Nick Portillo shares with you the things he has learned on his own journey of building a successful business in the food service industry.
Plating Success: Sales Training Expert, Chris Jennings on Sales Mastery in Foodservice
In this episode of the Titans of Foodservice podcast, host Nick Portillo speaks with Chris Jennings, a sales training expert with over 30 years of experience. Chris believes in creating better conversations and win-win relationships. Chris talks about the importance of being authentic and relatable when talking to customers and encourages salespeople to ask for referrals and introductions, as they can significantly contribute to business growth. Chris shares why salespeople should focus on asking the right questions and understanding the customer's needs. Chris also discusses his book, "Conversations Made Easy," and provides practical tips and strategies for improving sales conversations and achieving better results.
"I'm huge on referrals. If you're not asking your customers for a referral or introduction, at least 80% of the time, you're selling yourself short and you're not getting introduced to other people." -Chris Jennings [13:35]
“What happens a lot in our industry is we're making a presentation to a distributor salesforce, and maybe at any time, you're talking to 20 people, and there's anxiety and fear around public speaking.” -Nick Portillo [16:22]
[00:39] Introduction to guest Chris Jennings
[02:22] Fiery Five Food Service Questions
[09:44] Tips for opening up conversations and creating referrals
[13:27] Importance of asking for referrals and introductions
[16:14] Overcoming anxiety and fear in public speaking
[23:57] Reasons for low conversion rates: rushing, wrong questions, missing stakeholders
[23:57] The three reasons conversations fail: rushing, wrong questions, missing person
[24:29] How to ask better questions: care, go beyond product
[28:06] Overview of the book "Conversations Made Easy"
[32:01] Success doesn't mean working yourself to the bone
From Chaos to Cohesion: Margie Oleson's Guide to Leading High-Performing Teams
In this episode of the Titans of Foodservice podcast, host Nick Portillo speaks with executive coach and organizational development expert Margie Oleson. Margie shares her insights on transforming leadership teams and building high-performing organizations. She emphasizes the importance of teamwork and clarity in achieving success and offers practical advice for leaders to improve their team dynamics. Margie also discusses the power of assessments, such as DISC and Working Genius, in understanding individual strengths and building cohesive teams. Overall, Margie's expertise provides valuable guidance for leaders looking to create a positive work environment and drive financial success.
"There should not be gossiping or complaining. If I'm a leader at the top and I have a leadership team, they shouldn't be gossiping or complaining about each other. They shouldn't go back to their teams and say, oh, no, we're fine. This is why we start with teamwork. All of that is undermining all of the other work that they're trying to do. It's undermining their meetings. It's undermining their ability to be quick and change direction if need to." -Margie Oleson [11:12]
“Sometimes you have the right people that are in the wrong seats and vice versa.” -Nick Portillo [19:57]
[01:00] Guest Margie Olson specializes in turning around leadership teams
[09:48] The core four pillars: teamwork, clarity, alignment, and accountability
[11:35 | The importance of teamwork and its impact on organizations.
[14:40 | The need for intentional leadership development and teaming.
[16:54 | The role of clarity in successful teams.
[20:13 | The use of assessments in team development.
[21:34 | The "Working Genius" assessment.
[27:39 | Using the working geniuses assessment during the hiring process
[29:16 | The need for better onboarding practices
[33:45 | Margie shares advice she would give her past self as a student
From Kitchen Dreams to Corporate Success: Jordano's Foodservice VP & GM, Patrick Day on Succeeding in Foodservice Sales
In this episode of the Titans of Foodservice podcast, host Nick Portillo speaks with Patrick Day, Vice President and General Manager at Giordano's Food Service. Patrick shares his journey from owning and running restaurants to becoming a top sales rep at Cisco and eventually landing his current role at Giordano's. He emphasizes the importance of understanding how things work in the food service industry and building relationships with customers. Patrick also discusses the trends of sustainability and organic food, as well as the qualities he looks for when hiring sales professionals.
"You can't do it all, even though you want to pay the bills, hire the people get the vendors, the whole nine yards. As an owner-operator, it's very difficult to do everything, and you have to figure out how to delegate some of that stuff to other people that you trust." -Patrick Day [17:10]
“Years ago when I first got into the business, I drove down to San Diego, and I was visiting the Hard Rock Cafe. I was showing a canned tuna product. I remember I put on my gloves to do a cutting with the chef, and I had a little hand can opener, started opening it up, and cut my thumb. Blood went all into the tuna. I remember looking at the chef and saying: I'm probably not getting the sale today. And she said: No, not today.” -Nick Portillo [22:28]
|00:02] Patrick Day and his experience in the food service industry
[2:01] Fiery Five Food Service Questions
[07:03] Food trends in Southern California: sustainability and organic
[10:08] Characteristics to look for in food service sales professionals
[12:30] Consultative selling and being a partner to customers
[15:44] Learning the importance of delegation
[20:37] Jordano's history and transition from grocery stores to distribution
[23:09] Patrick Day's management style
[24:31] Advice for success in the food service industry
[26:41] Building relationships and earning trust in sales
Culinary Craft: Building Profitable Menus with Barb Colucci, Corporate Executive Chef of Del Taco
In this episode of the Titans of Foodservice podcast, host Nick Portillo speaks with Barb Colucci, Corporate Executive Chef of Del Taco, a culinary trailblazer with a remarkable journey in the food service industry. Barb's expertise spans across full service restaurants, quick service restaurants, and manufacturing. She has worked with renowned brands and has left her mark through her commitment to culinary excellence and innovation. The conversation covers topics such as Barb's favorite Halloween candies, her dream dinner guests, her love for fresh pasta, and her passion for unique food combinations. Barb also shares insights into her work as a consultant and the process of developing menu items for chains like Del Taco and Shakey's.
