Robert A. “Bobby” Hatoff (1943–2012)

The Hatoff family has a strong legacy in the meat industry spanning four generations, and during his tenure, Bobby Hatoff proved to be a gentle leader with a powerful vision for both his company and his industry.

Since the early 1980s Bobby had led Allen Brothers, which originated in Chicago’s historic Union Stockyards 112 years ago and has become a leading supplier of USDA Prime beef to the nation’s top steakhouses and restaurants. Hatoff was a pioneer of portion control and guided Allen Brothers toward the Prime and high-Choice foodservice market.

Hatoff, working closely with his son Todd in recent years, was instrumental in helping to position Allen Brothers as one of the nation’s leading meat purveyors. In addition to being a high-end supplier to fine dining establishments, the Hatoffs pursued the consumer-direct market for dry-aged and wet-aged steaks. They implemented and drove innovative marketing tactics, and their uncompromising product standards have made the Allen Brothers brand name synonymous with consistently high quality.

Capitalizing on their excellent relationships with independent restaurateurs and renowned chefs, the Hatoffs invited their steakhouse customers to be a part of a marketing campaign. Those who provided their brand names, logos and testimonials gave credibility to the initiative. The company then launched a direct mail campaign, telling customers that if they enjoyed the steaks at some of the nation’s top steakhouses they could now enjoy those same steaks at home as well, via mail order. With that, Allen Brothers’ adopted the tagline, “The Great Steakhouse Steaks.”

In addition to his stewardship of Allen Brothers, Bobby was involved with meat industry groups as a longtime member of both the National Meat Association (NMA) and the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP). While serving as President of NAMP, Bobby was instrumental in facilitating the merger of these two organizations earlier this year, effectively unifying and strengthening the ability to provide greater levels of support to the industry in the areas of regulation, legislation, food safety, science and other key issues. Years earlier, Hatoff played another influential role, as a member of the NAMP committee that updated a foodservice “bible”: the Meat Buyers Guide.

SERVICE/AWARDS

Bobby Hatoff was a hands-on kind of guy, as evidenced by his involvement in culinary associations and numerous Chicago-area charities and community organizations. Hatoff was also an Honorary Fellow of the American Culinary Federation; a member of Les Amis d’Escoffier Society of Chicago, the Chicago Chefs Association and the Illinois Restaurant Association; and a two-time sponsor of the Culinary Olympics.

Hatoff worked tirelessly to help those less fortunate than himself. He supported the Chicago Police Department Memorial Foundation, the Chicago Fire Department Burn Unit, the Jewish United Fund along with dozens of other civic and charitable organizations too numerous to name. Hatoff also served our country as a member of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces from 1962 to 1968. Bobby’s dedicated service to his country and his community even earned him a Papal Blessing from John Paul II.