FE&S: If I were just starting out in this industry, what advice would you give me?
OW: The people you will call on work and cook. It's important to become familiar with basic cooking techniques to speak the same language as a customer. I once was sitting with a new customer in the dining room as she was making cheesecakes. She was looking around trying to find the brown sugar. I told her to check the freezer. She said few people know that brown sugar should be stored in the freezer. Knowledge like this helps set someone apart. You also have to provide the right tools for the job. Eggs over easy can't be prepared on a charbroiler.
FE&S: How do you establish trust with your customers?
OW: My philosophy is to do a good job with a teaspoon and the rest will happen. It always starts with the little things before customers entrust you with the bigger jobs.
FE&S: What's the key to balancing the needs of your customers with those of your company and supply chain partners?
OW: Whenever something comes up or an ex-customer or friend calls, it's important to follow up and see what's going on. Being responsive is the key to good business.
FE&S: How do you make sure your team works as one to serve customers and that no details get overlooked?
OW: Education on the job is important, and people can learn from each other.
FE&S: When you look back over your career, name one thing that makes you proud.
OW: I'm most proud of having maintained customer loyalty. There are many people I've done business with for 40 years.