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“The answer is YES, now ask the question,” declares Jared Rideout of Ben E. Keith’s Oklahoma division who is AFDR’s latest inductee into the Hall of Fame as DSR of the Month for April 2015. That is his favorite saying when talking to customers. His attitude is probably a big reason he was nominated.
After graduating from the hotel & restaurant program at Oklahoma State, Mr. Rideout (Mister because he’s writing $20 million) worked as a manager for a couple of different restaurant concepts. He soon decided that he did not want to work until 2 a.m. any longer, but he loved the restaurant business. He was introduced by a friend who worked at Ben E. Keith to “boss man,” Kirk Purnell, and the rest is history.
For 17 years now at Ben E. Keith, Rideout has been steadily growing HIS BUSINESS by being a really good manager for each of his customers. Jared feels like he’s part owner of each of his customer’s business.
Jared thinks that some of the best DSRs have had the experience of being general managers of a restaurant. This is beneficial because they can help with all aspects (both Front and Back of the house) of the customer’s business. He spends a great deal of his time in meetings with his customers going over everything from marketing, staff training, sampling new products, writing menu’s, etc.
He says the role of good DSRs has truly turned into being consultants to their customers.
This DSR of the Month learned after a few years that calling on the Owner of a restaurant had long-term benefits. But calling on owners meant that you had to know what you were talking about when it comes to running a restaurant, and you had better be an expert in foodservice distribution industry. He says that chefs and managers come and go, but owners are usually around long term.
Rideout spends a good deal of his time traveling around his city and to different parts of the country searching for new ideas and concepts for his customers. In many cases, he takes some of his customers along with him so they can see first -hand how others are handling customer service and tasting menu items.
Jared says that you’ve got to build a good relationship with an owner (and know your stuff) so you can tell them the hard truth about things like their food, staff and operations. Developing relationships with owners comes by hanging out where they hang out, like restaurant association and civic functions. You’ve got to be in it to win it!
Hall of Fame advice on this DSRLive audio interview:
- Jared’s favorite saying: The answer is YES, now ask the question…
- Get your customers on ACH pay ASAP to help you with collection anxiety.
- Think of yourself as the best manager each of your customers could hire.
- When you get enough confidence in the business, start dealing with owners.
- Hang out where owners of restaurants hang out.
- Sunday, plan your week and make adjustments each night because stuff happens.
- Review all of your sales dollars every day so you Stay Ahead versus Falling Behind.
Congratulations to Jared and Ben E. Keith – Oklahoma on winning this prestigious award, and keep up the great work!!
DSRs, Be a Resource…and Sell Something!