Omaha Steaks International, Inc., known as Omaha Steaks, is a food retailer. The company is named after the city it was founded in, and headquarters location, Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha Steaks manufactures, markets, and distributes steaks, meat, seafood, and some prepared foods.

Omaha Steaks
Company typePrivately held family business
IndustryMail order
Gourmet food
HeadquartersOmaha, Nebraska
Number of employees
1,500 (2022)

History edit

Omaha Steaks Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon

In 1850 Lazar Shames founded a packing house and meat market in Riga, Latvia.[1] In 1898 his son J.J. and his family fled religious persecution in Latvia and came to the United States as part of the third wave of Jewish immigration to the country.[2][3] They passed through Ellis Island, chose Simon as their American name, and eventually arrived in Omaha, which was experiencing a population surge due in part to the development of the meat packing industry.[2][3] J.J. and his son B.A. worked as butchers for many years, and then in 1917 the family started their own meat-cutting operation.[2][4] The business was located in downtown Omaha in the current location of the First National Center.[4] The previous occupant in that space had been a carpentry shop called "Table Supply Co." and the Simons changed the name to Table Supply Meat Co.[4][5]

In 1924 the Simons moved the business to a new location in what is now Omaha's Old Market neighborhood and began selling their cuts of beef to local supermarkets and national chain grocery stores, hotel restaurants, and institutional customers.[4][5]

In 1929 B.A. Simon's son Lester joined the business and helped expand its distribution.[2] In the 1940s Lester brokered a deal with the Union Pacific Railroad to begin serving Omaha Steaks in the dining cars of their transcontinental trains.[5] Lester selected the meat for the passenger trains that traveled between Omaha and Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.[4][5] The mail-order business began in 1952, as orders packed in dry ice and cardboard cartons lined with wax paper were shipped via train.[5][6] In the early 1960s innovations in shipping like insulated-foam coolers, vacuum packaging, and direct parcel shipping helped Omaha Steaks transform itself into a direct marketer.[6][7] Catalogs were mailed to customers for the first time in 1963,[4] and gradually expanded to include not only steaks, but poultry, pork, seafood, side dishes, and desserts.[5] In 1966 the company changed its name to Omaha Steaks and moved to a new plant.[4]

Omaha Steaks opened its first retail store in Omaha in 1976.[4][5] Before then, buying a product from the company was limited to eating at certain restaurants that offered their products or ordering meats from its mail-order catalog.[5] In 1984 half of the company's sales came through such catalogs along with other direct mail campaigns, and the other half came through sales to restaurants, hotels, and institutions.[8] In 1985 the company expanded its retail operations beyond Nebraska, opening a store in Houston,[4] and as of 2021 it operated 48 total retail stores in 20 states.[9]

Omaha Steaks was an early adopter of digital marketing.[10][11][12] The company placed its first online ad on CompuServ in 1991,[13][14] and by 1995 it had a robust presence on America Online and a fully functional website.[15][16] Through these platforms, the company was receiving around 20,000 responses a month.[16] Omaha Steaks became part of the Microsoft Network in 1998 and launched a Japanese website in 1999.[12] That same year the company opened new corporate and marketing offices next to its expanded telemarketing facility.[12]

Operations edit

Omaha Steaks manufactures, markets, and distributes a variety of steaks and other meats, including seafood, chicken, and pork,[17] along with appetizers, sides, and desserts.[5][18] The company is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska,[12] and as of 2020 was the city's 24th largest employer.[19] Omaha Steaks employs 1,500 workers.[20] During the holidays the company hires more than 3,000 temporary workers to meet increased consumer demand.[21] In addition to its corporate and marketing office, its facilities include three manufacturing plants, two distribution centers, and a freezer warehouse.[12][18]

National and international markets for the company's products include food service, mail order, incentive, telesales, retail stores, licensed-restaurants, sales to specialty and food stores, and interactive sales.[12] was founded as a separate company to provide more comprehensive service for online customers.[12] Omaha Steaks products are shipped in coolers with dry ice.[22] During peak season, the company can ship as many as 100,000 packages a day.[10] Retail stores carry the same products offered through mail order.[5]

Todd Simon serves as chairman and chief steak evangelist of Omaha Steaks,[23] and Nate Rempe serves as the company's president and chief executive officer.[23]

Branding and marketing edit

Omaha Steaks uses the tagline "America's Original Butcher", and offering premium steaks via innovative packaging and delivery.[24][25] The company was an early pioneer in direct-to-consumer sales,[10] and continues to employ an omnichannel approach to marketing that reflects its roots in teleservices and direct mailing.[25][18]

The company was an early adopter of telemarketing, fax ordering, and online sales, and engages customers through direct mail, online marketing, and retail stores.[10][17] In the mid-1990s Omaha Steaks expanded its corporate sales unit and created a separate corporate catalog that was intended to serve corporate buyers who were already customers.[26]

In 1958, Omaha Steaks ran its first ad for mail-order steaks in The New Yorker, and has since become the longest-running advertiser in that publication.[27][7]

