Ep 192: Interview with Michael Emanuele, VP of MGT Foods
Since the first show aired back in 2013 I’ve been a huge fan of The Profit with Marcus Lemonis. This business reality show has gone on to produce 4 seasons of episodes, each of which showcases a different company in pursuit of doing an investment deal with Marcus. Back in Episode #6 of Season 1 we were introduced to Mr. Green Tea (owned by the parent company MGT Foods). Mr. Green Tea is a family-owned, third generation ice cream company based in Keyport, NJ. Unlike many of the other small businesses from Season 1, Mr. Green Tea was not in any financial trouble, business was good, and they had carved out a nice niche in their industry. Their biggest problem was a fear of taking big risks, most notably building their own manufacturing facility so they could get away from their co-packers, introduce new products, increase their profit margins and ultimately control their own destiny. Since doing a deal with Marcus, sales are booming at Mr. Green Tea and Mr. Mochi (their newest brand). In their food service division their products are available at thousands at hotels, restaurants, and cruise ships. In the consumer packaged goods division they are now selling at 1,500+ retail locations including supermarket chains like Whole Foods and Stop & Shop. With all these new business opportunities the company has already expanded their facilities and will continue to add new products if needed but as of now Mr. Green Tea and Mr. Mochi are doing awesome.
In this episode I chatted with Michael about a ton of things starting with why Mr. Green Tea decided to do The Profit, what were the concerns doing a show that had no track record up to that point, how many hours of production went into their episode, how long did it take for the show to air after production, why did they end up doing a deal with Marcus, how has their partnership progressed over the past 4 years, how is business going, how have they expanded so rapidly, why is he so excited about the introduction of Mr. Mochi, what are the complexities of dealing with retail and slotting fees, what has been their overall marketing strategy, what are their big goals going forward, are they planning to open up more West Coast operations, what have been the biggest challenges with growing a frozen food business, what does it mean to be running a third generation business that is getting ready to celebrate their 50th anniversary and much more.