Abraham Stouffer (7 July, 1875 – 16 October, 1936) – Lena Mahala Bigelow (June 1880 – 8 October, 1953)
Vernon Stouffer (22 August, 1901 – 26 July, 1974)
Gordon Stouffer (1904)
1914 – Abraham and his father James, organized the Medina County Creamery and also opened a dairy stand at Cleveland’s Sheriff Street Market.
1916 – Abraham and Lena move to Lakewood, Ohio to manage the creamery.
1922 – Abraham resigns as the president from the creamery business in Media, Ohio.
1922 – Abraham and Lena began operating one of the creamery’s dairy counters in the Arcade Building in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. They sold milk, buttermilk, cheese sandwiches and offered free crackers. They added coffee to their menu and Lena began selling her homemade deep-dish Dutch apple pies.
1923 – At 22 Vernon graduated from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania and joined his parent’s business.
1924 – With $15,000 the Stouffer’s opened their first restaurant the Stouffer Lunch at 2030 East 9th Street on the corner Euclid Avenue in the Cleveland Citizens Building. The restaurant’s menu featured four sandwiches priced from 20 to 25 cents. They incorporated as Stouffer Lunch Systems.
1929 – at 25 Gordon Stouffer joined the business and they expanded the restaurants to Detroit and Pittsburgh.
1929 – The Stouffers went public, founding Stouffer Corporation.
1935 – Open sixth restaurant (net $83,000 on yearly sales of $2,037,000)
1936 – Abraham Stouffer passes away.
1937 – First New York City restaurant opens
1940 – Stouffer’s netted $418,000 profit on $5,012,000 gross.
1946 – Opened its first suburban restaurant in Cleveland’s Shaker Square neighborhood. Customers began asking manager Wally Blankinship to freeze menu items so they could enjoy them at home. He started selling the frozen meals as a separate business called the 227 Club.
1954 – Built a pilot processing plant in downtown Cleveland.
1956 – The company was officially named Stouffer Foods Corporation.
1958 – Opens restaurants at the Tisman Building located at 666 5th Avenue in New York City one on the 1st & below-street levels, the other on the 39th floor, at the time the highest public restaurant in N.Y.
1960 – Stouffer made its first venture into the hotel business with the purchase of Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s Anacapri Inn. The company now had three divisions: Stouffer Hotel Corporation, Stouffer Foods Corporation, and Stouffer Restaurant Corporation.
1966 – Vernon bought the Cleveland Indians
1967 – All three Stouffers divisions sold to Litton Industries
1968 – Constructed a highly automated and modernized frozen food plant on a 42-acre site in Solon, Ohio, just south of Cleveland.
1969 – NASA chooses Stouffer’s products to feed Apollo 11, 12, and 14 astronauts while in quarantine after their history-making space voyages leading to the tag line, “Everybody who’s been to the moon is eating Stouffer’s.”
1972 – Vernon sold the Cleveland Indians to Nick Mileti
1973 – Litton Industries sells Stouffer Hotel Corporation, Stouffer Foods Corporation, and Stouffer Restaurant Corporation to Nestle.
1974 – The Stouffer Cookbook Great American Food and Drink cookbook is published.
1974 – Vernon Stouffer (age 72) passes away from a heart attack.
1982 – Stouffer launched their Lean Cuisine line with a 24-page booklet entitled “On the Way to Being Lean,” and a national tour by nutritionists supporting the product. More than 300,000 copies of the booklet were sold and Lean Cuisine did $125 million in sales its first year.
1984 – Lean Cuisine overtook predecessor Weight Watchers’ frozen entrees, outselling the competitor three-to-one and capturing almost half of the American frozen entree market.
1987 – Right Course (low-fat, low-cholesterol) meals were introduced to compete with other frozen food offernings from Kraft, Healthy Choice, etc.
1989 – Right Course is discontinued.
1990 – Stouffer Hotel Corporation and Stouffer Restaurant Corporation merge to form the Stouffer Hospitality Group.
1992 – Vernon Stouffer was posthumously inducted into the National Frozen Food Association Frozen Food Hall of Fame.
1993 – Stouffer Hospitality Group sold to large hotel chain, Hong-Kong based New World Development Co. Directed by billionaire Cheng Yu-Tung (which also ran Renaissance and Ramada International) for a reported $1.5 billion.
