Name: Vic McGrady
Company: A.M.I. Contract Foodservice
Location(s): Connecticut, Bahrain and India
Do you have a niche or unique market? Yes, we are international kitchen equipment specialists. We focus mostly on the Middle East and India but we also have a handful of clients in many far off places.
How did you get involved in the Foodservice Industry? As a teenager and college student, I spent many summers working in restaurants. Not long after I graduated from college, I decided that I wanted to work internationally. I joined an global exporting company in New York that had a foodservice division. I first worked in the Far East division and then was promoted to manage their Middle East division. After working with that company for a couple of years, I decided to start my own company.
Describe the best foodservice job that you have done? It’s impossible to pick one, but one of the most interesting projects we worked on we couldn’t even visit the site. We supplied equipment to the U.S. military air base in Bagram, Afghanistan for a Dairy Queen restaurant. Because of the security situation, we could not visit and we could not even get drawings. Fortunately, the Dairy Queen Operations Manager was pretty talented and it turned out to work very well. It’s always great to contribute—even in a very, very small way—to making our soldiers feel just a little bit better while in a difficult war zone.
Describe the best job you have done this year? We are lucky to work with a lot of American franchises that go overseas. Sometimes it’s really fun, though, to work with small local home-grown concepts that do great things with restaurants and food concepts. We recently worked on a “Slider Station” restaurant in Dubai that is a concept that originates out of Kuwait. The owner is a Kuwaiti who is one of the most passionate and impressive food lovers / entrepreneurs you might find anywhere in the world. It is a brilliant concept that has to be seen and experienced to be fully understood and appreciated. Working with these types of passionate operators who care more about the food and the experience the guest will have is not as common as one would hope for and is extremely rewarding.
What’s the greatest advice you have been given about this industry? “The foodservice industry is not always the most exciting industry, but it is a very solid industry where people and companies who truly add value can carve out a niche and thrive.”
If you weren’t in foodservice, what other industries do you have an interest in? Personally, I enjoy dabbling in real estate. It is a completely different discipline and approach but one that I truly enjoy.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? As every business owner knows, there are many pro’s and con’s to owning your own business. To me, one of the things I am most proud of is helping to provide a number of good paying jobs with good benefits and full health insurance to a number of really good people that helps their entire families here in the USA and overseas.
What’s your favorite activity to do locally? Any activity involving my wife and twin daughters is my favorite local activity.
What is your favorite activity outside of the office? I grew up in a small town in Maine and I love going back to Maine where I have a small house on a lake outside of Portland. I love the people, the quality of life and the many outdoor activities the state has to offer year round.
Where is your favorite place to travel? Besides Maine, I love traveling all over Europe. I am lucky to have traveled to many different countries all over the world, but I especially enjoy exploring European history and culture.
Name one item on your bucket list: Take my family to explore Castlewellan, North Ireland where James McGrady departed from back in 1883 for a better life in the States.