An interview with FLAT® Tech CEO, Barry Mancell
As the FLAT® Tech team prepares for this year’s National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show® (NRA Show), we had the opportunity to have a conversation with the company’s CEO about their plans and goals for this year. Building a team of industry experts that can help FLAT Tech better serve their customers with the best products and the best service has been the highest priority for Barry Mancell (FLAT’s CEO). After all, when your entire product line is based on creating a better customer experience, that experience begins at the very top.
Interviewer: Tell me a little about your career and your experience leading you to the CEO position with FLAT Tech.
Barry: I originally started my professional career as an accountant. For a number of years, I worked for the largest Contract Pharmaceutical Manufacturer in Australia as the Financial Controller. As I progressed through my career, I had the opportunity to work as a General Manager for several businesses in telecommunication sales and outbound direct sales channels. I became the CFO for FLAT in 2010 and became FLAT’s CEO towards the end of 2018. Since then, I have been building a world class team for the North American market.
Interviewer: What are some of the guiding principals that have brought you success throughout your professional career?
"Honesty and integrity have always been something that I’ve allowed to guide my professional career. Working with others in whom I see these traits has always given me confidence in our ability to meet whatever goals we set."
Then it’s just about the work, you have to be willing to go the extra mile to really stand out in any industry. I also have a real passion for sales, thanks in large part to my background working in direct sales channels. Having previously worked in a manufacturing environment, I recognize the best path to continue sales growth is a tireless drive for new innovations.
Interviewer: How have you integrated those principals into your leadership role at FLAT Tech?
"My first task as the new CEO has been to build the best sales and service organization to serve our customers."
I have recruited a new U.S. FLAT Tech team this year that shares these core values, and understand the way our company operates and serves the industry with our products.
Interviewer: What attracted you to the FLAT Tech organization?
Barry: I was really impressed with the innovative products FLAT Tech was developing. The patented, auto adjusting FLAT tables bases and FLAT Equalizer feet for existing tables, are products that solve issues (wobbly and misaligned tables) that exist around the globe.
"As an Australian native, I’ve really enjoyed promoting an Australian company that is leading the industry in creating the most effective product solutions to such a widespread issue."
I’ve always been very impressed with the FLAT Tech organization and all the professionals we have on our team – we have always committed to recruiting exceptional team members.
Interviewer: With the addition of Nils Hughes, and several other new sales professionals, it seems there has been a new strategy for growth implemented by the FLAT Tech organization. Can you share the new vision for the brand?
Barry: There are a lot of high value opportunities within the U.S. market, and we have decided to work with some great new partners within the direct distribution model to enhance our sales channels within the U.S. We understand that these sales channels will be key to ensuring that FLAT Tech achieves our goals for the forthcoming years.
"We now have the widest availability of products across the U.S. in the company’s history to support the needs of end-users."
Interviewer: How has the U.S. market been different from other global markets FLAT Tech has done business in?
Barry: The direct channels have a number of key food equipment suppliers with unparalleled networks that provide direct access to a large number of chains and restaurants.
"Personal relationships are extremely strong, and we have aligned the FLAT Tech brand with appropriate partners to ensure growth targets are achieved."
The U.S. market is unique and is not replicated in other global markets where FLAT Tech currently does business.
Interviewer: With the successful launch of FLAT Equalizers in 2018, what are your plans to grow this market segment this year?
Barry: We recognize that the dining experience of customers is becoming increasingly more important for chains and restaurants. FLAT Equalizers are a low cost, immediate solution for restaurants to ensure they provide a quality dining experience for their customers. This is a key market for FLAT Tech that we intend to concentrate on this year.
"A number of big chains we’ve had meetings with see Equalizers as an immediate solution to fix their existing wobbly table issues."
When a location is scheduled for refurbishment or a new opening taking place, new FLAT table bases are then installed. The launch of FLAT Equalizers has really created outstanding strategic flexibility for customers as they can choose to buy new FLAT table bases or fix their existing tables with FLAT Equalizers. This new product empowers customers to have a fast and easy to install solution that meets their needs.
Interviewer: What differentiates the FLAT tech product lines, and service, from other table stability options in the market?
Barry: Everything really. There is no other product on the market that compares with the FLAT Tech range. We have the largest line of unique self-stabilizing table bases on the market, with over 50 different styles and designs to choose from.
"As a global product vendor, we also see a lot of emerging trends in the restaurant and hospitality markets that allow us to develop innovation for future markets."
As a thought leader, we work very hard to ensure that our partners and customers get the very best technology available to serve their customers a perfect experience.
Our table bases are by far the best option for any new dining room installation. The bases adjust automatically to flooring surfaces, and then lock into place offering a stable table. Another unique feature of our table bases is that they allow you to quickly and effectively align multiple tabletops for larger parties - just tilt or lift one edge of tabletop in alignment with another, and the base locks in place for a perfectly smooth flat continuous surface.
FLAT Equalizers pack a lot of the same core features enjoyed in our line of table bases in a set of table feet that can be quickly and easily installed on most standard table bases. Just unscrew the old feet and install the Equalizers. The only difference being that - since the feet are separate rather than connected together like in our FLAT table bases - you just need to provide a gentle press to the top of the table to stabilize the feet. You also get the same alignment benefits from FLAT Equalizers as well.
Our products are truly unique in design and performance and are a cost effective insurance to protect your brand and your customer’s dining experience.
Interviewer: Are you attending the NRA Show this year? Why is this an important show for FLAT Tech?
Barry: Yes, absolutely!
"The NRA Show is one of the most important shows of the year for FLAT Tech. It gives us the opportunity to meet our existing partners and build relationships with new customers as well."
It is our most effective opportunity to demonstrate the FLAT Tech difference with prospects from the U.S. and global attendees.
Interviewer: As attendees prepare for the NRA Show, what can they look forward to in their time with you, and the rest of the FLAT Tech team at the show?
Barry: The show is a great opportunity for visitors to see all the FLAT products on display, and see them in action with a quick demonstration. Our team, including Nils Hughes, and myself will be on hand to answer questions and show how different our products are from other offerings on the market.
"We still get a real “wow” factor when customers see how our FLAT tables bases and FLAT Equalizers in action."
We will also be offering some special show promotions specifically for attendees, so it’ll definitely be worth stopping by.
Interviewer: Where can attendees find FLAT Tech at the NRA Show?
Barry: We are in booth 3088, which will be an entirely new exhibit design and demonstration area for us this year.
Interviewer: What is the best way for restaurant owners and operators - as well as equipment dealers and distributors - to connect with the FLAT Tech team?
Barry: If you’re going to be at the NRA Show, simply come by our booth. One of our professionals will be happy to meet with you and answer any questions. If you’re not attending, you can contact our team by calling (855) 999-3528, visit our website at www.flattech.com, or follow us on our social media. Our goal is to be available to anyone ready to fix their wobbly and misaligned tables once and for all.