Learn how Charles Gonzalez creates value and drives ROI for DTT’s customers in the below interview.
What do you do at DTT? Where did you start in the industry? What’s a lesson you’ve learned along the way?
My current position with DTT is Business Consultant Manager. I have a 20-year Restaurant Management career that started back in my family’s Bakery & Café in Los Angeles, CA. There have been many important lessons along the way, but one thing that I’ve learned is: “No matter what business you’re in… you’re in the people business”. At the end of the day, if you take good care of your people (Employees and Clients), then you will be successful; if you do not take care of your people, then you will not be successful. A simple philosophy that, at times, can be difficult to maintain, but having happy employees engaging with happy customers is the recipe for success.
What do all restaurant and c-store vendors need to do to successfully manage their ongoing relationships with clients, especially in regards to client retention?
Understanding; understanding your client’s business, time restraints, and operational challenges. Once you understand your client’s business needs, you can provide solutions for them and do so in a manner that fits their operational needs. Clients will walk away from your communications feeling good about your relationship and will want to continue to work with you, not only as a vendor, but also as a business partner for years to come.
What are some of the common mistakes that vendors make, which in your opinion, are likely to irritate operators and lead to loss of clients?
Thinking that what you have to say is important… Wrong. To truly understand what your clients’ needs are, you will first need to listen, not talk. There is an old expression; “You have two ears and one mouth, and they should be used in that ratio.” Listen twice as much as you speak; you will be amazed at how many opportunities will present themselves to you and how many strong relationships you can build along the way.
What does DTT do to avoid those pitfalls, and instead exceed operators’ expectations for vendors, especially in regards to customer relationship management?
As Business Consultants, we are tasked with the challenge of gathering information from our clients by listening first and then developing an action plan based on their needs. We then use this knowledge-base to customize our clients’ DTT system to better serve their operational goals. Every operation is different, and there is not always going to be one best solution, but through Listening and Consulting, along with our real industry experience, we can raise and exceed clients’ expectations.
DTT’s BCG team is made up of ex-restaurant operators and managers. What is the importance of that in regards to managing client relationships?
We use our knowledge of the restaurant industry to help our clients customize their DTT system in order to maximize ROI. BCG’s experience with controlling Food & Labor costs, improving employee productivity, maintaining health & safety standards, and increasing customer retention are all topics that we can use our real life experience with to advise our clients on. Once we start speaking to clients in terms that they can relate to, they will start to see us as advocates for their business and not just as another vendor. As former multi-unit operators, we can relate to our clients’ needs and pinch points, many of which we have experienced ourselves. Our hope is that by providing these consultations, clients will realize that DTT is more than just another Loss Prevention company, and will see us as a business partner for the future.
BCG has leadership experience with great brands such as: McDonald’s, Denny’s, Starbucks, Subway, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Popeye’s Chicken, El Pollo Loco, Jack in the Box, Del Taco, Arby’s, and Five Guys… just to name a few.