826: Helping Customers with the Details Helps Margins

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DSRs need to understand that restaurants are a living, breathing business entity that must adapt to ever-changing circumstances and trends. But there are some basic principles that your customers must follow if they want to be in business long-term. A DSR also needs to understand the role they play and the contribution they MUST make to those basic principles in order for both their customer and themselves to make money.

DSR Dave recently visited many customers on his old route and noticed why some were doing really well and why some were struggling to stay in business. He shares his observations from his visits with those customers.

Some of those old customers were doing really well, up 7% last year and up 12% so far this year; yet others were down 5-7% over the last couple years. Why was that?

There are some good indicators of success or indicators of decline in businesses that are pretty standard such as, the windows and doors being clean and fingerprint free, the bathrooms being clean and stocked, and the exterior being inviting. DSRs need to take notice of these indicators every time they go in to their customer’s place of business and share it with them.

Those who were not doing as well were using smaller plates than they used in the past. People want good portions, not smaller, good food at a good value. Customers don’t tell you, they just stop coming in because something isn’t as good as it used to be overall.

The good quality products that we specified long ago are still working. Those who had lowered the quality and changed their specs were not doing as well.

You need to point out to the restaurant the smudges on windows, the need for the fresh paint or cleaner/newer bathrooms. You need to help customers set high quality standards for all the food the purchase, because people come in to eat good food, not cheap food.

Share the good and bad stuff you see in other accounts you have to help your customers with their business. Just because they are in business doesn’t mean they see their own place objectively, so you need to help them.

If your customers are discussing price more than products and their daily operations, you might want to help them by working on the basics.

DSRs, Be a Resource…and Sell Something!