An interview with Mason Greene, director of operations for Hotel & Restaurant Supply.
For a complete list of FE&S' Future Foodservice Leaders see The Future Is Now.
Name: Mason Greene
Company: Hotel & Restaurant Supply
Title: Director of Operations
Industry involvement: FEDA Board Member (2008-2011), FEDA Convention Assistant Chair (2011), FEDA Convention Chair (2012), CFSP, ABC and NexGen Buying Group involvement
Years in foodservice: 9
Educational background: BBA, MBA Mississippi State University
What's the best career advice you have been given?
I believe the best career advice has been watching my father over the past 9 years. People probably have different pictures of what a passionate and intense person looks like. I am not sure that most people who know my father would first describe him as passionate and intense because he is not as animated as some, but I believe passion and intensity can be displayed in different ways. I have seen this very clearly in how my father works and makes decisions every day. He has put so much time, thought, and energy into doing what is best for Hotel & Restaurant Supply and its employees, suppliers and customers. I know that I will need to have the same passion and intensity to be successful.
Also, I remember reading the book of Ecclesiastes in college and the simple but profound words found in chapter 5, verse 15 never seem to leave my mind while thinking about life and business. "Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand." I can't think of a better picture of what should inform the focus of our life and work than the realization that we showed up here without anything material and that we will leave the same way.
What makes you want to stay in the industry?
One of the main reasons that I plan to stay in this industry is that it is still very relational. That has definitely been one of my favorite aspects about this industry. I feel like I have many great relationships with suppliers, reps, customers, co-workers, dealers and others. I look forward to deepening these and building more over the years. It makes life and work more fun and meaningful.
What attracted you to the industry?
I probably would have never thought about the foodservice industry if it weren't for my father's involvement, but I can't imagine another industry that I would enjoy more. There are plenty of opportunities and challenges for someone who wants to get involved with this industry at any level. Plus, you get to eat a lot of good food along the way!
What excites you most about the foodservice industry?
There are endless opportunities in this industry! It is exciting but can also be overwhelming. There are so many aspects to a traditional dealership. We have cash-and-carry showrooms so we are in the retail business. We are in the distribution business delivering product to our customers in the most efficient manner. We are in the construction and project management business by being involved with foodservice facilities from the ground up. We also serve many diverse market segments such as restaurants, travel and leisure, education, business and industry, healthcare and religious. Each of these aspects has its own challenges and opportunities so there is never a lack of things to be thinking about and working on to better serve our customers. It will also be fun to see how technology and other market forces continue to change our industry and how we will all respond to these forces.
If you could improve one thing about the industry, what would it be?
Education throughout the supply channel. I think we (that includes manufacturers, dealers, reps, consultants, service agents, and end users) all could do a better job of understanding each other's value and challenges. Yes, there will always be channel conflict and that is necessary to keep improving, but the more we can understand one another the healthier our supply channel will be. And this is especially true with the end user. We need to continue to understand their challenges and adapt our businesses to provide them the best value and service. At the same time, we need to do a better job of communicating to the end user the value our supply channel produces so that we can deliver the value and service they deserve over the long term.