September’s Taste of R365 interview blog features David Mortensen, Senior Customer Success Manager. David earned his stripes in the kitchen, starting as a dishwasher and moving his way up to general manager, executive chef, and eventually on to become Restaurant365’s customer success rockstar.
Restaurant365’s David Mortensen has so many claims to fame, it seems impossible to put one atop the list. It could be his seasoned and successful career in several restaurant kitchens, the remarkable difference he makes in the lives of restaurant operators through expert problem solving, or his beautiful, growing family. Or it could be all three, because Mortensen has achieved so much throughout his lifetime – both personally and professionally – and there’s no sign of him stopping.
Now, in his role at R365’s Senior Customer Success Manager, you can find David constantly working to foster customer success with sophisticated technology and encyclopedic industry expertise. He works with restaurant leadership, introducing them to the countless benefits of R365 and helping them better integrate into their daily operations. We sat down with David to learn about his career path, what led him to restaurant technology, his take on the importance of our solutions in the industry, and how his job allows him to really shine. Read ahead to learn about his story, dating back nearly two decades, and how he his experience informs his expertise.
What’s your favorite food?
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Johnny Carino’s in Austin, Texas.
How long have you worked at Restaurant365?
This month, I’m celebrating five years!
Tell us about your time working in a restaurant.
I first worked as a cook at Mazzio’s Pizza in Austin for two years. This job taught me how to be the best, most efficient cook on the block and really helped me perfect those skills. This was also my first time seeing inventory management in action and how important it was.
From there, I entered one of the most formative chapters of my career at Johnny Carino’s. I started there as a dishwasher and, over the course of almost nine years, I worked my way up the ladder to eventually become a general manager. This job taught me so much throughout my journey as an entry-level-hourly-employee-turned-manager, including the ability to turn CoGS into a craft. So much of the knowledge I carry with me and still use to this day is a testament to the management at this restaurant. One of my proudest accomplishments remains the work, commitment, and tenure I gave to this company!
Following Johnny Carino’s, I took on a position as a chef at Silver and Stone for about eight months. This was the first time I officially called myself a chef, a change that took place during my stint at Johnny Carino’s. There, I realized that the amount of cooking I had done over the last near-decade was enough to put me ahead of any run-of-the-mill culinary school graduate, which was a proud realization for me. I did not attend school to learn how to cook, prepare menus, or run a successful restaurant – I learned on the job and I was able to really come into my own working as a chef at Silver and Stone.
After another short chef gig, I ended up as a kitchen manager at Pluckers in Austin. At the time, this was my favorite place to eat, and I thought working there would be a really neat thing to do. At this job, I learned how sales can mask your CoGS and how to depend on my knowledge of restaurant data. Up until this point, I was managing a slower-paced restaurant. When I arrived at Pluckers, I quickly saw how to manage a busy, fast-paced restaurant that had a wait throughout most of the day. Volume was the name of the game. I was there for a few years before I became an executive sous chef at Touchpoint Services.
I spent another several years at Touchpoint, where my chef title really took off. I was tasked with being the kitchen’s facilitator by putting all the executive chef’s ideas into action. Over the course of my tenure, I learned how to develop an ambitious menu and execute it in different ways. I eventually parted with Touchpoint Services to pivot my career into restaurant technology, and later arrived at Restaurant365 as your resident senior customer success manager.
How did your career path lead you to Restaurant365?
My career path didn’t lead me here, the people I met along the way did. While I was at Touchpoint, working some pretty brutal hours away from my family, I met Kris Lake, our Senior Manager of Integration Support, at a wedding party with my wife.
I started talking with Kris and restaurants came up. At the time, I thought it was a strange topic for party conversation, but I engaged and he said I’d be a great fit at Restaurant365. He called me the next day, and the rest is history. I was so excited to find an opportunity where I could use my restaurant skills without having to clock in at 4 a.m. Since then, my life has completely changed and I’m so happy to have married my passion for the restaurant industry with a stable, rewarding job that allows me a work-life balance.
How does your daily work impact our business and the industry?
It’s my sole goal to ensure that every interaction I have equips our customers with better knowledge of how to use our solution. One common situation that I am pulled into is any issues that customers are experiencing post-implementation.
Implementing any solution is a lot of work. One thing I always recommend for anyone going through implementation is to use the product along the way so they can learn to trust it before it’s time to go live. Typically, the customer doesn’t have time to do that, so they come out of their implementation period scared that they don’t fully understand the system and lack confidence. I enjoy working with these types of customers the most. There’s a chance that they’re frustrated, but it allows me to be a problem solver. I get the opportunity to hear what they want to see, what their goals are, who is in charge and in need of training.
I consider my specialty being able to take the everyday work of restaurant workers and connecting them with R365 so that they can see the benefit to their bottom line. It’s very rewarding and really allows me to leverage my skills to orchestrate a situation where everyone leaves happy.
What do you like most about working for Restaurant365?
I really enjoy the job that I do and the people I work for. Also, the work-life balance is wonderful and really allows me to live a life that I’m content with. I enjoy the events, presentations, webinars, our customers, my coworkers, our benefits – all of it!
What impact can restaurant technology have on the operation of a successful restaurant?
I think technology makes the biggest impact when you use it to dig into the details. Sure, a restaurant’s numbers can be good, but how can you improve those metrics? Not only does tech bring these types of questions to the table, it gives you the tools to answer them. Without this information, businesses can slip through the cracks due to a lack of transparency.
What advice do you have for current restaurant industry workers looking to grow their careers?
I think this really depends on their goal. If it’s to have a good work-life balance, find a niche you enjoy and want to work hard in. For the restaurant operators looking to run a more successful business, I’d say that it’s important to learn the ins and outs of your food costs, labor, and revenue. Having this information at your fingertips will allow you to continue elevating your restaurant.
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