Prior to working for us at Restaurant365, Andy Meeks was a Broadway star. He appeared in Tony-award winning shows including RENT and Mary Poppins, and won a Suzi award for best actor. He has also been in many sitcoms and commercials.
We love Andy’s story and thought you would, too! Here’s an interview with Andy about his former life in Broadway and what led him to be a key Account Executive at Restaurant365.
1. How does your former life in Broadway contribute to your sales life?
I have always considered sales reps to actually be “actors” during each and every sales call to customers. If you think about it, you rehearse (practice your sales demos, talking points, “elevator pitch” etc) and perform for your customers each time you are in front of them.
So, the parallel between being on Broadway in front of audiences 8 times a week to performing and sitting in front of a group of restaurant operators is very close when it comes time to “raise the curtain and sell the show.”
Another point I think is really important in comparing the two is the passion that it takes to “perform” day after day in each of these roles.
As an actor, you put your body, voice, and family time through a lot of stress because you LOVE what you do. For me, I feel that exact same passion that I had while on stage when I am talking to a client about Restaurant365.
I have personally been very involved with creating 3 different Restaurant technology startups before finding the Restaurant365 team and company. I find such happiness and pride when I have the opportunity to demo (“perform”) for clients and give them an hour-and-a-half performance of how amazing our software is.
The best part of acting is hearing peoples’ comments after a show about how it changed their lives and how happy they are that they spent the time and money to see it. I often hear the EXACT same thing after a client has made the decision to partner with R365 and they start using our amazing software.
2. What was your favorite role?
My favorite role is about as easy to answer as it is complex. I DREAMED of being Mark Cohen in RENT since the day the show started in 1996. Literally dreamed and wished and prayed.
Keep in mind, I was a musical theatre actor in Atlanta, GA. I had never been to NYC and my dream was to be the lead role in the 3rd most successful show on Broadway. Fast forward to 2003 when my wife dared me to go to an open audition. I saved up money, went up to audition, and came back the same night. Six months later I was called to come for a callback and eventually received THE CALL to be Mark in RENT. So, without question, that is my favorite role.
But, before that happened, I played some pretty magical roles that would easily be a contender. One that is close to being number 1 was Huck in Big River. I had the honor of playing this role 3 different times. It is a musical based on the story of Huck Finn and his best friend, Jim, during their journey down the Mississippi river. Besides the music being such a transport of feelings, I love the story of friendship, love, and innocence regardless of color, age, shape, money, etc. It still remains one of the greatest shows ever written.
3. Tell us about your current acting roles.
One of the great advantages of being an employee at Restaurant365 is that the company really encourages your dreams and life outside of work. I live in Atlanta where film and commercial business has been booming.
I recently shot a national “Rooms to Go” commercial that will air next month. If you happen to see a Dad dancing with his wife and kids to the tune of “what ya gonna do with all that junk,” I’m that Dad.
I also have a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial still running where you can hear me say the tagline, “I’m drinking Dunkin’.” What’s crazy about that is I just brought on a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise as an awesome client. Talk about a parallel.
4. How did you get into sales?
I got into sales originally because I saw an ad in the paper that caught my attention. I was living in LA early in my career, and my wife and I decided to move back to Atlanta. This was well before I actually “made it.” I happened to see an ad for a sales rep for a company that sold the ads for the Fox Theatre, Chastain Park Ampitheatre, and performing venues all over Atlanta. I thought, “that’s perfect for me!”
The contact turned out to be a guy trying to get an idea off the ground for “bathroom advertising.” I ended up partnering with him for 7 successful years before I took a random trip to NYC to audition for RENT. The rest as they say, is history.
It really taught me about customers, sales, and most importantly, the restaurant business. We ended up scaling the business to restaurant restrooms, which gave me exposure to the restaurant world and what owners and staff struggle with.
5. What’s your favorite thing about working at R365?
I would have to separate my “favorite” into 2 favorites. The first is no question: I’m selling and talking about and representing the BEST product in our space. I could easily say it’s because we are the “worlds best and ONLY cloud-based accounting and operations product” but I truly believe we are more than that.
Buying our software is only a small part of what this company is. You can buy software at Best Buy. What I love about this role and this company is that you are buying Restaurant 365. EVERY single bit of our company. I never ever sell just the software. Of course, it truly IS the best software for what we offer. No question about that. It’s pretty awesome having the confidence as a sales rep that even if you lose a customer to another company, you will more than likely hear from them again because they eventually realize you are the better product.
But what I personally love is this company is all about its family of employees and family of customers. Most of the greatest shows ever written for stage all started because the dream and vision was WAY bigger than the success. We didn’t write R365 because we all just wanted to make money off of a product. We truly believe this is the greatest product for OUR CUSTOMERS.
Ask any writer and lyricist of a musical if they wrote a show because they wanted to get paid or because they absolutely believe in and love they words, story, and music they wrote. As an actor “account executive” for R365, I honestly get to perform in the lead role of the greatest show ever written for the restaurant world.
Who wouldn’t want to land that role?