- Ramni, King Knish
Ramni's is a familiar story around the Kiva HQ. Many of our staff have been fortunate enough to meet him in person, and his delicious knish regularly show up at office events. His knish are surprising - both innovative and comforting, and rarely come without a lesson in Yiddish, Jewish culture, or life in general. While running a food and catering business in San Francisco is not without its challenges, Ramni's tenacity and passion for his product are evidence that success will find anyone who is willing to work for it.
On his values in business:
All of our food is baked fresh daily, number one. The only machines we use are: the stovetop for heating, for boiling water; and a convection oven. Everything else is done by hand. Everything. When I say that integrity is important to the business, I really mean it.
On customer service that goes beyond a transaction:
I don’t sell only food. One of the beauties of this work is that I have been able to educate. I have done tutoring my whole life, from bar mitzvah tutoring to special education, and I have taught many people over my life. My parents - my father was a rabbi, my mother was an entrepreneur - so I had a very smart family, except for me, of course (laughs). When people come by, I’m more likely to educate them; to tell them what is a knish if they have never heard of one, for instance. And I tell them about being organic, or being kosher but not kosher-certified, because otherwise they just take one, say “Oh my god!” and then leave.
So, am I rich? Will I ever be rich? I don’t even think that is in the picture. What will come my way will come my way. I believe I am rich by the mere fact that people have the chance to love our product. We sell here at the Ferry Building, and a first time customer - they can be in the back part of the Ferry Building market, they will come all the way around to say: “You’ve made an impression on me, I’ve never tasted anything so wonderful.” And that’s wealth. That is something you cannot buy. That is something that comes from the heart, and our food is made from the heart.
Kiva U.S. Stories is a space to share and enjoy the moving, the funny, the inspiring, stories that come from every corner of the Kiva U.S. community.