For Immediate Release Contact: Brad Vassar
Executive Vice President, General Manager
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
Telephone: (305) 625-4171
Morton's Restaurant Group, Inc. Honors Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. As “Vendor of the Year – 2007”
Francesco LaFranconi, Southern’s Director of Mixology and Spirits Training, and Bill Edwards, Vice President, National Accounts Sales, Both Commended For Creating “Heavenly Mortini” Cocktail Program
MIAMI - October 1, 2007 – Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor with a tradition of delivering the highest levels of service excellence since 1968, today announced that the Company’s National Accounts Group has been honored as “Vendor of the Year – 2007” by Morton’s Restaurant Group, Inc. (MRG), the world's largest operator of company-owned upscale steakhouses, which is based in Chicago, Illinois, according to Brad Vassar, Executive Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
In recognizing the National Accounts team at Southern Wine & Spirits of America and praising the innovative “Heavenly Mortini Cocktail” program it created for MRG, Mr. Tylor Field III, Vice President of Wine and Spirits for Morton's Restaurant Group, said, “Francesco Lafranconi and Bill Edwards have worked in tandem to help increase Morton’s beverage sales…. This growth is based on creating a new arena and new channel that increases trial. It was not the normal endeavor of choosing one product over another, but creating something unique that fit our culture. They both helped create our most successful drinks program in our history: ‘The Heavenly Mortini’ program. I also want to thank Ken Kribel, Vice President, Director of National Accounts at Southern Wine & Spirits of America for his support of our program.”
Kevin Weinert, Senior Vice President of Operation for Morton’s Restaurant Group, Inc. said, “Many thanks to Francesco Lafranconi, Bill Edwards and Ken Kribel from Southern Wine and Spirits for playing such a vital role in helping Tylor Field and our team at Morton’s to enhance the guest experience through the highest quality beverage selections. ” Mr. Weinert added that Southern Wine & Spirits of America is the very first wine and spirits distributor to be honored by Morton’s Restaurant Group.
Mr. Wayne E. Chaplin, President and Chief Operating Officer of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., said: “On behalf of our entire Company, we are extremely honored to be recognized by Morton’s Restaurant Group as its 2007 Vendor of the Year.”Mr. Chaplin added “On behalf of Harvey R. Chaplin, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and our entire team at Southern, I want to compliment the outstanding work and professionalism of our entire National Accounts Team. Their creative, responsive service to Morton’s Steakhouse is a true reflection of our Company’s tradition of service excellence as well as our industry-leading innovative programs we execute for every sales channel and customer, both large and small, with whom we are privileged to work.”
Mr. Vassar, Executive Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., added, “I would like to congratulate Ken Kribel, Vice President, Director of National Accounts, Bill Edwards, Vice President, National Accounts Sales, Francesco Lafranconi, Director of Mixology and Spirits Training and our entire team at Southern Wine & Spirits across all our states, for their work with Morton’s Steakhouse and all our on-premise national chain customers around the country. This is an honor we are all proud of receiving from Morton’s Restaurant Group.”
Mr. Kribel said, “This award is especially notable because it is the very first time that Morton’s has recognized a wine and spirits distributor. I would like to single out the great work of Bill Edwards and Francesco Lafranconi for the leadership and dedication. This honor is the latest example of how our National Accounts Team is able to come up with creative, effective ways of adding value and driving results for both our top-level chain customers and key supplier partners.”
Bill Edwards, Vice President of National Account Sales, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, said, “The Morton’s award is truly an honor. Their continued aspiration to elevate the beverage experience has made our joint efforts rewarding for their company, their guests, our supplier partners and SWS. This recognition reinforces that our commitment to our national account customers is paying dividends to all our constituencies.”
Francesco Lafranconi, Director of Mixology and Spirits Training, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, said: “I am very enthusiastic and proud of this achievement for the Southern Wine &Spirits National Accounts Team. Bill Edwards and I, under the guidance of Tylor Fields, were able to share our skills and expertise to achieve a common goal: an heavenly cocktail experience for Morton's guests. I am very appreciative to Tylor and his executive management to have put so much trust and support in allowing this beverage concept to take off. This is proof that is possible to develop and implement a sophisticated cocktail program using fresh ingredients and proper staff training for a large national account (with units also in Asia) such as Morton's!"
About Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.:
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor with a tradition of delivering the highest levels of service excellence since 1968, currently conducts business in 28 states. The Company operates in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Company has a strategic partnership with Alaska Distributors Co. of Seattle, Washington, called Southern Wine/Spirits West, a joint venture that has wine and spirits brokerage operations across the Northwest Control States of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 10,000 team members. For more information, please log on to: www.southernwine.com.
About Morton’s Restaurant Group, Inc.:
Morton's Restaurant Group, Inc. is the world's largest operator of company-owned upscale steakhouses. Morton's steakhouses have remained true to its founders' original vision of combining generous portions of high quality food prepared to exacting standards with exceptional service in an enjoyable dining environment. As of July 30, 2007, the Company owned and operated 74 Morton's steakhouses located in 65 cities across 28 states and Puerto Rico and four international locations (Toronto, Vancouver, Singapore and Hong Kong) and 4 Italian restaurants. For more information, please log onto: www.mortons.com.