Gordon realized that, to attain chain status, the Stouffer restaurants’ menus, decor, and ambiance should coordinate. He therefore promoted standard uniforms for waitresses–or “Stouffer Girls” as he called them–and launched the slogan, “Everybody is somebody at Stouffers.”
The evolution of Stouffer’s frozen foods from a restaurant atmosphere strongly influenced their development. Packaging, for example, focused on entrees, rather than entire meals. And without the concept of mass production driving the business, Stouffer’s dishes differed from normal frozen fare in their high quality and abundance of meat and vegetables. The products introduced a premium segment to the frozen food market.
The restaurant group launched its “top” restaurants in the 1960s. These eateries were located atop skyscrapers in major cities, combining fine dining with a view of the city. By 1973, there were six such restaurants around America.
By the 1980s, the Stouffer Hotel Company had grown into a loose chain of 19 Midwest hotels with $80 million in annual revenues. But unlike Stouffer’s other two divisions, the hotel group’s image had deteriorated. In 1981, former hotel busboy and ex-Marine William Hulett was appointed to the presidency of the hotel group. Hulett embarked on a revitalization of the hotel chain by terminating its franchising program and liquidating seven struggling franchised holdings. He then began a decade-long acquisitions spree that brought several prestigious hotels into the Stouffer group, including: Washington, D.C.’s Mayflower in 1981, the Waiohai Beach Resort in 1983, the Stanford Court in 1989, and Tampa Bay’s historic Vinoy Park Hotel in 1990.
Despite an industry-wide surplus of hotel rooms, Stouffer’s Hotel division continued to grow under Hulett’s direction. By the end of the 1980s, the chain bought the seven-unit Presidente Hotel chain in Mexico, adding to its assembly of resorts in the Caribbean and Hawaii. The hotel group had expanded to number 41 award-winning properties by 1990, with revenues of almost $600 million.
In the early 1990s, Hulett continued to develop Stouffer’s hotel group, expanding its holdings in Mexico, the Virgin Islands, and the United States. And when other hotel chains announced rate cuts in the early 1990s, Hulett released nationwide advertisements touting the higher quality and value of Stouffer’s accommodations. By 1993, the group’s hotels and resorts had, in Hulett’s words, “won virtually every major award the travel industry has to offer.” For Hulett, premium offers like butler service, exclusive amenities, and exceptional dining justified Stouffer’s higher prices.
1955 Menu- Stouffer’s Restaurant- Menu has the American Flag on the front. Inside is the dinner menu, dated Saturday, July 2, 1955. The menu has their featured dinner as Roast Sirloin of Beef, Potatoes, Squash, Roll, Apricot Chiffon Pie and Coffee, Tea or Milk for $1.80. All other dinners range in price from $1.00 to $1.95 for the Tenderloin steak. Stouffers was located in New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Cleveland, Chicago & Minneapolis. Menu measures 9 1/4 X 6 1/4 inches and folds out to the dinner menu with the restaurant locations on the back cover. Nice condition with minor staining
How they do it is less a mystery than a knack. Typical of Stouffer’s is its five-story restaurant on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue — dignified grey colonial brick front, tasteful Williamsburg interior decorations. Average lunch check is 60¢, dinner 91¢. Profit works out to 4.2¢ a meal. Food (all portions carefully measured) not only is good but looks good. The chain also goes in for comely waitresses — referred to only as “Stouffer girls.” Stouffer’s prefers them not too beautiful, with a touch of Bryn Mawr. Some of them have made as much as $75 a week with tips. Of 40 (male) restaurant managers, all are college graduates; twelve were trained in Cornell’s famed Hotel Administration course. The cooks are all women. Menus are uniform throughout the country, all stemming from the experimental kitchen in Cleve land where Mother Stouffer and the boys keep poking around.
Since Father Stouffer died, the boys and their mother have held 85% of the stock. Bankers have repeatedly urged the boys to sell part of their share holdings to the public. Real-estate men advised against their opening on Fifth Avenue, on Manhattan’s Pershing Square (where four restaurants, all of whose names began with S, had previously failed). Stouffer restaurants at both places are a success. In Cleveland, Vernon and Gordon’s intrepidity won them a name for gangbusting. When shakedown artists Campbell and McGee terrorized Cleveland businessmen (TIME, March 21, 1938), Safety Director Eliot Ness begged for cooperation. Of all the merchants in Cleveland, only the Stouffer boys came forward. Their testimony helped send Campbell & McGee to jail.
