Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

MAY 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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time as a rep, Hammersley went back to the Boston-based dealer before joining Outback Steakhouse. Hammersley had previously worked for family run businesses and after two years in a publicly traded company he knew it was time for a change. "I wanted to go to a family run, honest dealer that was large enough that we could purchase well. One name came back consistently from the reps: Johnson-Lancaster and Associates," Hammersley recalls. In 2008 when Hammersley interviewed with the com- pany, Johnson-Lancaster and Associates had 27 employees and was generating roughly $23 million in sales. At that time, the company was on the precipice of change and Hammers- ley's experience at Outback Steakhouse was put to good use right away. "The company was primarily a bid house and when I joined the company we started to bring private clients aboard. That was a different way of doing business," he says. "My experience at Outback gave me a good idea as to what a large corporation needs from a dealer." Today Hammersley works with a team of nine associates on the dealer's growing chain business. This part of Johnson-Lancaster and Associates services well-established and newer multi-unit concepts, helping the designers, corporate development teams and even franchisees roll out location after location. "There are plenty of guys working on chain business out there," Hammersley says. "But there are not that many that have worked inside the chains and in dealers and can combine the knowledge of both. And the proper use of that knowledge is power." He also works with Johnson-Lancaster's design-build business and it is with these customers where his design chops really show. For example, Hammersley was part of the Johnson- Lancaster team that worked on a high-end Florida resort and helped add a couple of distinctive foodservice features. "There was no rooftop restaurant and we worked with them to add that. We substantially impacted the design that way," Hammersley recalls. "We did the drawings and worked with the operator to evolve the kitchen to meet their unique needs." Like Hammersley and Brad Lancaster, Zabel has been around the foodservice industry throughout his entire life. Zabel's father owned a dealership in Ohio where he worked until the family sold the business. Zabel started job hunting right away after the sale and it was not long before he landed at Outback Steakhouse working on, among other things, equipment procurement. Nine years ago he joined Johnson- Lancaster and Associates with a nudge from Hammersley. The experience of working both for a dealer and an op- erator gave Zabel some unique insight into his projects and department. "Just knowing how to react and understand the logistics of the whole project is critical. A lot of times we are under contract from the general contractor or the owner's representative," Zabel says. "Knowing the logistics and politics of the project is key." Despite the company's evolution into e-commerce and chain restaurants, contract business remains a cornerstone of Johnson-Lancaster and Associates' success. What has changed, though, is the pace of the business has increased significantly, as timelines and budgets both seem to get smaller and smaller. "It used to be you had four or five months to get things ready. Those days are over," Zabel says. "We keep up with it by keeping up with the technol- ogy and being responsive. We have the internal systems in place that once a project gets turned over to the contract department we can simply execute. And we keep fine-tuning those systems as we keep going, always looking for ways to be more efficient." Although he's a company vice president, Zabel works alongside eight project managers and five assistant proj- ect managers. And as anyone who has ever worked in the contract side of the foodservice industry will tell you, it's not for the faint of heart. "Our project managers are getting beat up by the project managers and construction Hitachi HiQ eSystems™ monitors perishable assets to ensure safe, reliable, sanitary transportation and storage. Challenging the Future through Engineered Solutions 844-511-5999 Protect your Brand. Protection for your assets. H I G H Q U A L I T Y F A R M 2 F O R K Visit Us @ NRA Booth #9244 A higher level of food safety intelligence. Track back of house in real time via desktop, tablet, or smartphone Record temperatures automatically at all times Alert via text, email, or call Protect your assets 24/7, 365 QUIET GIANTS

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