State Restaurant Equipment Company
State Restaurant Equipment Company (SRE) has been in the hospitality business in the entertainment capitol of the world for over four decades. “My parents started State Restaurant with my uncles in 1967,” recalls Scott Miller, the current president and CEO of SRE who started working for the family business in the warehouse when he was 14, and has been running the business for about 36 years now. SRE provides kitchen equipment and supplies, specializing in tabletop items such as glassware, china, and flatware. The Las Vegas, Nev.-based company’s clients include every major resort in Las Vegas, Laughlin, Primm and Mesquite.
SRE employs around 35 people. While most of the staff’s activity comes from the gaming industry in its hometown, SRE has worked with new restaurants and casinos around the country. “Our company is very unique,” says Miller. “We’re well-respected as one of the top suppliers in our industry.”
Miller’s team of salespeople takes professionalism seriously and navigates the sales floor in suits and ties. Often SRE’s agents deal directly with companies’ executive-level vice presidents, and the company’s knowledge and catalog is reinforced through membership in the SEFA Inc. network of manufacturers and dealers.
Creating a Memorable Atmosphere
The company offers a vast catalog of supplies. The team at SRE works side by side with restaurant and hotel executives to put together the kitchen smallware package, along with design of the tabletop, working from the ground up in facilities that are being both remodeled and newly constructed. Clients have access to an impressively stocked showroom and can get the experience of high-end tabletop designers.
SRE offers tabletop furnishings in a vast selection of styles and finishes. Although the company does not offer layout and design functions, it is able to furnish an entire kitchen – from prep surfaces and pan racks to fryers and convection ovens. SRE even offers chef jackets and oven mitts. Tabletop serving accessories abound, from steak knives to martini glasses. The team at SRE performs full staging in its facilities so that clients can mix and match to build the perfect atmosphere for a new project or a renovation.
These extensive foodservice equipment and supply capabilities have garnered the company an impressive list of loyal client. Miller says, “We’ve worked with just about every casino in Vegas.” These enormous clients include the renowned Venetian, Wynn and MGM Resorts International properties, among many others. At the end of 2010 SRE facilitated the complete smallwares and tabletop opening package for the new Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which includes over a dozen restaurants and several room-service kitchens.
“Most companies in this field are opening restaurants,” Miller explains. “They do the same kind of distribution, they do the staging, but one restaurant isn’t huge. We’re opening an entire casino by ourselves. That’s a lot of product, in fact, truckloads and truckloads of it.”
As far as truckloads go, SRE owns eight full-sized delivery truck and after the design phase of the Cosmopolitan was completed SRE was delivering five loads per night for a month straight, says Miller. There were challenges, of course, as the Cosmopolitan had limited receiving and storage areas. SRE’s showroom and warehouse covers 60,000 square feet and the company had to rent out an additional 30,000-square foot building down the street for staging and storage during the project. “We’ve created a format that works very well for us,” Miller says. “No one else does what we do.”
A City with Two Economies
Even with its presence as a preferred strategic partner in a unique market, SRE has had to content with the trials recently facing the entire country. Las Vegas has been known in the past as the country’s only recession-proof city. However, Miller confirms that during the most recent recession it wasn’t. “This city is very unique, however, because we have the gaming economy and the local economy,” says Miller.
The local economy has taken some major hits and Las Vegas is reporting the highest percentage of home foreclosures in the country. Meanwhile, the gaming economy relies on the national economy, and when Americans don’t have money, they don’t go to Vegas. In response to the last few years, SRE saw day-to-day sales decline by 30 percent as many of the casinos and resorts put off renovations or new building projects. A few big opening projects, like the Cosmopolitan and Project City Center (MGM), have held SRE over through tough times, however, and while the local economy is still troubled in Vegas the national economy is starting to bounce back.
“We don’t have any more major projects slated right now, but the hotels are starting to loosen up a bit,” says Miller. “There are some renovations on the horizon. We’ve seen a few changes, but nothing major. Right now we’re seeing a gradual increase in day-to-day volume.” The local economy doesn’t weigh heavily on SRE’s operations, and as Americans start heading to the city more and more, SRE is reeling in more business.
Miller is not one to wait for things to improve on their own, however, and he is always looking for opportunities to grow as a business. SRE has recently dipped its toes into an expanded line of products. “We’ve started doing high-end disposables,” says Miller. “We’ve done okay with it, but really it’s nothing that’s going to create a new segment of the business. We’re always trying to expand our offering a bit here and there, though.”
SRE works hand in hand with the gaming industry, and is the only company with the capabilities to fully serve the volume required by the major casinos in Nevada. The company has a longstanding track record of quality, service, value and strong business ethics, because Miller and his family have built the business on the foundation of the best-trained personnel in the industry. State Restaurant Equipment Company is and will continue to be dedicated to providing clients with knowledgeable salespeople, quality products and competitive pricing.