Second Seating is an opportunity to meet the tabletop experts at Bauscher Hepp. In this edition, we're speaking with tabletop expert, Bill Flannery.
What should everyone know about you?
How did you get your start in the foodservice industry? What led you to Bauscher Hepp?
I attended the Conrad Hilton School of Hotel Restaurant Management at the University of Houston. My junior year, I accepted a paid internship with a local restaurant equipment company. This is where I learned sales.
Six months in, I started working full time while finishing school. My starting salary was $20,000 per year plus four-percent commission. I met many foodservice professionals during that time, one being Jeff Heaney, the current president of Bauscher Hepp. We stayed in touch, and when I sold an un-related business and wanted to jump back into foodservice equipment sales, I contacted Jeff. We hammered out a deal, and here I am.
What is your favorite Bauscher Hepp line? Why?
"We shape modern dining culture." Oh, product line? Is that what you meant?
Well, let’s see. I would say Marie Christine shape and Cosy Cottage. The shape is timeless and Bauscher Hepp totally renewed it by adding some color and décor. I am still learning we have so many great products. What I like the most is we are a true manufacturer. This allows us to do some very unique things.
Tell us about a time when that brand was used successfully. Why was it successful?
It’s a bit early for me to speak about specific products because I started in May 2016 at the National Restaurant Association Show. But Mogogo has a great story and is an extremely useful and innovative product. I have shown Mogogo a few times, and when the clients see the product in person, they really can see the potential.
In terms of design and style, where do you see the industry heading over the next five years?
I think more clients are looking for bespoke products, especially for front-of-the-house. Unique, one-of-a-kind items. I also think that social media will lead to restaurants being more and more involved in presentation and making sure it’s spot on.
Is there a particular market segment you specialize in? How can Bauscher Hepp products and brands make an impact in that market segment?
I have a big love of cocktails. Not the real fussy ones, but classic, clean drinks made with fresh ingredients. You can really define a restaurant and make a great first impression by serving quality drinks. Like food, drinks need to be presented in a thoughtful manner with attention to detail. Glassware is relatively inexpensive, and I also encourage our wholesalers to have some knowledge of the bar area. Bartenders and beverage managers are commanding a lot of attention these days.
What's your favorite restaurant?
Many. I’m always up for a new experience. But I will tell you my most expensive but worthwhile dining experience was at Alain Ducasse in Monaco.
How has foodservice changed in recent years?
The internet, social media, and technology are continuing to play a major role for all stakeholders (vendors, customers, and owners). Those who embrace technology and learn how to use it to enhance customer experience are going to win .
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
One thing? I guess pizza.
As someone who is very active on social media, tell us why you think social media platforms hold so much potential.
Learning from others, sharing ideas, has never been easier. Social media makes this happen at scale. All the platforms are designed around human interaction. And as a vendor providing a product, my biggest strength is how my experience and knowledge can help my customers become more successful. Social media allows you to gain knowledge by increased interactions.
Can you provide an example of how you've seen social media impact businesses in a positive way?
There are too many to list, but I did recently connect with a new start up that has a totally disruptive model to provide capital to restaurants. By accelerating capital availability, this could enable my target market to get cash quicker to make upgrades for dinnerware, glassware, and other items I provide. Speeding up the sales cycle for what I provide could be huge .
Give us your vision of the future of foodservice.
Technology and social media will allow restaurants to gather more data about what you like to eat and drink in order to design unique, custom offerings.
Bill Flannery sees great value in making a first impression with a well-made cocktail. Part of that strategy is appearance. Learn more about creating cocktails by getting inspiration from our Guide to Glassware.