Even though Nick Goldring has been with Culinary Depot for eight years, now serving as the company’s New York sales rep, he still considers himself to be a “junior in the industry.”
“This was my first responsible job, as I was 21 when I joined the company,” Goldring says. “I couldn’t distinguish a fryer from a convection oven.” Despite knowing nothing about the industry, Goldring knew this was a career with a lot of growth potential. “I wanted a job with different challenges and that would be exciting,” he says.
Although he admits to being somewhat intimidated initially, Goldring has since built a successful roster of clients. Roughly two thirds of his business comes from healthcare foodservice operators, with the remainder coming from a smattering of other operator segments, including schools, caterers and a few restaurants.
FE&S: What goes into writing a good equipment spec?
NG: In writing a good spec, it’s important to understand the customer’s operation and match up what works economically and for operational purposes. Budget is an important factor, too.
FE&S: How do you approach resolving a situation when something does not go right?
NG: Sometimes it’s not the end of the world, and you should always look for alternatives. For example, after installing an expensive flight type dishwasher for a nursing home client, we discovered a part was missing that would take 10 days to arrive. We ended up being able to get the part off of another unit, so the equipment was up and running within a day.
FE&S: You’re known for following up with your customers. Why take this extra step?
NG: After completing a project, within a certain amount of time the customer will be in need of something, whether it’s some small supplies or an additional piece of equipment. As a sales rep, it’s important for me to keep in touch with the customers so I get some easier sales as opposed to constantly looking for new accounts.
FE&S: You’re also known for working well with the reps in your area. Why is building relationships with other members of the supply chain so important?
NG: When you work closely with reps, they’ll put you first. For example, I had a summer camp customer with a small order: $10,000 for 2 pieces of equipment. When I put in the order, I was told there was an eight-week lead time. In this case, the customer would have almost no use for the equipment, since camp would almost be over. I put in a phone call to my rep in the area and told them the situation; the order shipped within a few days. This made me look good to my customer, and I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the help of my rep.
FE&S: What keeps you engaged in the foodservice industry?
NG: What keeps me engaged is the new technology that’s constantly coming out. We get to bring amazing solutions to our customers.
FE&S: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in this industry?
NG: The first thing that comes to mind is you’re not just a salesperson trying to make a buck; the goal is to provide solutions to your customers’ challenges. At the same time you try to walk away with a profit. If you’re only selling on price, the second the price goes up, they’ll drop you.