In this video, I’m talking to Michael
Lichter, who’s the CEO of Culinary Depot about his role at Culinary Depot and
everything that goes on there. Michael, nice to see you. Nice to see you. So can
you tell me a little bit about how you’ve wound up in this Culinary Depot
dynasty. There are so many different facets to it. How did you come to be part
of it? So the best way to to land the job is to marry the boss’s daughter. So
that’s what I have to do. I didn’t realize. Are there any daughters left or am I out of luck. There’s two more. You still got a chance. I’ll have to tell my wife.
It’ll take a while. So you married? Yep. Married with five beautiful kids. Okay,
fantastic. And tell me what’s your role at culinary
Depot? I’m the CEO of the company and my role is to hire the right people, empower
them to do the job, and take away the bottleneck so they can be successful.
That sounds to me like I feel like you’ve been speaking to Jacob. Yes, he’s
coached me very well. And that’s an interesting thing actually. Because
Culinary Depot is a family business, and there’s- who are some of the other
people involved from the Lichter family and the Potash family? There’s quite a few. So we have several siblings involved in in managerial and other positions.
Moshe Potash is director e-commerce. Riva Zuker is executive sales contract
sales. Dovey Sofer is director of retail sales. Eli Potash runs government sales.
And Shlomo Potash our credit manager. As well my brother Barry Lichter our
Director of Operations. So quite a few and all based here in New York. You’ve
actually got some satellite offices as well. Yes we have offices in South
Carolina, Miami Beach Florida, and Las Vegas, as well as Lakewood, New Jersey.
Okay, right. So there’s a lot of you. And there’s I think there’s not just of
course the family members there’s like 90 other people involved. Yes, so we have
a… we’re hitting soon a hundred employees.
And only ten of them are family. We treat everybody like family. Everybody becomes family. Well that’s a good way to be. So can you tell me a little bit more about
Culinary Depot and maybe the recent years because you’ve gone through some
extraordinary growth. Yes, Culinary Depot was founded by Mr
Sholem Potash – my father-in-law in the year 2000. And it’s, you know — he’s had the
know-how how to design kitchens because he worked in the kitchens so well so. so
he said you know how can I help people and give back to the community? So we
said we will help people work smarter, serve better meals, and now we’re
contributing. So Culinary Depot started as a one-person operation. Him and his son Jacob actually doing the deliveries. And the store sure enough,
we’ve evolved into a national dealership. And we have people across the country
designing proper kitchens. And this is obviously the heart of what you do —
design commercial kitchens for various applications from restaurants and hotels.
What are some of the more unusual places that you guys have designed an install
kitchen? So the most unusual job we’ve designed the kitchen is in Uman Ukraine.
There’s a pilgrimage of about 50,000 Orthodox Jews every Jewish New Year.
We’ve shipped over half a million to a million dollars of kitchen equipment
there. and it’s obviously a kosher kitchen so does a challenge is no
cooking on the Sabbath so preparing three meals a day they serve there over
I think 15,000 portions of the 50,000 people three times a day and that’s
something we’re very proud of wow that is quite amazing and then I’ve also
heard that locally I should say nationally in the US you’ve worked with
some quite well-known brands I think Hilton Mariot it what are some of the
projects here in the US that have been particularly interesting so again we
like challenges and nothing is too big or too small one of
the big challenging jobs we’ve been given was there was a camp camp pagoda
in Liberty New York who had a fire the kids were coming for days later and
Rabbi Meir Frischmann called me up I was down the road then because my wife was
working down the road in a different camp and Mayer called me we
had a fire come over and we come down and the kitchen the dining room is
burned down he says I’m gonna put up a tent so the kids can come and what can
you do and we sat down four days later we had a functioning kitchen serving a
thousand meals a day Wow four days is the out of a tent that is quite
extraordinary and if I may therefore ask obviously you
guys are doing commercial kitchen design large-scale 15,000 people a day also I
think quite small things I mean no no too big no too small if you had to kind
of say to someone who asked you that what are some of the more unique aspects
what is it like to work with culinary people I was a client what’s unusual
about you guys what’s unusual about culinary Depot is the relationship and
the care we have for our clients our people become family or colleagues
become family and our customers become family whether the job is a small twenty
five thousand dollar job a hundred thousand dollar job or a million dollar
job you are part of the culinary Depot family and we have that’s our culture
and we we take real pride in that so we will make sure you’re successful and
that and that’s your success is our success and there’s one thing that shell
are mentioned to me because I had a chance to talk to him this morning the
founder he mentioned to me that when you guys are still kitchens one thing that’s
possible is to come and do these inspections so that before you get your
safety or sanitation inspection that you guys might come and check you’ve passed
before the government inspectors even show up that sounds like they’re kind of
that’s an ongoing relationship that’s not like just a one-off deal I buy my
thing and I’m done so does that sort of sound like the culinary Depot way sure
that you know it’s it’s all about solution providing
so our people are knowledgeable in the kitchen so we know what is good and what
isn’t good so our guy and we are with the customer not just for the opening so
somebody may open up a restaurant one of the first restaurants we’ve done for
example is purple Perrin Muncie New York a Deary restaurant you know every year
he’s buying new stuff so it’s not just like a one-time deal with our clients
just naming one of them but our customers continuously shop whether it’s
a new slicer and a refrigerator a new steam table they want to add something
to the menu and get something else all right well thank you so much I
appreciate it you really have you have me quite an insight into what happens
behind the scenes and that sort of cultural that way you know the culinary
Depot way I think that’s that’s very well certainly that’s what we do all
right well thank you so much if people would like to find out more please visit
us online at where you can get in touch with all of
us you can get in touch with Michael if you wish and also their support teams in
the various local offices via phone email and more