The first time I spoke with Johnny Randazzo III, manager of Johnny's Seafood, it wasn't under ideal circumstances; in fact, it was regarding an 'obviously too-low for January' live crawfish price listed on The Crawfish App for Johnny's Seafood that was miscommunicated between his staff and our call team... and was making many Crawfish App users & his customers angry! The problem was resolved immediately and I was very impressed and relieved with Johnny's attitude towards me— he could have easily been rude and hostile that the app was reflecting the wrong price and causing him grief, but instead he very politely asked us to correct the price and even thanked us for including Johnny's on the app and helping his business grow! When he suggested Johnny's Seafood as the next Vendor Spotlight, I was more than happy to accommodate his request and find out more about this family-run, long-standing seafood business...
Laney: What is your role in the business and where are you from?
Johnny: I am the manager here at Johnny's Seafood, I was born and raised in Marrero on the Westbank and my dad, the owner, is Johnny Randazzo Jr. He was also born and raised in Marrero.
Laney: Whose idea was it to start Johnny's? When did you open and how has the business grown?
Johnny: My grandparents, Johnny and Alice Randazzo, decided to open Johnny's Seafood in May of 1960. My Paw Paw's brothers were in the seafood business and he saw that they were doing well with it so, they decided to make a go of it as well. They opened up in old Algiers on Teche St. and we were at that location for 35 years. In January of 1995, My dad (Johnny Jr.) sold that location and opened up our current location at 5104 Lapalco Blvd in Marrero. The business has evolved in many ways at this location and it continues to do so every year. We have a whole line of prepared foods, which we have been making since we first opened in 1960, but we started doing on-site catering and making boxed lunches so that keeps us extremely busy when the retail slows down.
Laney: Tell me more about your on-site catering services.
Johnny: We started doing on-site catering about 14 or 15 years ago. My dad was a little hesitant about getting into it but I told him "we are missing out on something that can get really big." We bought our first trailer, had a couple large pots made, and started advertising our new services. We had a positive response and people started booking events. The first year we boiled roughly 10,000 lbs. of crawfish on-site, and now it has grown to almost 150,000 lbs. of crawfish each season. The parties range from 300 lbs. of crawfish, which is our minimum on-site order, up to almost 20,000 lbs. We have the capability of doing 30,000 lbs. in one day on-site. In addition, we have a BBQ trailer with fryers and jambalaya kettles to accommodate any needs other than boiled seafood. We also do plate lunches for refineries and chemical plants for their turnarounds which can go from 50 a day to 1500 per day. It gets pretty hectic, but we get it done.
Laney: What are you best known for?
Johnny: I think we are best known for our home-cooked items that we sell in the retail showcase daily. We have 15 cooked food items we prepare and package daily. We are also well-known for our boiled seafood. We have our loyal following and we strive to introduce our products to new customers every day.
Laney: How do you stand out from other crawfish vendors in your area?
Johnny: I think the best thing about Johnny's is our consistent product, competitive pricing, and our honesty with our customers. I would rather be honest with the customer and keep their business, rather than give them a total line of 'BS' and they end up not coming back. Consistency and Honesty = Your customers coming back!
Laney: What is something interesting about you or your business that you want people to know?
Johnny: I love what I do and couldn't see myself doing anything else in this world-- the bigger the catering job, the more fun it is to set them up and make sure everything goes as planned. I love seeing a satisfied customer at the end of the day!
Laney: Do you have any social media sites?
Johnny: Yes, you can search "Johnny's Seafood" to follow us on Facebook and @johnnysseafood on Instagram. We are currently building a new website to show all of our products and services we can provide to everyone.