List of Restaurants:
Stouffer’s Lunch – Cleveland Ohio (East Ninth Street downtown, opened in 1924)
Stouffer’s Restaurant – Cleveland, Ohio (3211 Westgate, Cleveland, OH 44126)
Stouffer’s Restaurant – Cleveland, Ohio (13215 Shaker Square, Cleveland, OH 44120)
Eastland Shopping Center Stouffer’s Restaurant – Harper Woods, Michigan (opened in 1957, 18000 Vernier Road, Harper Woods, MI 48225)
Stouffer’s Restaurant – Cocoa Beach (4001 North Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931)
Stouffer’s Restaurant – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Chestnut Street, opened in 1959)
Stouffer’s Restaurant – New York City, New York (Forty-fifth Street and Fifth Avenue)
Stouffer’s Restaurant – Atlanta, Georgia (244 Perimeter Center Pkwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30346)
Stouffer’s Restaurant – Jenkintown, Pennsylvania
Stouffer’s Restaurant – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (28 Craig Court, Pittsburgh, PA 15228, opened in 1958)
The Cheese Cellar New York
The Cheese Cellar Philadelphia
The Cheese Cellar Cleveland
The Cheese Cellar Pittsburgh (7 Station Square Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15203)
Pier W. – Cleveland, Ohio (12700 Lake Avenue, Lakewood, OH 44107, opened in May, 1965)
Roxy Bar & Grill – Cleveland, Ohio
Chicago Bar & Grill – Cleveland, Ohio
Rusty Scupper – Cleveland, Ohio
Parker’s Lighthouse – Cleveland, Ohio
James Tavern – Cleveland, Ohio
Top of the Hub – Boston, Massachusetts (800 Boylston Street, 52nd Floor, Boston, MA 02199)
Top of the Sixes – New York City, New York
Top of the Flame – Detroit, Michigan
Top of the Town – Cleveland, Ohio (Erieview Tower in downtown Cleveland)
List of Hotels:
Esmeralda Stouffer’s Hotel – Indian Wells, California (44400 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells, CA 92210, 550 rooms)
Stouffer’s Hotel – Dayton, Ohio (33 East Fifth Street, Dayton, OH 45402)
Stouffer’s Cincinnati Towers – Cincinnati, Ohio (Opening in 1968 at 5th and Elm Street)
Stouffer’s Hotel – St. Louis, Missouri
Stouffer’s Hotel – Crystal City, Virginia (2399 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202)
Stouffer’s Hotel – Nashville, Tennessee
Stouffer’s Five Seasons Hotel – Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Stouffer’s Inn – Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Stouffer Battle Creek Hotel – Battle Creek, Michigan (50 Capital Avenue SW, Battle Creek, MI 49017)
Stouffer’s Hotel – Indianapolis, Indiana (2820 N. Meridian St. Indianapolis, IN 46208)
Stouffer’s Northland Hotel – Southfield, Michigan
Stouffer Valley Forge Hotel – King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (opened in 1973)
Stouffer Greenway Plaza Hotel – Houston, Texas (opened in 1967)
Stouffer’s Hotel – White Plains, NY
Stouffer Renaissance Westchester – White Plains, NY (80 West Red Oak Lane, White Plains, NY 10604, 364 Rooms)
Stouffer Bedford Glen Hotel – Bedford, MA (44 Middlesex Turnpike, Bedford, MA 01730)
The Stouffer Riviere – Chicago, Illinois (565 rooms, 27-stories, opened in 1991)
Stouffer’s Hotel – Austin, Texas
Stouffer Concourse Hotel – Los Angeles, California (5400 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045, opened in 1986, 750 rooms, 24th hotel in chain)
Stouffer’s Hotel – Tucson, Arizona (500 rooms, opened in 1988)
Stouffer’s Hotel – Washington DC (1127 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC, DC 20036)
The Hamilton Stouffer Hotel – Itasca, Illinois (400 Park Boulevard, Itasca, IL 60143)
Stouffer’s Hotel Cobb Galleria – Atlanta, Georgia (2762 Cobb Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30339)
Stouffer’s Hotel Lake Lanier – Sugar Hill, Georgia (Hotel Road, Sugar Hill, GA 30518)