Brenda, how did you end up as a Business Development Manger at Fooda?
I was in restaurant marketing, but I was working more on the restaurant side. I decided I wanted to work with corporations, so I did a stint with an IT consultancy company. It was a great company, but IT and I just don’t mesh.
I started looking for another opportunity. I still wanted to work with corporations and the high-level executives within those organizations. I also wanted something more fun than IT. That’s when I heard about Fooda—it’s fun, it’s changing all the time, and it’s food, so everyone can relate to it.
That was about 3 years ago, when Boston was a very new market for Fooda. What was it like to help launch Fooda in a new city as a Business Development Manager (BDM)?
It felt like our Boston director and I were running our own business.
Business Development Managers hunt for prospects, educate people, and really dig in to get people to get excited about the concept. I was only the second employee in Boston, so we learned every single aspect of Fooda. It was an incredible experience to learn the operations side, our technology, and how to launch a client so they’re successful. It really worked for me because I am entrepreneurial, so it was pretty exciting. Since launching the market in 2014, we’ve grown the number of accounts by an average of 200% per year.
Sounds like you learned a lot. What sort of advice do you have for a BDM in a new market as you once were?
Look at all opportunities. You either want to be on the phone, emailing, walking into buildings, networking with people, or joining professional organizations.
Also, be totally excited and passionate about what you do. A major motivator for people to buy is passion, excitement or when someone feels the love. Right? So I love Fooda, I love what we do, and I’m passionate about it. People will feel that energy and want to come along for the ride.
When I first started I was going to events all of the time, and more than 90% of the time I was getting clients from them. You have to be very outgoing and able to build your own business.
Can you tell me about when the BDM role “clicked” for you at Fooda, when you knew you were in the right place?
It definitely didn’t click instantly for me. As I mentioned, we were building a market from the ground up, and there was a learning curve. It took a few months for me to get the hang of how Fooda operated. But then everything changed. Because once you get a few clients, other opportunities will follow.
For example, I was meeting with a client and they told me the Prudential Center food court was closing due to construction. That raised a red flag. So I immediately contacted the Prudential Center people, and shortly thereafter we won the account. It was a really quick process.
After the sale closed, I was looking at the building’s potential, and that was really the “ah-ha moment.”
I saw what we were making with other popups, and I knew that the Prudential Center was six to eight times larger than the other accounts. I thought, “This is really cool. We’re going to get exposure from this, things are going to start rolling.” And everything started clicking, opportunities were just coming on top of each other. It was amazing. I felt completely freed and excited.
How has Fooda been different than other companies where you’ve worked?
Everybody within Fooda has a great attitude and is awesome to work with. We’re friendly, upbeat and nice. The management team is a really good example in terms of doing what they say they’re going to do. They’ve fostered a great working environment, creating and maintaining an incredible culture within Fooda. I think it’s all going to keep growing.
Can you tell us a little more about how they’ve fostered a great working environment?
If I was micromanaged, or if the company was too structured, I can honestly say I would not be as successful as I am. I think that’s part of the allure, and part of what makes the opportunity more unique, because you can pretty much forge your own strategy. If I think of something outside of the box, I’ll run it by Mark (Boston’s market director), and then we figure out a way to make it happen.
Another positive is the flexibility. I’m a single mom, the sole supporter for my son, so an accommodating workplace is obviously the type of environment I like. I am very capable and competent to run my own business, so having the opportunity to work my way helps me balance work and life, and it drives my motivation to succeed.
Can you share your thoughts about the future of Fooda?
I’m really excited about it. We constantly have new opportunities, new products, and new services. We started with popup and catering, and now we’re launching cafeteria replacement. We’re given opportunities to really expand, both in terms of who we’re working with and obviously the revenue generating opportunities.
I also love the fact that we’re opening up potentially 43 markets nationwide. It obviously gives us a lot of opportunities to grow into upper levels within the company or take on different roles. There’s a lot of opportunity given the growth trajectory we’re on.
Fooda is so relevant in the marketplace right now and I don’t see this ending anytime soon. Especially with all the “foodies” the media has created and the millennials always seeking the latest food trends. Sometimes you just find the right career opportunity at the right time. Timing is everything, Fooda is now!