I’m very happy to announce that we are expanding our focus beyond healthcare. Some smart people in the restaurant and aviation sectors asked us to “do what we do” for them and their peers.
After a lot of due diligence, after assuring ourselves that many senior executives in the restaurant and aviation sectors probably would appreciate our particular niche expertise and operating model, we said “yes.”
Our new Restaurant Practice:
Ben Kitay leads our Restaurant Practice. Just before joining Enliven, Ben was Global Vice President for Subway’s purchasing arm IPC. Subway is now the largest quick serve restaurant chain in the world. Over the last thirteen years, Ben negotiated most of Subway’s beverage deals with Coke, Pepsi, and other beverage suppliers in the U.S. and in many other countries where Subway operates. In the process, Ben established a new gold standard for achieving net savings with such deals.
Prior to that, he was a C-level operator at several national and international restaurant chains, including Cinnabon, Sarku Japan, GameWorks (Sega) and Crazy Crepes. Ben negotiated beverage deals for all of these restaurant chains.
And prior to that, he spent fifteen years in the fountain unit at Coca-Cola USA and Coca-Cola Japan, where he played a key role in designing and negotiating hundreds of Coke’s beverage deals with major restaurant chains from 1985 to 2000. During this time, he also negotiated Coke’s sponsorship and exclusive supply agreements with Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Osaka.
So . . . no one knows more than Ben what, exactly, a great restaurant beverage deal is. No one knows more about how to negotiate one, what such a deal should have, what’s possible, what’s preferred, what’s going to please (or frustrate) franchisees, what’s likely to go wrong if not managed properly.
“I know that most restaurant chains do not have optimal beverage agreements in place,” Ben told me matter-of-factly. “I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been the guy at Coke who competes with Pepsi and then negotiates and implements the exclusive agreement with restaurants. And I’ve been the restaurant COO and supply chain exec who negotiates with both Coke and Pepsi, selects a partner and then implements the company’s beverage deal. I look forward to sharing the benefits of my unique experience with Enliven clients.”
The more we dug into the restaurant sector, the more it became obvious that it is very different from the hospital sector.
Beverage sales and margins are always critical to a restaurant chain’s profitability. Every restaurant chain executive knows this, and is focused on it. Most have some experience “doing a beverage deal” on their own.
“Are you sure that we can really add value in this sector,” I asked Ben.
“Absolutely,” he asserted. “For a variety of reasons, most restaurant chains leave money on the table—most leave a lot of money on the table. Most don’t know what the key elements of a really good deal are. They only know what their deal is. They are at a disadvantage when they come up against seasoned Coke and Pepsi negotiators.”
So . . . we decided that we could and should, in fact, open a Restaurant Practice. The decision was easy once we convinced Ben to lead this new practice area for us.
Our New Aviation Practice:
Martin Strobel leads our Aviation Practice. Prior to joining Enliven, Martin was a long-term marketing and strategy consultant to airports, airlines and key aviation contractors. His experience includes numerous assignments with the Nashville International Airport; assistance launching two international carriers in the U.S. – CityBird Airlines based in Brussels and Air Europa based in Madrid; and work with Gresham, Smith and Partners, one of the nation’s largest architectural and engineering firm’s serving the aviation industry.
Martin is perfectly prepared to ensure that our airport and airline clients secure the best exclusive beverage agreements possible with Coke and Pepsi. He knows the aviation sector inside and out, knows how to manage varied retail operations on a large, enclosed campus, and knows how to leverage Enliven’s unparalleled beverage expertise in the restaurant and hospital sectors to maximum advantage for airports and airlines.
“You need to do what you do for airports,” a senior beverage executive urged me, as we did our due diligence on this sector. “Many of the same dynamics are in play there that are in play with large hospitals—there are middle men that take a heavy toll from Coke and Pepsi but provide no real value to us in return, lots of willful obfuscation on the part of these middle men, lots of legacy business practices that do not benefit the beverage companies or the host airports. We’d much rather have a direct relationship with the airport itself. And we’ll pay handsomely for that relationship.”
Hmm. Airports. Let me think about that . . . Seems like we can do for airports what we normally do for hospitals, i.e., bring our unique expertise in negotiating and managing exclusive pouring rights agreements, bring transparency, bring a big wheelbarrow full of “found money,” and bring clear, actionable business intelligence to beleaguered senior execs who had no idea that they were missing out on so much value, for so long.
So I reached out to Martin, an old friend and former co-worker. He was intrigued enough to dig deeper, and we both sat down with one of Martin’s colleagues, an even more accomplished and senior aviation consultant.
Long story short, we all concluded that airports and airlines do make sense for us. We realized that we really can create significant financial value for airports and airlines by helping them negotiate and manage the best possible direct, exclusive partnership with Coke or Pepsi.
I did not have to twist Martin’s arm to get him to run our new Aviation Practice. Knowing our legacy healthcare practice as well as does, he was very confidant that we already had the beverage business expertise and the people and processes in place to deliver real value to large, sophisticated airports and airline companies.
The Next Step You Should Take:
Why not put Enliven’s beverage deal experience and expertise to work for you?
There’s no up-front cost. No-risk. Our only compensation will be a small percentage of the incremental value that we create for you.