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Jay Tristan, Jeans Restaurant Supply, Corpus Christi, Texas

Jay had his first taste of the foodservice industry when he joined the great team at Jean’s Restaurant Supply. “Although I hadn’t previously stepped foot in a commercial kitchen, I have always had a passion for consultative sales and customer service, which I believe gave me a competitive advantage for my current position. Now that I have been in the industry, I have developed a passion for knowledge across the breadth of commercial foodservice products, both large and small,” says Tristan.

He began his sales career selling fire-retardant uniforms to oil and gas service companies. He then pivoted into accounts receivables factoring, working with importer-exporters hauling freight across the Texas/Mexico border. “When I hit my late 20’s, I realized that I did not enjoy working with truckers and oil companies. That’s when I found an opportunity at Jean’s.”

Jay is dedicated to Jean’s Restaurant Supply and has a ‘whatever it takes’ attitude. “I, like every one of my coworkers, wear many hats at Jean’s. I answer phones, work the front counter, inside sales, outside sales, site evaluations, accounts receivables, and inventory. I am currently training to provide comprehensive foodservice consulting to bars, restaurants, and schools. Our ancillary services include advising on the right location, parking lot design, menu ideation, submittal drawings, and MEPs, I have also begun getting my feet wet in AutoCAD.”

To sincerely express the same passion for your customer’s business as they do, is the foundation for strong, loyal, and enjoyable relationships that last forever.

He sincerely enjoys helping customers achieve more efficient operations and sharing the knowledge he gains about product solutions with them. “As we all know, opening a bar or restaurant can be an incredibly stressful endeavor. Restauranteurs put it all on the line to achieve their dream. At the end of the day, getting to the Grand Opening is only part of the battle. I believe in our company vision, which is ‘To provide knowledge so that success is the only option’. Helping our customers remain open is my focus.”

Jay says his main focus is on partnering with operators to navigate the challenges presented today.  “At the moment, the project that has all our attention is the adaptation of bars, restaurants, and schools post-pandemic. Every establishment, big and small, is being forced to adapt to social distancing and sanitary safety. Not to mention the constant changes in state and federal guidelines as well as local code. We are all trying to “build the plane mid-air” and those challenges have given us foodservice professionals the opportunity to display our knowledge and expertise to all of our customers, many of whom are struggling to say the least.”

Jay is very motivated when it comes to training.  He is one of the top five high achievers in the SPECS Online training forum. He has completed 80 SPECS courses. “Aside from my many experienced colleagues and manufacturer representatives, SPECS has been my favorite resource to lean on to expand my product knowledge. The most beneficial SPECS courses, in my opinion, are the personal development courses. Whether it be sales or customer service, these courses are challenging and rival the best sales training sessions I have ever attended. SPECS courses have allowed me to internalize the information shared with us at the National Sales Conferences. Like we all say, SEFA National Sales Conferences are like drinking out of a fire hose, there’s no way you’re going to get everything. The ability to revisit that knowledge, at my own pace, allows me to have more control when interacting with customers.”

Jay is dedicated to the SEFAPro program and takes full advantage of every training opportunity available to him.  “Networking on a professional level with the awesome men and women representing so many amazing factories is hands down my favorite part of the SEFA National Sales Conferences. Not only can you connect and banter about trends in the industry, but every single factory rep that I’ve met has given me all of their information and strongly encouraged me to use them as a resource. The same is true for other attendees who I’ve met during my time at SEFA.”

There’s nothing better for professional growth than mentors that have the qualities you respect and strive to achieve.

Jay has great professional influences and talks about how he is inspired by a couple of people he truly respects. “I am greatly inspired by the President and Vice President of Jean’s Restaurant Supply. David and Bobak Mostaghasi have a tireless work ethic that never stops. When businesses started closing and the lockdowns became a reality, I was more than a little concerned about my future at Jean’s. Instead of layoffs, David kept everyone on board and took that opportunity to increase our company’s product knowledge by utilizing remote learning sessions daily. When we got back to work, I found myself selling a lot more hoods and ice machines throughout Texas.”

Jay was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. “I’ve got a cozy place just one block away from the Corpus Christi Bay and just a stone’s throw away from Jean’s. I have been playing guitar for 20 years and love playing on days off. I have a passion for cooking! Hearing about my customer’s dishes and methods truly excites me. I am the youngest of four and my parents always said that I am the only one of my siblings that truly loves to cook. I definitely get it from my mother. My mother is in printing sales and would work all day long just to come home to make dinner for the family. She would even clean up after. I’m still not sure how she did it. My father is our family’s pit-master and is a true patriarch.”

“At the end of 2019, I anticipated the biggest, most lucrative year in restaurant history. Now, during this unbelievably hard year, I am so optimistic that we will all come back stronger. I believe that is a testament to the awesome people in the American restaurant industry. Together we will look back at 2020 as the year that made us who we are!”

SEFA is proud to recognize Jay Tristan as Featured SEFAPro. Jay is dedicated to staying on top of industry trends and learning about new equipment and supply solutions for his customers.  He builds relationships based on integrity, honesty, and trust. He is a true asset to the foodservice industry. Congratulations, Jay!