||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (December 2011)|
||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (December 2011)|
|Type||Privately held family business|
|Revenue||$450 million |
Omaha Steaks International, Inc. is a direct marketer of meat, food seasonings, cookbooks and pet food in the USA. Founded in 1917 as a single butcher shop in Omaha, Nebraska, Omaha Steaks is a ﬁfth-generation, privately held family business, that is now one of America’s largest marketers of beef. Omaha Steaks also owns an affiliate company, World Port Seafood.
Omaha Steaks are shipped directly to customers packed in insulated coolers chilled with ice. The company also operates retail stores, which carry the same products as offered through mail order. The company uses a variety of marketing techniques, including mail order, telesales, telemarketing, retail sales and Internet-based sales. Besides its retail stores, food-service operation, catalogs and direct mail, Omaha Steaks also includes business-to-business gifts and incentives, special markets and a website. Bruce Simon is President and Chief Operating Officer of Omaha Steaks. Todd Simon, responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s marketing programs and employee training initiatives, serves as senior vice president.
Omaha Steaks is the 25th largest employer in the city of Omaha. The company hires 2,500 seasonal employees. Some of which are hired to add to company's permanent work force of about 1,800. Omaha Steaks is the largest small parcel direct shipper of gourmet foods in the US. Its 400-item product line generates revenue of about $450 million in annual sales – a total of about 4 million packages a year.
The first two generations of the Simon family, J.J. Simon and his son, B.A., came to America to escape religious persecution. They arrived in 1898 and after passing through Ellis Island took a train west in search of a place to settle. They chose Omaha because it reminded them of the farmland they had left behind in Riga, Latvia. Experienced butchers, they worked for nearly 20 years for other people.
Omaha Steaks was founded in 1917 as a cattle carcass operation at 17th and Douglas Streets and was operated by family founders J.J. and B.A. Simon. The Simonses bought an old carpentry store, Table Supply Co., as the site for their meat-cutting business. In an effort to save money, B.A. moved the two letters "Co" to the right, inserted the word "Meat" and called their new company Table Supply Meat Co. By 1924, the business moved to a larger building at 1211 Howard St., in the heart of the Old Market, from which J.J. and B.A. began selling cuts of meat to local supermarkets and national chain grocery stores, as well as to hotel restaurants and institutional customers.
B.A.’s son, Lester Simon, is credited with introducing Omaha Steaks across the US, when he brokered a deal with the Union Pacific Railroad to begin serving Omaha Steaks in the dining cars of their transcontinental trains in the 1940s. Lester Simon hand-selected the meat for the U.P. passenger trains that traveled between Omaha and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. Train passengers who ordered Omaha Steaks in Union Pacific’s dining cars prompted the company to launch its first mail order ventures – magazine ads and direct mail flyers – in 1952. Lester Simon also began shifting Table Supply's focus from a butcher operation to the marketing of fine cuts of meat.
In 1952, the first mail order operation was launched to serve distant customers. The meat was shipped in wax-lined cartons filled with dry ice. It was not until the early 1960s that insulated shipping containers made of polystyrene and vacuum packaging, became available. In 1961, Nebraska Governor Frank B. Morrison sent steaks from Table Supply to President John F. Kennedy and all of the governors in the United States. In that same year, Table Supply was honored to be involved in the Culinary Olympics held in Frankfurt, Germany, at which the United States team won the Grand Gold Prize with a dish that featured aged prime ribs of beef provided by Table Supply, thereby earning an international reputation for the Omaha company. In 1966, when the company moved into its southwest Omaha headquarters at 4400 S. 96th St., the Simon family changed the name from Table Supply Meat Co. to Omaha Steaks International. The company plant remains at that site. The corporate offices are now at 10909 John Galt Blvd. In the 1970s, Omaha Steaks added inbound and outbound call centers and a mail order industry-first toll-free customer service line. An automated order entry system was installed in 1987.
Omaha Steaks opened its first retail store in Omaha in 1976 when 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. Omaha Steaks underwent another expansion phase in the 1980s and 1990s, consolidating administration and marketing in two new buildings. In 1985 the company ventured beyond Nebraska, opening a retail store in Houston. Omaha Steaks now has more than 85 retail stores in 29 states. Another area where Omaha Steaks focused on growing was its corporate sales unit, which it began beefing up in the mid-1990s. Omaha Steaks created a separate corporate catalog that was intended to serve the corporate buyers who were already customers. The effort soon began to pay off for Omaha Steaks. In just two years, the company was able to grow its corporate sales by 50 percent.
Internet marketing 
Omaha Steaks began marketing on the internet in 1990 on CompuServe. Omahasteaks.com, launched in 1995, is the company’s fastest growing business segment. The company became part of the Microsoft Network in 1998. In 2011, Omaha Steaks launched a website for mobile devices and released the Steak Time applications for iPhone and iPad. Steak Time features how-to videos, tips, and recipes.
Tailgating Trademark 
NFL Rookie of the Year (2010) Ndamukong Suh, a defensive tackle with the Detroit Lions, was named as a spokesman of tailgating for the official sponsor of tailgating, Omaha Steaks, in 2010.
Popular Culture 
Omaha Steaks has been either featured or mentioned on the television shows "Good Morning America," the "CBS Early Show," "Oprah," "The View," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "The Dr. Phil Show," "The Rachel Ray Show", "The Larry Sanders Show", "Modern Family", "Live with Regis and Kelly.", and Tosh.0. Also, it has been referenced in the movies DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story and Up in the Air.
In 1997 Fred Simon published The Steak Lover’s Companion, a cookbook co-authored with John Harrisson and Mark Kiffen. It adapted dishes from recipes developed by James Beard, who had been a consultant for many years. Another, Beef For All Seasons, was published the following year. They also teamed for Let's Grill in 2000  and Meat in 2001. In 2000, Omaha Steaks Good Life Cookbook was released. The Great Gathering Guide & Cookbook was released in 2006. It offers basic cooking instructions for The company's products. In 2008, Time Inc. Home Entertainment published Omaha Steaks : The Great American Grilling Book.
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