An interview with Patrick Malloy, area manager for Zink Foodservice Group.
For a complete list of FE&S' Future Foodservice Leaders see The Future Is Now.
Name: Patrick Malloy
Company: Zink Foodservice Group
Title: Area Manager
Industry involvement: MAFSI, School Nutrition Association of Ohio, West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association
Years in foodservice: 11
Educational background: Robert Morris University – BS Marketing, Communication
What’s the most important lesson you have learned?
Listen, listen, listen! If you take the time to ask the right questions and listen to your customer they will tell you exactly what they need.
What’s the best career advice you have been given?
The best career advice that I have been given was from Skip Zink. Skip shared with me the philosophy that the Zink Foodservice Group was built on and the standard that I would be held to as an employee of Zink. The Core Beliefs, as Skip called them, encompassed five key points:
Be a true professional.
Add value, add value, add value.
Demonstrate high integrity at all times.
Be a great listener.
Be willing to change everything – except your core values.
What makes you want to stay in the industry?
I believe that I work for the best sales and marketing agency in the country. Working at an organization like Zink Foodservice Group makes all of the difference in the world. We have owners that continuously reinvest in their company. They have developed a system that provides outside sales with the internal support and tools needed to be successful. Add to that the privilege of representing the finest manufacturers in the industry and we truly have a formula for success. Mike McGuire and Jim Zink have also cultivated an environment that allows me to manage my territory as if it were my own business and have given me a voice within the company. I think that working for a group that respects and recognizes the talents of its employees and allows them to be as successful as they can be would make any employee want to stick with them regardless of the industry.
What attracted you to the industry?
Like many in this field I grew up around the foodservice industry. Growing up my father served in several different industry capacities including factory rep, QSR franchise, GM of a service agency and manufacturer’s rep. The one thing that always stood out to me was that most of his employers and clients were family-owned businesses. I believe that this industry focuses heavily on family. For as large as our industry is, it feels very small and everyone can have an impact.
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
When I was hired by Mike and Jim in 2002 their biggest concern was that I was a young man with no rep experience and that I may move on from the industry in a couple of years. Eleven years later I am still evolving and doing everything that I can to become better at what I do. I am most proud of the fact that I am able to continually learn and grow. Our industry is changing rapidly and our customers are faced with the challenges of a truly global economy. Geography is no longer a barrier for competition. I take great pride in being able to develop unique solutions that help our customers reach their goals and overcome these challenges.
Describe the biggest challenge you have overcome.
The biggest challenge that I have had is making the adjustment from my previous career in the technology field to becoming a manufacturer’s rep in the foodservice industry. I remember my first week on the job when a dealer called me upset that he was incorrectly charged a $10 minimum order charge from one of our manufacturers. At the time I didn’t understand why $10 was a big deal to him. It seemed so insignificant when just one week prior I was selling software systems that ranged from $50,000 to $250,000. It took some time for me to understand how margin sensitive this industry is and that attention to the smallest details is required to positively impact our customers.
What excites you most about the foodservice industry?
It is exciting to work in an industry where you can truly make a difference. I am amazed how quickly our manufacturers are able to respond to feedback from the field. On many occasions I have seen feedback from a line cook or a part-time employee lead to significant improvements in a product. I am honored to work in an industry and with manufacturers that respect the input not only from their reps but more importantly from the dealer and end-user community.
If you could improve one thing about the industry, what would it be?
The one area of our industry that I would like to improve is that of sales training. Unfortunately many organizations don’t have the resources to train new hires as they would like to. Therefore many companies seek out individuals with industry experience. Helping to train new salespeople is an area in which I spend a significant amount of time. I believe that we need to encourage and support our customers to take a chance on hiring young applicants, like I was 11 years ago, that bring a fresh set of ideas to an mature industry. Who knows… they may surprise you!