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2 Posts authored by: krereischel

Payment partner spotlight: Jeremy Julian

 

People and customer service are the keys to winning national franchises

Like many first big opportunities, CBS landed their first national franchise through an existing relationship. A former client from a small restaurant moved to a big brand chain. Impressed by CBS’s service for his former employer, he recommended CBS for the franchise, too.


The recommendation panned out and CBS delivered the great customer service they were known for to cultivate a long-term relationship with the national franchise. This success caught the interest of other franchises and led to contracts with dozens of nationally recognized brand names such as Golden Corral Buffet & Grill, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, California Pizza Kitchen, and many others.


Julian believes that CBS’s success can be contributed to adhering to their core company value: always focus on their client’s success.

 

“First, you have to make the decision that you want to go after a different clientele. Then, you must be willing to adapt by investing in your people, your process, and your technology to adjust to what those clients are looking for. “

Beating the competition

 

Competition in the POS industry is getting more intense each year. What used to be a relatively unknown industry has exploded and even Silicon Valley has jumped on the bandwagon. So with more competition and new technologically savvy players, how does CBS continue to win?


“It comes down to two things: finding the right people, and taking care of our clients,” says Julian. “If you don’t have the right people on your team, none of it matters. We find people that have an attitude of service from sales to implementation and even our technicians.”

 

How to compete with Silicon Valley: Invest in Your Employees


The company invests heavily in their staff. In addition to training programs, CBS offers a mentoring program and promotes growth. “It’s so important to invest in your employees,” says Julian. “If you invest in them, then they stay and they grow, otherwise they are going to leave, and then you are right back where you started.”


All of this helps create a great work culture. Julian notes that at CBS there is no such thing as “that’s not my job.” Everyone must pitch in and do what is best for the client.

 

How can a VAR or ISV meet a national franchise?

 

Julian believes that when you take care of people, they take care of you. And for CBS, adhering to their core company values has paid off handsomely in terms of referrals and relationship building.

 

Happy customers are your best salespeople.


He says that it’s paramount to “Serve the customers you already have well because you never know who is going to start that next franchise. If you treat your existing customers well, they will sell your products and services for you.”

 

Trade shows and conferences are also a great way to get in front of franchise operators, particularly payment conferences, restaurant finance conferences, and restaurant technology conferences like MURTEC, the FSTECH show, and Retail Now (RSPA)

“Be in these places, be visible, and be prepared, know what you are selling and what problem you are going to solve.”

Julian also suggests sponsoring events. Franchises and corporations often host golf tournaments, general manager conferences, and charitable events.


“If you invest in their business then they will likely invest in your business.”

 

What can a VAR or ISV do to prepare to work with a national franchise?

 

When pursuing national franchises, Julian notes that you are essentially dealing with two distinct clients: the owner/operator and the corporate office. You have to pay attention to both. Even if your owner-operator is happy, you must make sure that the corporation is happy too.


“It is so important to learn how to service your clients, truly understand their needs, and learn how you can serve them,” says Julian. “And be humble and willing to adapt your business model. We’re in a service model and so are they. So if you service them they will reward you.”


To learn more about Jeremy and the entire CBS team, visit Custom Business Solutions, Inc.


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Payment partner spotlight: Jeremy Julian

Jeremy Julian has payments in his blood. He’s worked in nearly every aspect of the business his father founded 23 years ago—Custom Business Solutions, Inc. (CBS) — and has been instrumental in the company’s growth. As CBS’s Chief Operating Officer, his current focus lies in customer acquisition and successful product deployment. Julian is an optimist but also a realist and it is this blend of qualities that has contributed to CBS’s success over the years.

 

From day one, CBS has pushed the boundaries of the typical responsibilities of a value added reseller (VAR). Early on, the company began customizing the POSitouch software they resell to better meet the demands of their customers. It didn’t take long for CBS to eventually develop their own add-on POS software solutions, essentially becoming both an integrated software vender (ISV) and a VAR.

 

 

“We became an ISV about six years ago and have written our own POS software for restaurants, starting with iPad tableside ordering,” explains Julian. “Our decades of experience helped us design a POS solution that takes the best of other solutions and build it into one.” 

 

Over the years, CBS has expanded their territory by buying out other POSitouch VARs and winning business with big national franchises. As a result, CBS now supports customers across the western U.S. and overseas, with company offices in California, Colorado, and Texas.

 

Finding their niche

Based out of Irvine, CA, one hour south of Los Angeles, CBS made a point at the beginning to go after high-end, upscale, trendy restaurants – all of which require top shelf customer service. Landing these high profile accounts helped CBS develop a reputation for themselves. And it’s this reputation that led to their first wins in the national franchise space.

 

an early client helped land this payments ISV many national clients

 

“We focused on a different clientele—the restaurants everyone knows about, where Hollywood stars and movie producers dine, and we aggressively went after them and did whatever it took to get these accounts,” said Julian. “When your solutions are in these high profile accounts, everyone sees your products, and they want the same functionalities. These early wins helped open up a lot of opportunities for us to sell to local chains that often grew into national chains.”

 

CBS has always been committed to doing what’s right for the customer, customizing their solutions to better suit their customers’ needs and partnering with other solution providers when they need to. Whether joining forces with companies like Vantiv, now Worldpay, or other ISVs, this collaborative approach has made CBS successful.

“We are not rigid and insist on one way to do business,” says Julian. “Even in those cases where we can’t fulfil a client’s needs, we will go out of our way to find someone who can.”

 

“The client is the boss, they are the ones paying the bills. And if you don’t take care of them they’ll go find someone else that will.”

 

How do they keep growing?

Jeremy attributes CBS’s continued growth to being bold enough to take the risk to invest in whatever the client needs for their business.

 

the payment integration for this cruise line took over 6 months

 

For example, when the company pitched their solution to Norwegian Cruise Line, they weren’t entirely sure how they would deliver the same quality products on a cruise ship that are used in land based restaurants. But with the right team and the right attitude, CBS overcame challenges they didn’t even know existed.

 

In order to deliver a solution that would work on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, CBS invested six months of development time to customize their iPad POS solution to handle payments that roll up to the cruise ship’s rooms. They sent staff to Germany to help install the solution on the ship while it was being built, and had employees on board during the inaugural sail.

 

It was a big initial investment, but it has paid off handsomely. The Norwegian Cruise Line connection led to business with an island resort in Belize, a cruise ship in China, and another cruise ship in Europe. The company is also engaged with three other cruise lines, as well as amusement parks and grocery stores.

 

It’s bets like these that made a big impact and opened up doors CBS did not even know existed.

 

Any parting advice for new VARs or ISVs?

“Take chances. Go after clients who have big reputations. You can ride on their coattails if you do a great job.”

Here are the top 5 pieces of advice Julian offers VARS and ISVs that want to expand their business:

  • Define yourself. Who do you want to be? What problems do you want to solve?
  • Be flexible. Understand that it’s going to change. Your vision today is not what you will deliver in the end.
  • Dig deep to meet your customer’s demands. This will differentiate your company from competition.
  • Understand how to operationalize what you are delivering to your clients.
  • Know your go to market strategy.

 

For more on Jeremy at the entire CBS team, visit Custom Business Solutions, Inc.

 

Do you have a Partner Spotlight story to share?

We'd like to hear from you if you have a unique story to share in our Partner Spotlight.  Leave a comment below and we'll get in touch.