In 2014 an Oregon man brought a class action suit against Omaha Steaks for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 after receiving unwanted robocalls from the company.[28] The suit was settled for $2 million in 2016.[29]

Chef James Beard served as a spokesperson for the company in the 1970s and cookbook author Merle Ellis served as a spokesperson in the 1980s.[30] In 2010, Omaha Steaks was granted a trademark for the phrase "The Official Sponsor of Tailgating."[31] In October 2020, Omaha Steaks announced that chef David Rose would serve as the company's executive chef and spokesperson, and also consult on product development.[32][33]

Cookbooks edit

In 1997, Frederick J. Simon, the great-grandson of Omaha Steaks founder J.J. Simon, wrote The Steaklover's Companion, a cookbook created in collaboration with American celebrity chefs.[34] The book was intended to be the first in a series, and another, Beef For All Seasons, was published the following year. Since then Omaha Steaks has published numerous cookbooks, including The Great Gathering Guide and Cookbook, Omaha Steaks: Let's Grill and Omaha Steaks: Meat.[34][35][36]

Philanthropy edit

Omaha Steaks supports local and national charities and arts organizations, as well as education scholarships.[34][37] Organizations supported by the company and family have included Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts,[38] Film Streams,[39] Santa Fe Opera.[40] Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.[41] The company also works with the disaster relief organization Mercy Chefs,[42] Feeding America,[43] and Food Bank for the Heartland.[44]

Works or publications edit

Television edit

Cookbooks edit

  • Harrisson, John, and Frederick J. Simon. Omaha Steaks: Let's Grill. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2001. ISBN 978-0-6096-0776-3
  • Harrisson, John, and Frederick J. Simon. Omaha Steaks Meat. New York, N.Y: C. Potter, 2001. ISBN 978-0-6096-0777-0
  • Simon, Frederick J, John Harrisson, and Mark Kiffin. The Steaklover's Companion: 170 Savory Recipes from America's Greatest Chefs. New York: HarperCollins, 1997. ISBN 978-0-0601-8781-1 Adapts dishes from recipes developed by James Beard, who had been an Omaha Steaks consultant for many years.
  • Simon, Frederick J, and John Harrisson. A year of beef recipes : beef for all seasons. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. ISBN 978-0-0601-9382-9
  • The Great American Grilling Book. New York: Time, Inc. Home Entertainment, 2008. ISBN 978-1-6032-0020-2
  • Omaha Steaks International good life guide and cookbook, a yearly volume
  • Great Gathering Guide & Cookbook, a free cookbook and cooking guide with coupons

