Come this October, I will have been in business for 45 years. Yes, you read that correctly. Forty-five years of learning, growing, prospering and living the “American Dream” as a Baby Boomer.
I may be in the twilight of my career – or shall I refer to it as the sunset of my career, but I am constantly wondering who will continue the Ben’s tradition. Keeping the customs alive and the business I built intact is concerning and preoccupies most of my spare time.
Forty-five years ago, it would have been unthinkable that a Kosher deli would no longer exist on every street corner but, sadly, we are an endangered species. Where there were once almost 300 Jewish and/or Kosher delicatessen restaurants in metro New York, now there are fewer than fifty.
But, these are very different times. Most of our patrons do not follow the laws of kashrut. And, the unique connection and loyalty that immigrants and their offspring had to the neighborhood Kosher deli no longer exists. I remember a time when I saw patrons three or four times per week – primarily those who only ate kosher foods. Now, we are lucky if our patrons visit us two times per month.
To combat this declining food sector called the Kosher deli, I make certain that we are keeping up with the times and listen to our customers in order to give them what they want. This includes healthier options, like our Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad, or creative menu options like our innovative Burger Month Menu. Additionally, we are constantly updating and remodeling our stores. If you read my May blog, you would know that we updated and renovated our Bayside location.
And, while we try to stay ahead of the competition and make changes, we also continue to stay the course and remember why we have seven locations and are in business 45 years come October – we still cure our own corned beefs and tongues, make all our deli side salads, purchase Idaho potatoes for our freshly cut French fries, and make most of our food from scratch, including the chicken soup and matzo balls that are made daily in our kitchens.
I will continue to support local causes and charities, never refusing to help a community group when asked. We strive to be responsible, caring and giving corporate citizens, and hopefully there will be enough business to enable us to continue help our fellow citizens and local neighborhoods well into the future.
Thanks for all your years of patronage.
See ya at the deli,