Kathy McCain of Tampa, Fla.-based Beltram Foodservice Group makes no bones about what has taken her to the forefront of her profession. "I do whatever it takes to get the job done," said McCain, "whether that means working 65 to 90 hours a week or whatever. While other people are enjoying family weekends, I'm not. I don't think everyone is willing to do that, though if more [DSRs] were, we would have even more succeeding. I really see it all coming down to hard work."
McCain's main daily duties include personally handling the equipment and supplies needs of all the concepts and restaurants owned and operated by Outback Steakhouse Inc. These include, at present, 695 Outback Steakhouses; 125 Carrabba's Italian Grills; 19 Fleming's Prime Steakhouses; 19 Bonefish Grill units (a full-service seafood concept Outback recently acquired); 17 Roy's (upscale casual restaurants featuring Hawaiian fusion cuisine); one Cheeseburger In Paradise outlet (featuring island fare and other fun foods); and one Lee Roy Selmon's (Southern comfort cooking) with a second planned.
Servicing the Outback stable is a daunting yet lucrative task. McCain currently accounts for approximately $7 million of Beltram's nearly $56 million in annual revenue (and her yearly sales have ranged as high as $9 million). A 20-year industry veteran, McCain joined Beltram eight years ago following stints with a manufacturer and a manufacturers' rep group, a career track she feels prepared her marvelously for success as a DSR.
"I feel that my background has given me an entirely different perspective on our industry," she noted. Working with a customer, she added, is never a one-on-one affair but, ultimately, an exercise in teamwork.
"The trend for dealers is going to involve more work with chains, because we really need the revenue that they bring."
"They're not just my customers," she said. "There's a partnership between dealers, customers and manufacturers. All of us need to work hand in hand, together, which has turned out very well with Outback. I was fortunate to have had prior professional relationships with all the folks that I now work with at Outback Steakhouse, so we have a comfort level with one another." McCain stressed that she feels more of her colleagues will come to follow her example and specialize exclusively on specific chains.
"A lot of the mom and pops are being driven out," she pointed out. "Because most people in our fast-paced world are not cooking at home, they're going increasingly to the chains - names they know from the ads they constantly see and hear. That's where they stop to get their take-home orders. That's where they take their families to dine. The trend for dealers is going to involve more work with chains, because we really need the revenue that they bring." McCain, who has a son, Rick, daughter, Gina, and five grandchildren, remains grateful that principal and President Dan Beltram has let her find her own path to success.
"I consider myself to be very fortunate," she concluded. "Dan has really given each one of us a free hand. We kid about it, being in 'Beltram's College of Entrepreneurs' here, going off in any direction that we wish. Dan lets us succeed and go further than we might normally because there are no holds put on us."