Tony Orlando

Owner, Tony O's Supermarket and Catering

Born and raised in Ashtabula, Ohio, Tony Orlando has 50 years in the food business, having started at four years of age in 1961.

Tony purchased his store in May of 1999 from his father. Through the years, he has acquired extensive knowledge of meat and deli departments. He has consulted with other independents to help their businesses grow.

Tony has served on many Midwest beef councils and also was on the Young Executives Council for the NGA, of which he is a charter member.

Tony graduated from Ohio State University in 1978 with a Bachelors in Business Administration. He is married to wife Maria and has two sons, Michael (19) and Stephen (16). Tony is also the President of the Autistic Children’s Foundation. He loves golfing, casinos and talking shop at NGA.

  • Posted on: 10/26/2016

    Driverless truck delivers 50K cans of Bud on supply run

    High-techies love this and it seems almost surreal to me but it will move forward for sure. Labor is the one cost that companies feel they can save by using technology to eliminate manpower and, yes, there will be fewer jobs as a result. My concern, as mentioned above, is when the brakes fail on a semi heading down a hill with a full load, and the consequences of this will be devastating, like a train plowing through an intersection.We simply can not stop innovation, good or bad, and jobs will continue to shrink. Constant retraining will become the norm as new jobs will open up, requiring much higher skills, and blue collar jobs will continue to shrink, adding to our already bloated unemployment levels. I still remember our family doctor coming over to the house when we needed him, and that too is gone. Change is constant and we must adapt, even if we don't like it.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2016

    Will sky-high APR rates put an end to retailer credit cards?

    Ditto.. I pay off all my balances each much, and I buy my cars from my home equity line of credit @3.99% and claim the deduction. My dad always talked to me about finances, and I'm so glad he did.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2016

    What follows all-day breakfast at McDonald’s?

    Geez, I love the thought of being in charge of McDonald's, so allow me to indulge. With the resources they have, the first thing I would do is add a line of higher-end foods that someone like me would actually want to eat, besides breakfast. There are 30-35 million Americans with diabetes and no one is addressing this in restaurants on any large scale.I would also have a gluten-free/low-carb bun and tortilla that customers can ask for in lieu of the cheap buns, and offer the ability to ask for sugar free ketchup for their brand new sweet potato fries, which would be prepared in a separate fryer (or better yet flash-baked in ovens). All of these products currently exist, and yet it amazes me that they are not sold for people like me.A real high-end gluten-free/low-carb muffin, made with almond flour and agave or stevia would be fantastic, with real blueberries or strawberries in the batter to go along with a power shake that has kale, mixed berries and premium protein powder with stevia/agave for the sweetener. A "lite" Greek yogurt would be great, and how about a healthy alternative to pop, like vitamin water, or a natural cold bottle of premium tea? Starbucks does this quite well, and McDonald's could undercut their prices easily and still make very good money.A really good shaved cheese steak sandwich is very doable, and a line of higher-end salads with premium dressings would do well. They have the locations, seating areas and friendly employees, but currently I avoid eating there, as nothing is remotely healthy and diabetics who want to stay healthy shouldn't eat there except as a last resort. Can this be done? Absolutely, and again, it has to be all premium ingredients, and I believe it can succeed.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2016

    Will Millennials abandon traditional grocers?

    This is a very good article. For me, success at any level requires a commitment to providing excellent signature foods and goods that customers simply can not find at the big box or limited-assortment stores. The problem for my store and many, many others like mine, is the economy of our area. If you have a store in a deeply depressed area your success, no matter how hard you try, will be limited, as these unique foods are on the higher end of the value scale. The discounters dominate our area and we have had six independent supermarkets leave us since 1992, when Walmart and Aldi moved in.Developing a strategy in our situation is to play to both ends of the spectrum by offering outstanding values every day, which will reduce margins, and doing our best to make up the profits with signature deli/meat/bakery items. To some degree this can work, but many Millennials have left our area in pursuit of much better careers and a chance to become successful. Our economy is driven by nursing homes, Dollar General, Walmart, quick cash advance stores and welfare offices, and I'm still here trying. To those who are in this situation, you must keep building signature brands and make sure you listen to the people who want higher-end goods and services, as they still exist in all economies. Thanks.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2016

    Is the craft brand trend healthy for big retailers and manufacturers?

    Many craft brands start out with the intent of staying unique and local until they find a big chunk of change being offered for a buyout. Who can blame a start up for wanting to be able to retire on a sale to a major manufacturer? We will see more of this because innovators love to grow big, but don't have the capital. By selling their brand to a major CPG, they still have their cash and the name on the product, which is a win-win for them and for the CPG company that pays for the product name without a large investment in R&D.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2016

    Will greeters make Penney a more inviting place to shop?

    It is nice to do something like this, but we have greeters as well -- they are called my employees. I am not against this as it is important to recognize customers as they walk in, but I don't see this as a bold move to improve sales and service. Perhaps there should be a boost in training employees in front-end courtesy and how to engage in the selling process, at the counters and on the floor. The shopping experience on the floor in most department stores is pretty bland at best, and if you make it an outstanding experience then that is where the bottom line will grow.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2016

    Will Amazon give new meaning to convenience stores?

