We have the the coolest customers! Crabby Bill’s owner, Matt Loder Sr., cracks the code to his family’s restaurant success. In the seafood business since 1974, Crabby Bill’s now has 6 locations in Florida, and all of them depend on ice machines from Easy Ice.
The Iceologist: Over 35 years in business — wow! That’s a lifetime in the restaurant world. What’s the secret to your success?
Matt: We aim to exceed expectations, in every regard. It’s all about the customers and we have a long list of people who’ve been coming to Crabby Bill’s for many years. We’re loyal to our customers and to our staff. At our Indian Rocks Beach location, we employ 105 people, and their average time with us is 10-15 years. We treat our staff and our customers like family.
Our Indian Rocks Beach location fills an entire city block. It has three bars, a sushi bar, a fish market, a gift shop, and, of course, a restaurant with outdoor dining.
The Iceologist: All of your locations have ice machines from us. How have our subscriptions simplified your operation?
Matt: Yes, we use your ice machines at every restaurant. In Indian Rocks Beach, we have 6 of your ice machines on property. We have cube, flake (for fish market displays), and cublet (nugget ice) ice machines. With an operation this big, we needed every type of ice maker.
Before we knew about Easy Ice, we had ice machine leases. After 30 years in this business, I’ve realized it’s all about service. Other leasing companies don’t look to the future like Easy Ice does.
Your guys did a survey on our previous ice use and looked at what type of machines we’d been using. They set us up with the right sizes and types of ice machines for each of our locations and needs.
Your installs have been great! You figured out our needs. Easy Ice is concerned about the long-term performance of its ice machines. Like making sure ice machines don’t slow production because you guys understand water filtration systems and you replace the water filters. Other leasing agencies don’t do this.
Your backup ice program (Breakdown Ice) was one of the deciders to go with Easy Ice. The ice machines run so well, that we’ve never had to use the service, but we like knowing it’s there.
The Iceologist: Before you had ice machine subscriptions from us, what were some of the issues you had with ice machines?
Matt: The other ice machine vendors just didn’t seem to care about the quality of the ice machines. I was always buying bagged ice! They gave no guarantee and didn’t keep the equipment up to date. We had long-term relationships with some vendors, and they still weren’t concerned.
The Iceologist: What’s your number one menu item?
Matt: Crab, of course! And we sell a lot of oysters on the half shell — that uses a great deal of ice.
The Iceologist: Let’s say I’m new in town. With so many seafood restaurants in Florida, why should I come to Crabby Bill’s?
Matt: (laughing) We have really good ice! Our focus is on quality — quality seafood, and quality service. Our goal is to exceed your expectations — and we will!
Crabby Bill’s: 6 locations, plus full-service catering in Florida. http://www.crabbybills.com
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