastelli Foods Group started exporting food to the U.S. military operations overseas and in just one year became the largest food provider for the U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. As sales began to climb, the company branched out, acquiring Black Tiger Seafood to launch Rastelli Seafood and moving into a 110,000 square-foot facility in Swedesboro.
The Rastelli brothers have also made it easy to enjoy 5-star restaurant-quality steaks or the famous Tony Luke’s cheesesteaks, thanks to two-year-old national home delivery program, Rastelli Direct.
Roughly 20 full-time employees run the program that allows individual consumers to order at-home delivery for more than 200 gourmet products, from partners like Sweet Street Desserts, Uno’s Chicago Grill, Severino’s Homemade Pasta, and The Cheesecake Factory.
Ray is one of three children of Ray, Sr. and Annabell Rastelli (in addition to brother Tony, sister Cathy also works in the business) and Ray and his high school girlfriend-turned-wife, Gerri, have four children—three daughters and a son Ray, III, who also works in the business, heading up Rastelli Direct.
But the entrepreneurial bug and affection for being in a “family” business have not escaped the three Rastelli daughters. The oldest, Rachel, 36, owns and operates “Sports and More” with her sisters Tara, 34, and Jenna, 26.
“Our business philosophy is that no one works for us, we all work together…we do the same things that they do,” says Rastelli.
So it’s not surprising that Rastelli feels that his best business decision was to give every employee a share in the company’s profits and “keep it a family culture.”
In the irony of cyclic return, the latest addition to the Group is Rastelli’s Market Fresh, formerly known as—you guessed it— Rastelli’s Meat Stop. The Meat Stop has been a part of the Deptford community for 25 years. And, last summer, the familiar food store shut its doors for two months in an effort to bring the look of the business up to the quality of its offerings.
This year, the Rastelli team has worked to introduce its new location in Marlton that maintains what Ray Rastelli calls “our standards of serving you the best products possible while also offering the convenience of an everyday grocery store.”
Pictured: Tony and Ray Rastelli