Rep Prep: 10 Minutes with Foodservice Equipment Expert George Van Riper
Rep Prep from Eaton Marketing is an informative series that gives you access to one of our foodservice equipment experts. In this edition, spend 10 minutes with George Van Riper, and find out where he learned to master the hangover cure and why his favorite line to rep is Perlick.
Give us a little background on yourself.
I grew up and went to school right outside Tampa, FL in the small suburbs of Palm Harbor. I was obsessed with the game of baseball for most of my youth and into college where I played two years at third base until it dawned on me that the MLB doesn’t draft 24-year-old juniors with a bum knee.
My first job was a bus boy at Sam Seltzers Steakhouse where I learned one Spanish phrase apilando de placas, in English meaning “stack your plates” mixed in with other inappropriate Spanish words that don’t seem appropriate for this interview.
From there I went on to work for five different restaurants as a bartender/server and learned so much about people, work ethic, and hang-over cures. Working with Eaton Marketing was a perfect fit for me, I get to build long lasting relationships with my clients, work closely with architects and project managers to fit the needs of the customer, and most of all I am truly proud to say I work here.
Out of all the lines represented by Eaton Marketing, which one is your favorite?
I would say Perlick is my favorite. Southbend and Ice-o-matic are a close second.
Why is it your favorite?
I pride myself in asking the right questions and listening to what his or her needs are before giving my personal advice. Having said that, when the bar owner/operator allows me to be the first in the door for a new build, I am confident that Perlick can fill the needs of the customer and then some.
Perlick is ahead of the game in so many aspects whether its refrigeration, underbar equipment, or beer systems. We can specify our equipment in various footprints and configure each piece to tend to the style of bar and the volume it expects when opening.
How does it provide return on investment for operators?
“How long do you want to be in business?”
This is a question I ask end users every time a competitor’s price is thrown in my face. If you want to purchase a beer system every 20 plus years, I am the right fit for you. If you want to replace your equipment every five to seven years, go with the better price. There are so many advantages to purchasing Perlick, whether it’s the ergonomics and functionality of the underbar equipment or the various beer system components that only Perlick offers.
Tell us about the most successful install you've ever seen using products from this line?
I am fairly new to the industry, but one that comes to mind is Royal Dutch Distillers. It was an opportunity Eaton Marketing provided me and my first full bar lead. I met with Ben Carletto to show the Tobin Ellis Signature Cocktail Station and discussed some customizations he would like to make for a new bartending school in Miami. Earle Mann at Ed Don and myself installed three Tobin Ellis stations at this location, and the owner was very pleased. He was so pleased he contacted one of his associates, and we are now working with Bacardi corporate in Doral to do something similar, but on a much larger scale.
Where is your favorite place to go out to dinner?
Where I live now in Delray Beach I would have to say Farmhouse which is a Gary Rack location off of Atlantic Avenue.
Does it contain foodservice equipment represented by Eaton?
Yes, it’s actually a Perlick bar, which was designed by my buddy Earle Mann at Ed Don a few years before I got into the industry.
What do you usually order?
I love to order tapas style, so some of the popular items I order are the deviled eggs, buffalo cauliflower, and octopus quesadillas. I usually order a local beer brewed by Funky Buddha called “Floridian”.
How has foodservice equipment changed in recent years?
Beer is King!! IPA, Pale Ales, Belgiums, Ambers, Stouts, the list goes on and on. Beer is more prevalent today than ever. A lot of the beer system components have changed as far as the copper glycol lines, the flow rate off the faucet, and remote refrigeration capabilities. Craft cocktails are also beginning to become just as huge as beer in the industry. Underbar equipment is manufactured to fill the needs of the bartender and not just a place to store product. For instance, curved speed rails on our Tobin Ellis station give the bartender a chance to get closer to the bar giving the owner peace of mind in regards to the health risks (back issues) of his or her employees.
What do you see in store for the foodservice industry?
I see the industry becoming more energy efficient. Whether it is refrigeration, hood systems, or cooking equipment. Self-serving beer and cocktails may also be more prevalent at large stadium venues. Millennials are extremely impatient and grow up in a world of instant gratification, so I see the foodservice industry going that route. Whether its robotic arms serving French fries or paying your check at your very own POS system. Technology can save labor dollars, and with large corporations going that route, you cut out the relationship between employee and customer (person to person), and in my humble opinion I do not agree with that type of ideology.
As you can see, George is a huge fan of Perlick and the Tobin Ellis Signature Cocktail Station. See why it's so great in this fun, entertaining, and insightful video.