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Family Business: Deen Meats celebrates 70 years

🕐 2 min read

Deen Meats & Cooked Foods

813 E. Northside Drive

Fort Worth

The Deen family has been in Fort Worth for generations and in the meat business for much of that time.

F. Edgar Deen served the city as mayor for six years, from 1947 to 1951 and again from 1953 to 1955. Deen was also a sales manager with Armour Meat Packing before the famous plant closed in 1962. His son, George Deen, was a B-17 navigator during World War II and started Deen Meats upon his return home in 1946.

Dean Meats and Cooked Foods is still a family-owned and family-run business. Danny Deen is president and brother Craig Deen is vice president of sales. Their mother, Nancy Deen, is still an owner of the company, and Craig’s nephew Matthew Deen is vice president and CFO. That makes three generations who are now in the company’s leadership. The company reported revenues of $33 million in 2015.

The company has gained a reputation for producing quality products.

Fort its first 50 years, Deen sold only raw meat. The business model changed dramatically when it began selling cooked meats in 1997. “There is a big market for cooked foods,” said Craig Deen. “We purchased Double L Chili Co. in 1996 and began growing the business by adding cooked meats to our strategy. Our sales have quadrupled since then.”

The primary focus is now on custom preparations for restaurants. Deen Meats specializes in research and recipe development. “We either prepare the meats based on recipes provided to us, or in many cases we work directly with restaurants on their recipe development,” he said. “Restaurants depend on our high standards (USDA and HACCP compliance) to maintain not only the consistency of their menu items (so they taste the same in Texas as they do in other parts of the country), but even more importantly, the safety of them. In other words, they trust us to keep them off the front page of the paper.”

Craig Deen grew up in the business and has worked in every part of the operation.

“I began making boxes and washing trucks. But when I nearly cut my finger off in the boning department, they had to move me to a different area,” he said. He found his niche in sales and has focused on the company’s rapid expansion since adding cooked meat products to its roster.

Deen Meats’ 30,000-square-foot facility, located on Northside Drive, has oven-cooking and kettle-cooking capabilities. Every aspect of the process operates under continuous inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. The USDA testing lab is located directly across the street. Deen can ensure consistent quality through its constant monitoring of net weight, temperature and moisture and fat-to-lean content of its products.

The company custom marinades and cooks beef and chicken that is then shipped through distributors. “We are a custom manufacturer, not a delivery business,” said Craig Deen.

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