CHICAGO -- The National Automatic Merchandising Association has named Fred Steiner of Imperial Coffee and Service Inc. (Toronto) its Coffee Legend for 2012.
The honor will be conferred during NAMA's 2012 Coffee, Tea & Water this month in New Orleans. Chairpersons Tara Burnaman and Kevin Shea will introduce the honoree at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, during the annual conference's general session.
"Fred has been in the OCS business for 38 years, and has been recognized by his peers in the past for exemplary business practices and active community participation," said Roger Stewart, NAMA's Coffee and Water Service director.
Imperial Coffee and Services Inc. is the largest independently owned office coffee service and vending company in Canada, with 60 trucks and 125 employees. Its primary focus is on OCS, which represents approximately 75% of its total business; it also operates a water division.
The company operates six branches in Ontario servicing approximately 19,000 machines. Steiner was also a partner in South Florida's Park Avenue Office Services until it was sold to Aramark seven years ago.
Steiner attributes his success to "working very hard, being very lucky and having had the good fortune of meeting [Heritage Coffee founder] Stuart Daw, the first person selected by the National Coffee Service Association as a Coffee Legend, who became my friend and mentor." Imperial is still family-owned, he added -- "and when our customers speak, we listen."
Steiner, a past member of NCSA and current NAMA member, was instrumental in bringing an NCSA presence to Canada. He was a cofounder of the Ontario Coffee Service Association in 1992. His professional awards include NCSA's Regional Service Award (1985), the Silver Cup Award (1990 and 1992) and the NCSA Silver Service Award in 1992. NCSA merged into NAMA in 1999.
In 2000, Steiner was inducted into the National Beverage & Products Association's Coffee Service Hall of Fame, and in 2006, he received NBPA's Lifetime Achievement Award.