Zena Dater, FE&S’ 2008 DSR of the Year, has been with Oswalt Restaurant Supply in Oklahoma City, Okla., for 16 years. A restaurant industry lifer, Dater spent 23 years on the operations side, moving up through the ranks from waitress and bartender to general manager and, later, area director with El Chico Corp. and La Roca-La Luna. As a result, Dater strikes a chord with her chain and mom and pop restaurant customers in her home state and across the country — knowing exactly what they need and being able to see business from their shoes.
FE&S: What aspect of your career gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment?
Zena Dater: It has to be the DSR of the Year award I won from FE&S magazine. That’s been my highest accomplishment ever and it’s has held me to a standard that I can’t fall below.
FE&S: If you were not working in foodservice, what would you be doing?
Zena Dater: I can’t even imagine doing anything else. I really can’t. I guess I’d be selling something somewhere.
FE&S: When traveling for business, what is one of your favorite past times?
Zena Dater: To try new restaurants and entertain my customers.
FE&S: Any interesting hobbies?
Zena Dater: I love gardening. It’s my peace. And I love wine, collecting it too.
FE&S: If I were just starting out in the foodservice industry, what advice would you give me?
Zena Dater: Be ready to work very hard, but remember the benefits that you receive from that hard work. I don’t think you can get that in any other industry.
Click here to read part one of the interview with Zena Dater.
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