See also edit

Notes and references edit

  1. ^ "Omaha Steaks Builds". The Associated Press. January 28, 1984 – via Nexis. The company's origin traces to Riga, Latvia, where Lazar Shames founded a packing house and meat market in 1850. His son and grandson came to the United States in 1898, choosing Simon as their American name and Omaha as their home.
  2. ^ a b c d Zalman, Jonathan (August 31, 2017). "Omaha Steaks, Begun by Latvian Jewish Immigrants, Turns 100". Tablet. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Gendler, Carol (March 1, 1968). The Jews of Omaha: The first sixty years (Thesis). University of Nebraska at Omaha. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Finney, Daniel P. (March 5, 2002). "Name says it all for Omaha Steaks History of Omaha Steaks". Omaha World-Herald – via Nexis.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Alexander, Deborah (May 16, 2006). "5 Generations Have Kept the Sizzle in Omaha Steaks". Omaha World-Herald. Archived from the original on 2015-02-14. Retrieved March 9, 2022 – via RedOrbit.
  6. ^ a b Ruff, Joe (December 1, 2000). "Omaha Steaks is Family Business That Sizzles With Holiday Orders". The Associated Press – via Nexis. The mail-order business began in 1952 when Lester Simon, J.J.'s grandson, started using trains to ship steaks packed in dry ice and cardboard cartons lined with wax paper. Plastic-foam coolers, vacuum packaging and direct parcel shipping later helped send the direct mail business into high gear.
  7. ^ a b Soderlin, Barbara (December 10, 2000). "Durham Museum exhibit chronicles company's growth, community impact". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  8. ^ "Omaha Steaks Builds". The Associated Press. January 28, 1984 – via Nexis. The Gourmet Foods Division, which sells to the consumer through catalogs and other direct mail campaigns, accounts for about half of Omaha Steaks' sales, Simon says. The other half comes from the Foodservice Division, which sells to restaurants, hotels and institutions.
  9. ^ "Omaha Steaks announces death of Bruce Simon, CEO". The National Provisioner. BNP Media. February 18, 2021. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d Hanacek, Andy (November 9, 2020). "Omaha Steaks: 'Direct' success". The National Provisioner. BNP Media. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  11. ^ Biga, Leo Adam (June 15, 2010). "This Version of Simon Says Positions Omaha Steaks as a Food Service Juggernaut". The Jewish Press. Retrieved March 9, 2013 – via Issuu.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Laseter, Timothy M.; Rabinovich, Elliot (2011). Internet Retail Operations: Integrating Theory and Practice for Managers (Supply Chain Integration Modeling, Optimization and Application). US: CRC Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-1439800911. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  13. ^ "SEM Beefs Up Online Sales For Omaha Steaks". Chief Marketer. Access Intelligence. December 7, 2005. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  14. ^ Lewis, Peter H. (December 25, 1993). "Cyberspace Is Looking a Lot Like Christmas". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  15. ^ Keefe, Robert (November 27, 1995). "There's the hard way … // … and there's the easy chair". St. Petersburg Times – via Nexis.
  16. ^ a b Norris, Melinda (October 8, 1995). "Billboards in Cyberspace: Ads Cruise Onto Internet Definitions". Omaha World-Herald – via Nexis. The nation's largest direct marketer of steaks and other gourmet foods established an electronic, multicolored pictorial catalog on America Online and the World Wide Web in August and receives about 20,000 responses a month.
  17. ^ a b Kulikowskijul, Laurie (July 30, 2012). "Omaha Steaks: Carving Out a 21st Century Sales Model". TheStreet. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  18. ^ a b c Hisrichi, Robert D.; Ramadani, Veland (2018). "Chapter 7: Entrepreneurial distribution policy". Entrepreneurial Marketing: A Practical Managerial Approach. US: Edward Elgar Pub. ISBN 978-1788111317. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  19. ^ "The 50 Biggest Employers in Greater Omaha – 2020". Greater Omaha Chamber. July 14, 2000. Retrieved March 9, 2022 – via America First Investment Advisors.
  20. ^ Ryan McCarthy (July 16, 2020). "Omaha Steaks chairman dies". Meat+Poultry. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  21. ^ Ward, Brendan (November 9, 2020). "Omaha Steaks to hire 3000 seasonal workers". American City Business Journals. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  22. ^ Drickhamer, David (December 12, 2006). "Peak Seasoning at Omaha Steaks". MH&L: Material Handling & Logistics. Archived from the original on 2015-06-06. Retrieved 2019-09-08.
  23. ^ a b reports, 6 News staff; Harris, Joe (2023-11-07). "Omaha Steaks making major changes". Retrieved 2024-03-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ "USPTO grants trade mark "OMAHA STEAKS - AMERICA'S ORIGINAL BUTCHER" to Omaha Steaks International, Inc. CORPORATION". Plus Patent News. Plus Media Solutions. January 19, 2019 – via Nexis.
  25. ^ a b Abramczyk, Meghan (December 15, 2015). "Omaha Steaks: Multi-Channel Expansion". Harvard Business School. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  26. ^ Grant, Tiny (2004). International Directory of Company Histories. Vol. 62. US: St. James Press. p. 259. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  27. ^ Grace, Rachel P. (2015). "The Golden Age of Steak". Omaha Food: Bigger Than Beef. US: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781625855688. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  28. ^ Laura Gunderson (January 10, 2014). "Gresham man sues Omaha Steaks over repeated, unwanted sales calls". The Oregonian.
  29. ^ Andrew Warner (January 7, 2022). "The Untold Truth Of Omaha Steaks". Mashed.
  30. ^ Kelly, Susan (October 22, 2020). "Omaha Steaks appoints executive chef". Marketing & Technology Group. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  31. ^ "Official Sponsor of Tailgating". November 27, 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
  32. ^ McCarthy, Ryan (October 26, 2020). "David Rose joins Omaha Steaks as executive chef". Meat + Poultry. Sosland Publishing. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  33. ^ Zimmer, David M. (November 6, 2020). "Bergen County's 'southern' chef David Rose is the new face of Omaha Steaks". USAToday Network. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  34. ^ a b c Katzman, Carol (June 6, 1997). "Fourth-generation meat purveyor writes cookbook". The Jewish Press. Retrieved March 9, 2013 – via Issuu.
  35. ^ "Beef, pork, poultry star in cookbook". Omaha World Herald. December 14, 2001 – via Nexis.
  36. ^ "Omaha Steaks to Release New Cookbook". Omaha World Herald. March 28, 2001 – via Nexis.
  37. ^ "The Omaha Steaks Story (Heritage Brochure)" (PDF). Omaha Steaks. 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
  38. ^ "Board & Staff: Todd Simon, Vice President". Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Archived from the original on 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2019-09-08.
  39. ^ Konigsberg, Eric. "When Omaha Met Cinema". March 16, 2008. The New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
  40. ^ "2013 Santa Fe Opera Board Members". The Santa Fe Opera. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
  41. ^ "Human Nature". metroMAGAZINE. ALH Publications. May 2013. p. 13. Retrieved March 9, 2013 – via Issuu.
  42. ^ "Omaha Steaks helps Louisiana recover after Hurricane Ida". KETV. Hearst Television. September 2, 2021. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  43. ^ Spinney, Kimberley (December 8, 2012). "Omaha Steaks has released their own holiday song to help Feeding America". Fansided. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  44. ^ "Chicken, burgers & steaks: Omaha organizations donate food to families in need". KMTV. Scripps Media. February 22, 2022. Retrieved March 9, 2022.

External links edit