Rep Prep: 10 Minutes with Foodservice Equipment Expert Kevin Eaton
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 Kevin Eaton, and find out how he got started in the foodservice industry.
Give us a little background on yourself.
I started in the foodservice industry in 1989. I was 15 years old and started my first job as a fry cook at McDonalds. I have held a lot of different jobs throughout the past 27 years but most in foodservice. I installed restaurant equipment working for a local foodservice dealer when I was 18 years old. I bussed tables. I've been a waiter and even bartended for a few years. All of this experience helped develop my passion for the foodservice industry.
I started working for Eaton Marketing when I was 25 years old when I lived in Jacksonville and developed that market for the company. We moved back to Tampa in 2005. My main focus was calling on dealers, consultants and local chains. My siblings and I purchased Eaton Marketing three years ago from my mother and father.
Out of all the lines represented by Eaton Marketing, which one is your favorite?
I really don’t have a favorite. What I will say is that I love selling lines that are engineered to solve a problem. I like to assist in layout and design that helps improve flow in a restaurant or bar.
How does it provide return on investment for operators?
Any equipment that has a solid ROI is a fun piece of equipment to sell. I love when a customer gets us involved with the end user, and we can show them how in time we can save them money. It is awesome to see the light bulb go on when they understand. For instance, the RDT Eco-Cool Refrigerated Rack System uses a scroll compressor in lieu of a standard compressor. This allows the compressor to cycle on and only give 20 percent power, if the equipment it handles is only calling for 20 percent. When a standard compressor cycles on, it is at 100 percent power if the same equipment is calling for 20 percent power. That is a nice energy savings for the end user.
Tell us about a project that is near and dear to your heart?
The project is called Sneaker's in Jacksonville, Florida. The reason that it is special to me is it was the first project that I was able to sit with the dealer and give my input on the project. At the ripe age of 27, I had a design dealer and an end user collaborating with me on my thoughts on the bar layout, dish area layout, and over all flow of the restaurant. I was able to provide input from my previous restaurant jobs, and I also learned a ton. Happy to say, the project and our equipment is still in use today.
Where is your favorite place to go out to dinner?
Does it contain foodservice equipment represented by Eaton?
All of them except Southern Fresh.
What do you usually order?
Wow, completely different at each location. Café Ponte? Hands down the Chilean sea bass and the mushroom soup. Salt Rock Grill? The bone-in ribeye steak cooked mid rare over an open pit fire. Columbia is the 1905 Salad; they have been making it since 1905… It’s that good! Ulele? I always get the charbroiled oysters. They are soooo good! Need an extra workout the next day! And Southern Fresh, I get the pan seared pork chop! Amazing!
How has foodservice equipment changed in recent years?
The equipment has not changed a bunch. The biggest change in our industry is the speed at which everything is done. Technology has made everyone available all the time. Funny story, when my father was growing up in the industry, his week looked like this…
Go see customers, do a manual take off of jobs that they need quoted. Return to the office and spend a few days quoting the project. Then MAIL the quote back to them… LOL. This would go on for months mailing items back and forth until the project is complete. What they did in months, I think we do in days, sometimes hours. It’s fun though, keeps us on our toes.
What do you see in store for the foodservice industry?
I think that with all this speed, companies can lose their customer service. I believe that the most successful companies in this speed driven future are going to be the companies that focus on customer satisfaction and relationships.
Kevin Eaton loves to see end users gain ROI from their foodservice equipment purchases, and saving time and money is a common trait amongst the lines he represents.
See how they help end users save on commercial refrigeration costs by watching this short video.