Louis Rozzo: CEO of F. Rozzo & Sons

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Louis Rozzo is the fourth generation of Rozzo men to run the family’s wholesale fish business, F. Rozzo & Sons. Rozzo grew up in Wyckoff, New Jersey, but has worked at the family's Chelsea facility since he was 10 years old, when he first learned to filet fish and would have to skin bushels of eels as "punishment".  After graduating from Lynchburg College with a degree in Communications and Journalism, he began applying for jobs in television on the West Coast. Rozzo’s father suggested that Louis give the family business a chance for six months and if he still wanted to head west after those six months, the family would support his move to California. The rest, as they say, is history.  Louis couldn't leave his family and their seafood traditions behind, and he went all-in on educating consumers on sustainability, underrated cuts and preparations of fish, and working directly with chefs to consult on their menu offerings. In 1990, he took over the reins as CEO of F. Rozzo & Sons, and today the company had grown from just 40 accounts in New York City when he was a child to over 400 accounts. Today, F. Rozzo & Sons ships fish to acclaimed restaurants as far as Las Vegas and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and still services iconic New York restaurants such as Le Bernardin, Nobu, Daniel, and Le Cirque.  Rozzo is dedicated to upholding the family’s standards for quality and excellence, and still operates the business out of the Chelsea location his great-grandfather established in 1905.

How did you get into the Culinary industry?

I was born into the industry.  I am convinced there was never a doubt in my father’s mind that he would like to see me be the next generation.

Tell us about F. Rozzo & Sons. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company?

F. Rozzo & Sons and sons is a precious family business that has been in business for 115 years.  Handed straight down from my great grandfather to myself, unique because of the years, and I think the consistent quality of product being sent out.

What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have attributed to F. Rozzo & Son’s success?

I think we have really never had a marketing plan.  Our success lies with the relationships we forge with our customers.  Our consistent effort to please our customers. The passion in which my family goes about the daily business of delivering all the orders.

What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?

I have notice a willingness with chefs to try different fish.  There seems to be a vigor today to do something different.  Search for fish not on everyday menus.

Life Motto? 

Live hard –play hard

F. Rozzo & Son’s Motto?

Customer is always right.  Never say no to a good customer.

Your greatest success as CEO of F. Rozzo & Sons? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?

My greatest success is to have successfully moved F. Rozzo & Sons into my generation.  I am proud of our ability to maintain all the wonderful customers we have.  My greatest success is my drive to compete.  In 30 years it is true that I have never missed a day , except for vacation and my knee surgery.  I truly love being at work.  It is my home. 

Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?

Always ask questions.  Never be content.  Always push.

How do you motivate your employees?

I inspire my employees of course with money, but every day they see my desire and passion to get it right .  Every day is different, and each day  has its challenges, but they see me every day working with passion and it is contagious.

One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?

Glenlivet 12 year old scotch and soft shell crabs.  Along with a pasta appetizer.

What literature is on your bed stand?

Right now I am reading Killer Angels by Michael Shaara..  just finished The Quest by Nelson DeMille

Role model - business and personal?

My father was my business role model,  I took his passion and continued it. My personal role model I do not know.  I always lived my life according to what I wanted to do.  Some say selfish

Current passion?

Coaching the u/14 traveling Wyckoff baseball club.  I love being on the field with the kids. 

Favorite travel destination?

I just got back from Bora Bora, but if I could choose anywhere it would always be St. Barts.

What's next for F. Rozzo & Sons?

I think we have a bright future.  I think our biggest asset is word of mouth.  We continue to get customers because chefs always speak with each other and share recommendations.  I also think that we will search for a bigger facility because  we are currently outgrowing our store in Chelsea.