1028: Insights from DSR Hall of Famer, John Powell

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DSRs might want to practice being HUMBLE when dealing with Independent Operators because many Operators think they know ” all things foodservice

Insights John Powell has learned along the way:

  • Have to empathize with the customer, by understanding where they have been and where they want to go. You can’t come across as head strong or a know-it-all to the customer. You have to pose questions, give ideas, and humble yourself before the customer. Give specific pointers to help them understand the difference in quality, and do so in a humble manner, so they are willing to learn a lot from you.
  • It’s amazing how many questions you can ask them when trying to determine the right product.
  • If you can show them how much money in black and white they can make on a dish by figuring an item cost and sides cost versus a case cost… asking if that is more or less than they are making on other dishes… Then this can really open their eyes.
  • He’s found that only 1-2 customers out of 10 really understand how to figure the profit per item.
  • Be the go-to-guy and let them know you can work on plate costs and on menu analysis, and also offer to come in on a Friday to help with those things.
  • Go in the back door and out the front door and talk to dishwashers, cooks, busboys, and servers. Respect everybody all the time because you never know who is going to be your next customer.
  • 30-35 % of his book of business is in the Hispanic segment so he concentrates on that segment.
  • Your book of accounts should have a little bit of everything, but it’s a good idea to focus in on one segment and learn everything you can about it, then go to market.
  • Opening new accounts hasn’t changed much. It is repetition, gleaning what you can, looking in dumpsters, etc.
  • If you embrace technology, you can gain a whole lot more knowledge than in the past through Yelp reviews, websites, health department reports, etc.
  • People don’t trust you until they see you over and over again — some sense of reliability.
  • John doesn’t just drop a business card. He leaves a brief resume with an introduction of himself, what his company does, and his background and experience. This sets him apart from other competitors. He says, “I’d like to save you time, make money and grow your profits.”
  • Greenhorn advice: Keep learning, pay attention to what’s going on in the industry, be the source and the expert for your customers, and keep up with the trends because things are always changing.

DSRs, Be a Resource…and Sell Something!