Marion, Iowa (PRWEB) January 25, 2013
Chain Restaurant Solutions (CRS), a division of Rapids Wholesale Equipment Company, was recently featured in a Foodservice Equipment Distributors Association (FEDA) article as an example of how a forward-thinking approach and a sincere interest in serving one’s customers can yield big returns.
This article “Pain: A Lesson in Model Creation & the Story Behind Chain Restaurant Solutions” from the News & Views magazine published by FEDA, a respected dealer advocacy voice in the food service equipment industry, takes a look at Chain Restaurant Solutions—from its 2004 launch to present day, with an emphasis on why Joe Schmitt, co-owner of Rapids Wholesale and president of CRS, undertook the venture.
When Schmitt was looking to diversify into the multiunit market, he turned to two individuals: a consultant and a customer. A consultant recommended he match competitor service offerings. A customer, a friend and owner of 20 Panera Bread Bakery-Cafes, “shared his pain.” Schmitt chose to follow the pain, “intuitively sensing that it would lead to his competitive advantage.”
At Schmitt’s urging, the customer thought about what caused him grief during day-to-day business activity. According to the article, the customer indicated that “handling ill-timed equipment malfunctions was a big hassle, and he didn’t want to be bothered with service calls, warranty issues or lengthy exchanges with contractors. … Regardless of what failed or when it happened, he wanted his management team to have one number to call so someone else could manage the process.”
Schmitt sensed there was opportunity here; none of his competitors had such a repair and maintenance based model, nor was there any interest in creating one. And while some wrote off his plan as “crazy,” Schmitt sensed opportunity in the wide open market and he saw the high barrier for entry as an intriguing challenge.
While the venture was certainly a challenging one at its start, customers recognized the value of this service-based arm as time progressed and its reputation grew. This helped the company grow its list of customers to 28 with more than 700 locations across the U.S. CRS receives between 175 and 225 calls per day.
According to the article, customer payback comes in two forms: help controlling repair and maintenance costs and saving time. CRS does so via offerings such as “routine trouble-shooting, contractor dispatch and follow-up as well as cost-containing solutions, such as performing invoice audits and capturing warranty opportunities.”
And multi-unit restaurants have not been the only ones to benefit from Chain Restaurant Solutions. Rapids Wholesale Equipment Company has been able to get a foot in the door in terms of equipment sales with large chain accounts thanks to the service relationships established by the CRS branch.
Schmitt explains that at CRS’s inception, the company was prepared to give away the service, but it was unable to do that as chains were not willing to buy equipment from Rapids Wholesale. On the other hand, these franchises were more than willing to pay to get rid of the pain associated with repair and maintenance.
Schmitt says “Maybe I’m just a stubborn German who doesn’t know any better, but I honestly believe that this has the potential to be the most valuable part of my whole business over the next five to 10 years.”
CRS’s game plan for doing so doubles as the company’s mission: “to earn the loyalty of our customers through our highly trained and motivated employees, partnered with suppliers to provide products, services and solutions that exceed our customer's expectations.”
Chain Restaurant Solution’s impressive list of clients speaks to its success in doing so. This list includes Panera Bread, Taco Bell, Bonnaroo Restaurant Group, Applebee’s and Blue Water Grill, to name a few.
About Chain Restaurant Solutions
Chain Restaurant Solutions is a unique equipment and facility management solution developed specifically to meet the demand of high-volume operations. The company specializes in managing facility and equipment repair and maintenance needs to better allow chain restaurants to focus on employee management and increased customer service. CRS takes care of equipment troubleshooting, calls contractors for breakdowns, reviews invoices for accuracy and compliance with terms, captures warranties on equipment and facilities and engages in equipment tracking and reporting for better capital management.
About Rapids Wholesale Equipment Company
Since 1936 Rapids Wholesale Equipment Company has been a leading supplier of restaurant, bar and catering supplies and equipment. Rapids features top brands such as: True, Beverage Air, Libbey, Frymaster/Dean, Hobart and many more. Rapids Wholesale offers the best commercial kitchen equipment in the foodservice industry at competitive prices.
At http://www.RapidsWholesale.com, one can find everything from long draw beer systems to bottle coolers. The company also offers kitchen layout and design services in addition to equipment procurement and managed installations. From plates, knives and forks to the tables they rest on, Rapids’ warehouse is ready to ship at a moment’s notice. Delivery is fast and its prices are fair.