According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 Labour Force Survey, Canada’s foodservice industry rose to a record 1,244,600 jobs and was among the top private-sector job creators. The reach of this industry is incredibly wide, complex and interconnected to everything we do and continues to create an abundance of new opportunities. While the service side of the industry is well known, the sales side is often much less recognized and considered as a career opportunity.
However, with consumer demand for convenience and the need to be connected constantly increasing, the foodservice industry has evolved with the introduction of mobile POS, loyalty, scheduling and online ordering, which has created increased career opportunities within the industry along the way.
Leading companies in the foodservice ecosystem — such as TouchBistro, Bunzl and Sysco Canada — are doing their part to continue to push the industry forward and highlight the often-overlooked opportunities and growth potential a career in sales affords. Their collective hope is that more and more people, particularly young graduates, will look beyond IT and tech alone, and consider career opportunities in sales within growth sectors, such as foodservice and hospitality.
Learn, Grow and Excel
For people with a passion for food or experience in hospitality, sales can be particularly rewarding. Paul Snelson, executive vice-president of Sales at TouchBistro, a Toronto-based technology company that helps restaurants run more successful businesses with its iPad point-of-sale app, explains, “Sales people, like foodservice individuals, are used to being rewarded based on their hard work (commissions/tips), personal drive and the quality of their engagement with customers. Sales jobs in the foodservice industry are a great fit for a person who loves the win of closing the deal on a service or product that helps their customer.”
At Bunzl, an international distribution and outsourcing group, sales professionals are continually provided opportunities to learn something new — and that’s all part of the sales role. Margo Hunnisett, senior director, Marketing and Communications at Bunzl says, “From assisting customers in reducing costs, to finding new and innovative packaging for them, to looking for solutions to reduce their environmental footprint, working in sales is not one-dimensional. Our sales people frequently see first-to-market products and have the opportunity to be the first to introduce them to the Canadian marketplace.”
Heather Mrochuk, president – Sysco Tannis at Sysco Canada, a seller, marketer and distributer of food products, says working in sales provides an understanding of how all departments function internally within a company. “On any given day at Sysco, sales will involve working with associates from finance, warehouse, transportation and merchandising. This can provide opportunities for advancement within a company, not only within the sales department,” she says. In Mrochuk’s experience, she has seen sales associates that have progressed over their career into senior leadership roles in sales, marketing, operations and merchandising.
Investing in Young Sales Talent
Collectively, all three companies feel passionately about investing in young sales talent.
“We need young talent on our team to not only help us grow as an organization, but to embrace new and innovative ideas,” says Mrochuk.
At TouchBistro, CEO and founder, Alex Barrotti says, “By investing in young sales talent, Canadian companies — not just in foodservice — are enhancing their organizations’ futures and setting themselves up for greater success.”
Hunnisett has a similar point of view and believes any growing industry must invest in young sales talent. She emphasizes that, “It’s important to not only hire, but train young sales people accordingly as it is vital to their success, as well as the company’s.”
Hunnisett highlights how programs such as The Great Canadian Sales Competition are helping educate students about a career in sales and connecting new graduates with a wide variety of companies (from foodservice to tech to manufacturing) looking to hire and invest in young talent. “We need more students across Canada to participate in these types of programs as it gives them an opportunity to practice and develop their soft skills and see what a career in sales is really all about,” she concludes.
— Great Canadian Sales Competition/Sales Talent Agency