After working for 14 years for a Northern California equipment dealer, Christine Stubbles joined Myers Restaurant Supply. She worked her way up from customer service and field sales support to become a foodservice equipment specialist. “When it comes to employers, I don’t move around a lot,” she says.
FE&S: Describe your approach to serving customers. What experience do you want them to have when working with you?
CS: In this industry, I’ve learned that people just want to be taken care of, and that’s my focus. For example, I have a pizza chain client that uses a couple items not acquirable through our regular venders, so I purchase these through a high-end retailer instead. For another client, I typically shop for items online. Whatever it is they need, I’ll go to great lengths to get it. Also, no matter where a restaurant opening is, I’ll fly there to check in every smallwares item. I pride myself on providing full service and being on site for everything.
FE&S: When an operation opens for the first time, what does it take to get the equipment and smallwares package done correctly?
CS: It takes a great deal, and I’m fortunate to have a great team and support staff behind me. Mistakes are inevitable in this business, but what sets you apart is how these
errors are fixed. There was an instance where a client needed a back-ordered item right away, and we had a similar one in stock that helped them get through training and their first week in business. I know I can call the office and have replacement items shipped overnight, but it’s a matter of keeping on top of it and providing the best service possible 24/7.
FE&S: What goes into a good tabletop installation?
CS: Good tabletop installation is about knowing what the customer wants, their budget, the timeline and obviously aesthetics. It’s important to listen to the customer without pushing them toward anything. The key is to know what they want.
FE&S: Describe your approach to working with other members of the supply chain, such as reps. And how does working with them help serve operators better?
CS: I depend heavily on the vendors and have a particular rep I work with that has a showroom. I prefer to make appointments with smallwares vendors and create a package deal rather than order samples from all over the country and try coordinating pieces that way. Vendors have a wealth of knowledge, which isn’t always the case when dealing with one person. Also, it helps me be more thorough and save time, since I don’t have to play the middleman. It’s easier to hook up a rep directly with customers so they get their
questions answered more expeditiously.
FE&S: How do you keep your product knowledge current?
CS: I stay in touch with the reps. Many times, customers are looking for an odd item I’m not familiar with, and during my search I’ll typically come across 10 products other clients are looking for. Research is a learning process in and of itself.