Soom Foods new Hire + Forty Hours in South Beach

By: Amy  |  February 28, 2017

Soom has made one of our biggest “big girl” decisions, yet. We hired a sales executive! Her name is MaryJo Griner and she has an awesome background selling real estate in NYC and more recently owning and operating her own catering company in Harrisburg, PA.

Life circumstances brought her to Philly, and we scooped her up!

MaryJo, on the left.

Her first business trip was 40 hours in South Beach. Tough gig, right?

And not a whole lot of time. What’s the point?

The first goal in everything we do is to create and maintain meaningful relationships; the second is, obviously, to spread the good word about (read, sell) Soom.

Here’s a glimpse at our quick trip down to the South Beach Wine and Food Fest:

We landed at 2pm on Thursday.

Our first stop was to see and catch up Chef Danny Ganem, founder of Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen and new executive chef at Quality Meats.   We’re forever appreciative of Danny and the Zuuk team’s dedication to thoughtfully sourced ingredients. They were one of the first restaurants to request Soom in Southern Florida!

We checked into our airbnb (traveling on a budget, friends) and got ready for dinner. Soom could be in two places at once! MaryJo went to a lovely Mediterranean dinner hosted by Uri Jeremias, aka Uri Buri, Aret Sahakyan and Sergio Sigala.  I went to Alon Shaya’s Kosher BBQ featuring Zak the Baker, Ashley Christensen, Steve McHugh, and John Currence.

Talk, drink, eat. Repeat…

I ran into Jackie’s good friend Adeena Sussman at the Kosher BBQ, and she invited us to a TODAY show taping Friday morning. Famous chefs joined Al Roker for cooking demos and chatting, while others watched and schmoozed on the side.

Next, we stopped into the panel discussion about “the future of restaurant operations, big and small.” Alon Shaya, Kevin Boehm, Daniel Holzman and John Riggs discussed the challenges and opportunities in the industry. My take aways? A restaurant is like any other business – know your numbers and, in this competitive landscape, do everything (food, service, aesthetics) well.

Then, we had the opportunity to meet a husband-wife duo who own their first restaurant (poke), and are interested in opening their next as a Middle Eastern salatim concept. This is what I still love the most – meeting people passionate about Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cuisine and asking them to consider Soom as the tahini in their kitchen. I love learning about people’s expectations and goals, and sharing Soom’s in return.

For the grand finale we made the trip to CookNSolo’s beach-front house party in Sunnyside. A party it was – to celebrate the successes of Zahav, Dizengoff and Abe Fisher, and hype Federal Donut’s expansion to The Magic City – we danced to 90s hip hop, admired break dancers’ talents, sipped on Israeli-style punches and feasted on CookNSolo’s signature foods.

Talk, drink, eat, dance. Repeat…


Wake up and head to the airport.

Back in Philadelphia by noon on Saturday.

So, MaryJo, welcome to the Soom crew – where learning, talking, eating and drinking are (some of) the means to our success!