We consistently hear feedback on how Chef Representatives in our test kitchens helped clients’ businesses succeed. In addition to providing valuable tips and strategies to help them choose the best ovens, Rep Chefs possess the knowledge needed to help business owners make solid decisions. They also deliver the kind of service that guarantees solutions to obstacles in many businesses. While their main job functions are to teach the overall features of the equipment they are selling and help to ensure that clients know how to use and install it, they are often described as “trusted guides in the kitchen design and production flow” for the level of service that they offer.
We decided to interview two successful rep chefs to discover their secrets. Chef Tony Glitz from The Solutions Foodservice Group and Brian Lore of BSE Keystone gave us important insight into what rep chefs bring to the table while answering some of the most common questions they get asked with us.
Level of Practical Experience
Chef Tony Glitz was a Chef for 38 years and proudly states that he “started cooking in a restaurant at 11!” From that age on, he was constantly challenging himself. He worked for the Four Seasons Hotel for over 11 years and traveled around the world. His jobs took him to Canada, the US, Japan, and beyond. He is well versed in southern barbecue, Japanese, Caribbean Cuisine, fine dining, and of course pizza which he has been making professionally for 10 years. Tony has been working for The Solutions Foodservice Group for 2 years.
Chef Brian Lore is celebrating his fourth year in the chef rep business – but has decades of experience as a classically trained (Johnston and Wales) pastry chef and baker. Like Chef Tony, he believes in the importance of growing and evolving and says change provides a fun opportunity. He was drawn to work as a rep chef because he likes interacting with customers on a daily basis, which you can’t always do in a restaurant kitchen. He says that chef reps “are the bridge between salespeople and restaurants,” and their knowledge of the equipment paired with their industry experience makes them the perfect people to work in this field.
Knowledge of Their Equipment
Since they represent several lines at a time, rep chefs get to witness firsthand which pieces work together and discover quickly which solutions work best in each space. Chef Tony Glitz represents eight different lines including knives, structured air, etc.
Chef Brian Lore confirms “Because you work with additional equipment and different companies you can come up with an integrated package of making everything work.” He works directly with his company. Since he doesn’t work on commission, he says, he’s not biased. He can honestly give features and benefits of the companies he represents while also making sure that they work well together.
Unparalleled strategies and solutions
Chef Tony says that he has worked with other commercial brick ovens – but never rotating ones. He enjoys calculating how much you get out the Marra Forni Rotator and how it creates consistent results. “With the Rotator,” he says, “you can exact the outcome – it is a huge plus – this makes it popular!” Clients even notice that there are some commercial brick ovens on the market that rotate at a high speed. But, he says, “ you have to set your own timer whereas with Marra Forni you can slow the Rotator down to just enough so that it can go around just once and it comes around, and that is a game-changer for many people.”
Recipes, menu planning, and review production flow
Chef Brian says that the course of his activities in a day can range from how to make pizza dough, helping clients build an oven onsite in remote locations, to analyzing their needs for – prep stations and mixers, etc. He is inspired by clients’ missions such as those who want to bring quality pizza to remote locations and pass their businesses and traditions down to their children. He likes to make sure that business owners are comfortable with aspects of the ovens and pizza making, even if they are not pizza makers, “ just in case someone calls out.”
Chef Brian says that Marra Forni equipment thinks for the operator and he also has a rotator in his kitchen. He teaches buyers how much extra food they can pump out – “That was life-changing – I don’t want to just show people an oven, I go on to their property and take pictures,” said Chef Brian when he describes how he helps to make sure that clients get the best ovens for their spaces.
Level of service and commitment is exemplary
Both chefs provide comfort to their clients by discussing ovens with them, but also by looking at their kitchen needs such as flow and staff. Customers are able to sit and work with professionals who have been in their position, know what they are going through, and understand restaurants. Sometimes Chef Brian feels it’s not right to even discuss the oven before they have certain bases covered in their restaurants. He likes sharing information if it will help them in the long run.
Much more than just advice on ovens
Chef Brian says he once told someone who didn’t know what production schedules were so they shouldn’t open restaurants until they learned more about the business. He lost a sale, but he gained the trust and respect of a customer who needed to learn more before he could be able to succeed. It is important to gain trust. Many of their clients are working on their second or third operation, and they know that they can call and reach out at any time.
A piece of equipment can change peoples’ lives, sometimes he recommends smaller ovens that still have the capacity to do many more pizzas than what a customer is currently doing. Once while visiting a space, he noticed a pizza prep station with a raised rail could save 7-inches in the kitchen. The rep chefs’ knowledge can help businesses save time, space, and money.
Guidance to their customers for next level of business
What is important is selling something that customers need to take them to the next level, says Chef Brian, “and sometimes it’s different than what they originally had in mind.” Sometimes they hear about Combi ovens – but it might be overkill– I often recommend a less expensive oven that will suit needs now and then later on they can get a different one.
Marra Forni’s service, the rep chefs say, is preferred because they go on-site all the time. Customers are often surprised when they come on-site to check out venting, the roof, how the oven will get inside, as well as analyze the clearance space, plumbing and electrical needs, etc.