"Chefs are salesmen because they always want to sell you what they're making. No matter what it is, it doesn't matter who. It could be leadership. It could be a customer." -Barb Colucci [19:31]
“I mentor a lot of kids in high schools. They always ask me, why are you still in this business so long? And I go, because I wake up every day and I think about food. I love what I do. There are hard days. There are difficult days, but then there are really great days. This is why I'm in this business.” -Barb Colucci [22:28]
01:47 | Chef Barb's expertise in culinary excellence and innovation
05:34 | One dish from traveling that more people should know about
10:11 | Notable menu items from Del Taco and Shakey's
18:25 | Transferable skills and experiences in working with different chains
25:49 | Reflections on career successes, failures, and funny moments
28:46 | Barb emphasizes the importance of passion and hard work
Finding Your Brand's North Star: A Conversation with StarryEyed Strategy's Founder, Liz Seelye
In this episode of the Titans of Foodservice podcast, host Nick Portillo speaks with Liz Seelye, founder and Brand Wayfinder of StarryEyed Strategy, a global insights, strategy, design, and activation consultancy in the food service industry. Liz shares her journey in the food service industry and her passion for helping food brands define their purpose and create meaningful connections with their customers. She discusses the importance of sustainability in the industry and predicts the rise of personalized dining experiences. Liz also talks about her favorite food trends and innovative restaurant concepts and offers advice for entrepreneurs and food service brands.
"Now that we are moving away from plant-based everything and even some are predicting the return of dairy milk, I think it would be more the personalization component. Now that we understand how people with different body types or metabolism types could eat, I think it would be cool to say, what could that ultra-personalized meal be and how do you make it?" -Liz Seelye [08:43]
“Envisioning that whole brand experience, and a lot of times, we will finish the positioning and then we'll move into, now, what does this mean for brand identity? What about the logo, website design, packaging, and menu strategy? So it's thinking holistically about it. And we like to say stay starry-eyed because you're envisioning what is the future and what's your place in it so that you can be helpful and the preferred option for guests?” -Liz Seelye [21:07]
02:34 | Introduction of Liz Seelye, founder of StarryEyed
08:43 | Prediction for the next food service trend: personalization |
15:55 | Liz Sealy's background and founding of Starry Eyed strategy
21:48 | Blind spots and common pitfalls for brands
26:02 | Seasonal menus and planning LTOs for restaurants
30:57 | How foodservice marketing lags behind other industries
36:31 | Internships and talking to consumers
38:07 | Contact Liz Seelye
From Family Business to Industry Titan: Rising to the Top of Foodservice Brokerage with Taylor Crown, past President of Acosta
In this episode of the Titans of Foodservice podcast, host Nick Portillo speaks with Taylor Crown, past President of Acosta. Taylor started his career working alongside his father in their family-owned food service brokerage, Buzz Crown Enterprises. Taylor shares his remarkable journey in the food service industry and his journey to becoming the President of Acosta Food Service. He discusses how the food service industry has undergone significant changes, including the nationalization of food service agencies and consolidation in various parts of the value chain, and valuable insights into the evolving nature of the industry.
"Ultimately clients in our industry are always kind of searching for what is my ideal go-to-market strategy and what is the mix of kind of a direct versus an agency salesforce, what are the appropriate mix of resources against channels and segments and products, and so forth. So I would expect that evolution to continue." -Taylor Crown[18:56]
“Being confident enough or at least self-aware enough to say: ‘What would I do differently? How would I adjust? What were sort of the failure points in the relationship? Did a competitor think about it differently than I did? And I think that's a crucial part of just how you evolve as a small business owner.” -Taylor Crown [24:43]
[03:41] Taylor's family background in the industry and his start in college
[10:28] Learning from his father's success in the industry
[13:02] Selling the business
[18:16] Factors driving industry consolidation
[25:11] Reflecting on and learning from client losses
[29:03] Transitioning from the manufacturer side to the brokerage business
[34:59] The spectrum of knowing what to do in a career
[38:30] Learning lessons later that could have been applied earlier
[40:02] The difference between a client and a customer
[40:52] Importance of aligning with the client's mission