November 2003 Edition
We Turn the Spotlight On...

Jeffrey Pilon

Marketing Associate, North Douglas Sysco Food Services

7 Year Service Partner to the Schooner Restaurant, Tofino, British Columbia

ST How long have you been with Sysco?

I have had the pleasure of working with North Douglas Sysco for eleven years. I have been in sales for the last seven years but also worked in the warehouse, customer service, merchandising and as a driver. My territory is the west coast of Vancouver Island which includes the towns of Port Alberni, Coombs, Tofino and Ucluelet. I inherited the Schooner Restaurant account when I first started in sales seven years ago.

The Schooner Restaurant is in Tofino, which is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island (west of Whistler). It is a great restaurant with lots of character.

ST Is the Schooner Restaurant like your other accounts?

The majority of my accounts are fine dining. There is very little casual dining in my territory. The west coast of Vancouver Island has become a very high end international tourist destination, although we do have some pubs and coffee shops and a bit of retail. Schooner is a typical account as it has an unpretentious, casual feel yet serves excellent food in a fine dining atmosphere. I meet both the chef and the owner separately once a week.

ST What do you like best about Sysco Brand?

I like that Sysco Brand is 100% guaranteed. It is backed by quality assurance which gives me a great tool to sell with confidence. At first, operators didn’t realize that Sysco products were packed by specific suppliers to our specifications. Now that we have educated them and with work and persistence, many of my accounts have come around to 100% use of Sysco Brand. Schooner Restaurant uses only Sysco Brand.

ST How have you helped the Schooner Restaurant solve a problem?

As their main supplier, I want to make sure all their needs are taken care of. From on time deliveries, to new product information and fair pricing, we strive to help our customers succeed because if they do well, so do we.

ST What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The aspect of my job that I find the most difficult is the time away from home. I spend a lot of time driving as my territory covers a large distance. It is always a challenge to try to balance my family life with my career. I find the responsibility of being the Schooner account’s main supplier and getting them what they want when they want it to be my main challenge within my job. The account is in a fairly remote location so my responsibility level is high.

ST What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

I find it rewarding to see my customers satisfied. Seeing growth in my accounts and product lines is exciting and gives me energy to drive more sales. I like working with Schooner Restaurant because of their flexibility, the size of the account and the personalities of the chef and owner. My relationship has grown from just a customer-salesman situation over the years. There is trust between us and we are great friends.

ST What are your goals for the future?

My big goal is to make it back to the Torchbearers Club so growth in my territory is what I am constantly working for. This was a really great honour from Sysco Corporate. I was one of eighty Marketing Associates throughout North America and one of only eight from Canada to join this prestigious category this year. Not every Sysco operating company qualified a Marketing Associate. I got a phone call from Nino Barbon, the president of North Douglas Sysco who was in the L.A. Airport at the time, and he told me that I had won! It was a total surprise. One of the rewards is a vacation in Florida so my wife and I are really looking forward to that.

ST What do you enjoy most about working for Sysco?

I enjoy the people I work with. The sense of teamwork here is great. The freedom I have and the future opportunity for success is exciting and keeps me focused on getting Sysco Brand into every kitchen in my territory. ¨