Kate Gusching, The Wasserstrom Company
Back in 2007, Kate Gusching was like countless other college seniors. With graduation fast approaching she was working as a waitress at a family dining chain trying to determine what comes next. A co-worker had a family member working at The Wasserstrom Company and suggested Gusching check out the Columbus, Ohio-based dealership.
Gusching started in customer service and then became a sales assistant supporting two national account reps. With roughly five years’ experience under her belt, she then assumed an outside sales role for Wasserstrom, which included supporting a national chain and relocating to Los Angeles for seven years.
In 2019 she moved back to Columbus and today her client base includes regional chains and independent operators.
Q: Given that tabletop is one of your areas of expertise, any trends on the horizon that excite you?
A: Throughout COVID every restaurant would keep reordering their same stock items but sometimes those items might not have been available due to supply chain challenges. That got the operators to try some new items they might not have considered in the past. As a result, everything used to have to be matched, but now that might not be the case. I like how some restaurants will mix and match the vessels they use when serving food items.
Q: What’s the secret to getting a tabletop setting right?
A: Sticking with the trends is a good idea but so is having a pop of something unique to help the tabletop stand out. Your restaurant is a reflection of who you are. And, really, who wants to be like everyone else? Sometimes it’s easier to play it safe but when you add your personal flair it can be pretty special.
Q: Supply chain issues continue to dominate the industry conversation. How have they impacted your business?
A: It was a struggle when COVID first hit, and it’s still a struggle. It seems to change every few weeks in terms of which items are unavailable. Building a good relationship where my customers can trust me and rely on me is the biggest part of the job. I have to come to them proactively with the issue. There’s usually a way we can work together to find the right substitute item because not having that item affects their business.
Q: How does your national account experience help you better serve the regional chains and independents that comprise your client base today?
A: Working with the larger customers there seemed to be more emergency situations that we needed to address. That experience helped me learn to better manage my time and be more organized. That’s great preparation for working with any client. With the regional chains you can develop closer working relationships with them, and they look to me more for ideas and solutions as their systems continue to evolve. Regionals are always changing — one restaurant’s opening and another is closing. So, there are more moving pieces, in my opinion.
Kate Gusching, The Wasserstrom Company, sits down with Jason Wange, Foodservice Powerplant Network, to talk about being named an FE&S DSR of the Month.
Foodservice Equipment & Supplies Presents DSR 3-2-1 is sponsored by Salvajor.