Branching Out: Adam Deutschmann on Adaptability, Advocacy & Loving an 'Industry Rooted in Change'

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We recently sat down with Adam Deutschmann, Sales Manager for The Restaurant Source in Denver, CO to talk about what drives his passion for the foodservice industry, challenges and rewards he faces on a daily basis, and what life is like living in the Rocky Mountain region. 

Adam is no stranger to the industry. Prior to his role as Vice President of Sales & Business Development, he was the Director of Sales, and before that, a Territory Salesperson for TRS.

His experience in a variety of roles, his personable nature, and a great sense of humor have given him the ability to relate to anyone in the industry; from the president of a company to a seasoned chef to a dishwasher just starting her career. It's qualities like this that have taken him far, and will continue to do so in the future in his new role as Sales Manager in Denver.

Adam is excited to learn from his new coworkers, and even more excited to join our growing family. Welcome to the Bargreen Ellingson family, Adam!

Read below for his interview.


What interested you in going to work for The Restaurant Source?

It’s a family business where every single employee has a voice.  That was clear to me when I was in the interview process and has stayed true since I started in 2007.  I don’t know that I’ve ever been exposed to a group of people that is as diverse, passionate, and fun as our team at TRS, and that’s something all of us take a lot of pride in.  From my time in sales, I was exposed to a genuine team environment that allowed me to learn (and make a TON of mistakes) because there were amazing people around me to pick me up when I fell.  As the Vice President of Sales, it was no different.  We all have something to learn from each other every day, regardless of titles, experience, or background.

What drives your passion for the foodservice industry?

Change.  How can you not love an industry that’s rooted in change?  What’s on the menu today isn’t on the menu tomorrow, and the tools that are used to prepare food today are obsolete tomorrow.  The Chef that was calling you for help last week works somewhere else next week, and the salesperson that had an awesome month in June is fighting an uphill battle in July.  Everything in our industry is in motion at all times.  We need to adapt in a hurry and be aware that every target we’re aiming for is constantly moving.  Perpetual motion is the workhorse of our industry.

What are some of the challenges/rewards that come with working in this industry?

We face a million challenges.  From horrible logistics companies that don’t care about delivering on time to a customer who isn’t willing to pay for service, to a backorder from a manufacturer who just told you the item was in stock.  Largely, our sales teams fight most of these battles and my role is to advocate for them when appropriate, which means the advocacy never stops.  We try to arm our people with the most relevant, up to date, and accurate data that’s available and empower them to make good decisions.  In short, the biggest challenge is nothing more than a process but the greatest reward is allowing the people who fight in the trenches to be a winning advocate for their customers. 

Describe a common problem that your customers face. How do you resolve this?

Staffing.  I know owners of amazing restaurants that would give anything for a reliable line cook or dishwasher.  The way we resolve this is to have a giant network and try to build relationships with all people in our industry.  If you treat a dishwasher with the same respect you treat a restaurant owner, you’ll soon find that you know a lot of dishwashers (and those are the people that really run the business).

What is the most rewarding customer story you experienced recently?

It happens every month or so.  My phone rings from someone I haven’t talked to in a long time, or ever before, and they say something to the effect of: “I just wanted you to know your salesperson ________ does an absolutely amazing job for us and that’s why we buy our stuff from you.  They’re responsive, intelligent, and know what they’re doing.”  It amazes me how incredible our team is, and what’s important to convey to customers is that it wasn’t just the salesperson who helped them.  It was the people in the warehouse, the people in accounting, the people in purchasing, etc.  It’s a choreographed dance and we only get compliments when it goes perfectly.  I sound like an emotional parent, but I digress…

Describe a few items or equipment that are often overlooked but should be in every kitchen. Why?

A dry-erase board, a single point of contact, a good preventative maintenance schedule, patience, a great pair of shears, and a killer prep-cook (oh, and a reliable dishwasher).  Not all of those are “items” but they’re far more important than fancy plating-spoons or an overpriced mixer.

What are you most looking forward to in the near future?

A round of golf that doesn’t involve checking emails.  Blending two great companies - The Restaurant Source and Bargreen Ellingson - into an absolute powerhouse.  Watching the people on our team take over the Rocky Mountain region.  Going to battle with Jason Wirth instead of against him.  Listening to David and Eric Ellingson wax poetic on why Bargreen Ellingson is the best company to work for; they really get into it - it’s awesome.  Using a 10-weight fly rod instead of longingly watching it sit in my garage.  Getting to learn from amazing people, both here in Denver and around the country.

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Fishing in Denver, CO

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Enjoying time with family

What is your best advice for working in this industry?

This is a relationship industry on steroids.  Those relationships aren’t just with a salesperson and customer, they are with all aspects of the industry whether you’re a delivery driver or president of a company.  Treat people the way you want to be treated and don’t ever tell a lie and great things will come.  It also doesn’t hurt to be good at math…


You can find Adam Deutschmann at TRS in Denver, CO at 5005 Washington St, Denver, CO 80216

Chloe is the Social Media and Marketing Coordinator for Bargreen Ellingson. She is an avid reader, loves London Fog lattes and her budgie, Brodie.
Topics: Branching Out Interviews