    Amazon could sneeze in the middle of the forest and it would be front page news. Fresh foods take an enormous amount of planning, labor, talent and skilled culinary people to pull off what this article is saying, and unless they do it like a scaled-down Whole Foods or Wegmans, success will be minimal.Anybody can stock their shelves with shipped-in sandwiches and salads, but real foodies want to see fresh in-house made products that are outstanding, or they will go somewhere else. Perhaps on a college campus, where Amazon is a god, this could work but there are too many really good options from local stores which prepare amazing foods that Amazon can not compete with unless they invest in the proper people to make it fresh on site.I could be wrong, but when I travel, I go to the places that have homemade signature foods I can enjoy, not something shipped in from who knows where.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2016

    AmazonFresh lowers annual subscription via a $15 monthly rate

    This will work for Amazon, basically because they are Amazon. The trick comes in trying to turn a profit, and I can guarantee you the customers will pay more than "ad prices" for their fresh product, and for higher income families, it shouldn't be a problem.I keep seeing comments here on free delivery being the future for groceries. If that is true, either prices will continue to rise to offset this, or profits will be impossible, as the costs will eat up the transaction. I am in no way being skeptical, but as I said a thousand times, in a large dense city, yes it is possible to make money. But in the rural areas and large spread-out suburbs, something has to give, either in delivery fees or built in higher prices.I live eat and breathe this business every day, and labor is a huge factor in the bottom line, so I will be interested to see who makes it, and to what extent the real pricing of the goods will be, as making a profit is essential to growing this business.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2016

    Will opening hotels help West Elm sell more furniture?

    I think it is a smart idea and, for it to work, all the other issues in terms of how the customer rates their stay at the hotel must be top notch. Otherwise it will not work. From the front desk to the room service and especially to the maid service, which provides fresh sheets and a sparkling clean room, it must be first rate. Then it will make the guests see the quality of the total experience. It's not easy to do but it has to be this way, or all the effort of providing the furniture in these rooms will not work.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2016

    Will on-demand beauty services connect with Macy’s customers?

    This service will work for the time-starved person who also has a very nice income. Macy's is smart to partner up with this service and beGlammed better be up to the task, and if they do a great job, we have a win-win for both of them. Bridal parties the day of the wedding would be a natural fit and this could go very well, but where I live this service would not be a big thing, as money is very tight in our area. As we move forward, every major retailer is going to partner up with these types of services and it just may keep sales moving online for a Macy's, so that they don't lose more sales to Amazon (which is also doing the same thing). I wish them well.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2016

    Should grocers back away from prepared meals?

    The only reason to back away from this problem is if you do not know what you are doing, plain and simple. I cater for hundreds of people during the year, drop and served, and have never had a problem as we know how to prepare and keep food safe. It takes training and know-how, plus employees that follow safety standards of how to prep food properly and safely. We do not have a hot buffet bar in my store as it is very difficult to monitor, unlike a wedding, where the customers move through the line quickly while we serve them. There is money to be made for sure, but if you are going to venture into homemade foods you must do it right or stay out of it. With pressure on profits from center-store losses, many stores have gotten into prepared foods and quite a few have done amazing jobs of providing this service safely every single day. The few who don't make all of us look bad. We get inspected randomly several times a year and have had no problems in how we handle and store our product and, believe me, it is a steep learning curve. My store wouldn't be here without our deli and meat department, so I must stay on top of food safety and it pays off. For anyone thinking about doing this in a bigger way, prepare for a lot of homework and invest in a consultant who can help you do it right, because prepared foods ain't for sissies either.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2016

    Can crowdsourced price data change shopping habits?

    Another app that will create nirvana for the militant drive-around shopper, which is fine for them. In reality, many shoppers prefer a go-to store with at least one or two more choices for their meats/deli, and perhaps a farmers-type market for local stuff. Our loyal shoppers know that they can come in here any day of the week and get the best prices on our perishables all over the store, and they shop Dollar General next door for Tide and other items and of course Walmart for more staple foods. If I do my job well I can count on them coming back to stock up on our perishables and if I don't they will go someplace else. All of us are aware of prices in the other stores and if the consumer wants to chase them all down, good for them. Most consumers value their time more than spending all day getting the lowest price in six locations, so I don't see much changing in how we do things here.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2016

    Why are retailers struggling to get social media right?

    Social media is something our store has been doing strongly for more than three years and before that we did email blasts for more than a decade. It requires time, labor and knowhow. I have seen some really good stuff from retailers and others that are downright horrible. Keeping it fresh and pulling out older content is a good start. Some stores' Facebook pages have their last entry from 2014. I have a few folks whose job it is to keep things going, and we try to make new catering or meat videos that also get posted on our YouTube channel.One huge thing for us, as mentioned above, is how quickly we respond to our customers questions and concerns. Our response rate is very good, as it is important to answer questions within a few hours or less.There are some pretty sophisticated websites out there that require a staff of employees to make them run smoothly, but no matter the size keep it focused and fresh with great photos, and above all engage quickly with your customers or risk losing them to someone else who does it better.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2016

    Walmart cuts in-store back-office jobs

    Walmart is continuing to upgrade their automation services, and more job cuts in these higher paid positions will continue. No one in business large or small wants to pay for more help than they need, and today's smart deal-buying consumers are driving all of us to find cost savings just to stay profitable. With a touch of a button consumers can sit back and have everything appear at their door in some cases in under an hour. The good old days are gone. Either streamline your business to fit your customers' needs and get involved with producing a workable social media platform or risk being out of business.I understand what my customers want, which is great deals and custom prepared foods. Unless I can make this happen very efficiently, without waste, I will struggle to keep their business. Walmart knows how to keep costs down better than anybody and, as big as they are, they will not waste a dime if it gets the desired results they need for their shareholders.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2016

    Can edible packaging help solve retail’s eco problem?

    Biodegradable packaging is fine, but edible packaging, forget about it. Zero waste is wonderful, but unlikely anytime soon, and for me I'm not eating the package of anything made unless of course it is chocolate. Happy Labor Day everyone.

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