Barbara Barry, COO at FoodSignPros was destined to be a renowned actor with numerous theatres, commercial, independent movies in her kitty. But fate had other plans, from a summer job working at her father’s company to leading the company to become a multi-channel industry leader in food safety, merchandising and brand enhancement—Barbara has come a long way. “I always tell people that you know I love the company if I “gave up” acting to be a part of it. I love being here. I love carrying on my Dad’s legacy. It has become my absolute passion, and it helps that I’m pretty good at it!”
FoodSignPros helps companies with real food safety as well as perceived food safety. “I can genuinely say we are the only company in the industry who designs with “safety first”, our products and designs revolve around real food safety,” explains Barbara. “From monitors to detect when your food is done cooking, to flavor labels with food safe inks, and FDA approved food shields, we do our due diligence to keep the everyday customer safe.” But Barbara knows that having real food safety isn’t enough, especially in today’s germophobic society. That is why she along with her team helps companies with their perceived food safety. “Companies can be safe all they want, but if the customer does not see them as safe their efforts don’t matter. We create (food safe) signage and marketing efforts for brands to convey to their patrons that they really do care about their health and well-being,” she adds.
FoodSignPros prides themselves in primarily being a proactive company as opposed to a reactive company. Reactive companies help brands after a problem occurs, whereas proactive companies solve the problem before it costs companies millions of dollars. The best example is a product that FoodSignPros invented in 1999 humorously called “The Wiener Minder”—a low-tech hot dog monitoring device that tells a Convenience Store’s employee when the hotdog is finished cooking and can be served to the customer. “Unfortunately, a few months after the Wiener Minder was created, two children in the US died from eating under cooked hotdogs off a roller grill—this resulted in every roller grill implementing a Wiener Minder,” shares Barbara.
"FoodSignPros prides themselves in primarily being a proactive company as opposed to a reactive company."
FoodSignPros have doubled in size the past year and Barbara believes that it starts with the hiring process. “When I conduct interviews, I ask questions specifically designed to understand their inner mindset. If I sense any negative energy or lack of inspiration, I don’t hire them,” she says. “Knowing myself and where I came from, I truly believe that you can teach anyone a skill but you can’t teach them mindset and hard work. I have hired a few “bad eggs” and I quickly realized this and let them go- “be slow to hire, and quick to fire” constantly plays in my head.” To keep inspiration flowing, Barbara encourages all her employees to use their own unique skillsets to grow the company. For example, one of FoodSignPros designers love doodles and cartoons, after Barbara’s encouragement he used his doodles and cartoons by re-branding FoodSignPros to a whimsical and fun company. His doodles can now be seen on every catalog, webpage, and marketing creative that have been made.
FoodSignPros simply set themselves apart by owning their niche and just truly doing their own thing. “We don’t want to look like our competitors, we don’t want to do the same thing as our competitors,” says Barbara. “Our key differentiating factors are the fact that we design with “safety first” and our whimsical product names and branding. We are different, we don’t try to blend in, we want to stick out, we want to be radical.” Today, FoodSignPros has the complete in-house capabilities to transform restaurant to a food service destination, and have expanded their design team and capabilities, acquired additional machinery and manufacturing capabilities, and have become a complete one-stop-shop to dramatically increase any store’s revenue. IE