David Beebe, a project coordinator with The Restaurant Source in Denver, credits perseverance and “operating from a high level of integrity” with helping him achieve the kind of performance that has earned him recognition as FE&S' DSR of the Month.
Beebe came to The Restaurant Source, only the third company for which he has worked, about 12 years ago. He referred to himself as “more the tortoise than the hare because of the way I stick with things.”
Beebe, 52, is a 30-year veteran of the foodservice industry who spent more than two decades working in restaurants. His career began while putting himself through school at Miami University in Miami, Ohio, by working as a fry cook. After graduation, he went on to work for a pair of restaurant groups. Beebe began at a small foodservice operator in Portland, Ore., called Nickel Tours. He spent 141/2 years with McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants, also based in Portland, immediately before coming to The Restaurant Source.
Beebe moved to Denver in 1987 to open up McCormick's Fish House and Bar as its general manager. “As general manager, you've got to do everything. You've got to do the books, you've got to train the staff, so I understand the flow and function of a restaurant, and I understand food,” Beebe explained.
Beebe brings true passion to his work. “I just have a love for it. I am a foodie, and I love to cook. I love to go out and eat and experience new things, and it's fun to try and help teach people how to put some of their dreams together,” he said.
Michael Shotz, The Restaurant Source's president, said Beebe is well-respected and that his previous experience shows he knows how a kitchen works. While that is certainly true, according to Beebe, it's more a process of knowing how chefs' heads work.
“I can get inside the head of the chef and the operator because I spent 20 years in the restaurant business,” Beebe said. “I've done virtually every task and performed at every position inside of a restaurant.”
As Shotz pointed out, Beebe “sells what makes sense for the operator and his application, which is why he has a good following among his customers.” Beebe characterized himself as “not the kind of salesman who could sell ice cream to an Eskimo. I sell customers what they need, and what I think is going to work for them — not just because someone comes by and says, â€˜Hey, we've got a program going on this month.' That's not what drives me. What drives me is trying to help solve [customers'] problems and get them things that are going to work for their operation.”
In 2004, Beebe accounted for between $1.1 million and $1.2 million in sales. For last year, he said, results are harder to figure due to a change in position. “Basically, I was a street salesman in 2005. There were some changes in the company that left a void for someone to handle new kitchen installations. I moved into that position in May, and some of the sales associated with that are not as directly attributed. Formerly, it was all commissions.”
Beebe noted that he has maintained his core accounts since taking his new post. “I've got probably 20 accounts that I deal with on a day-to-day basis,” said Beebe, who estimated they are worth about $400,000 in business annually. “The rest of it is people who want to open up kitchens, and work on the bigger projects.”
Most of his clients are independents because, he said, “I prefer to do negotiated work as opposed to bid work. Also, it's a more intimate involvement. I get to help them develop their ideas.”
Beebe's advice to fellow DSRs? “Stick with it. It takes time to develop a customer base, and that's based on dealing from a high level of integrity, following through and building trust with your customers.