From television studios to the hottest restaurants, Los Angeles is undoubtedly the place to be to see stars, eat well, and make your mark. And no one represents that opportunity better than our own account manager, Kim Andrews. Stationed in the shining city (as well as Las Vegas, for the rest of you adventurous types), Kim is our latest Employee Spotlight, and she’s here to share just how much fun working with her clients can be!
When did you join Rewards Network?
I’ve been here a little over 3 years. I had been in sales previously, but most of my career prior to that was in the television industry. Then I gravitated into sales. When this opportunity [with Rewards Network] opened up, I thought it would be a great fit for me because I’m so drawn to very creative and open-minded people from my past experience.
What did you do in TV?
I worked for Merv Griffin, who created “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy.” I worked on [those shows] for 9 years, and I helped with all the distribution for the shows. But the greatest thing about that was I got to work in new production also, we did a lot of other pilots for different shows. I really got to be involved in the creative process for many years, so that was very exciting.
Then I was a tour manager on the road with David Copperfield, the magician. I traveled all around the country and I think now there are only four or five states I haven’t been to. That was very interesting – we lived in a bus, toured around the country, and did shows every night.
As an account manager, what are your responsibilities?
The responsibility of an account manager is to keep the clients happy and make sure that the process of working with Rewards Network is easy for them. [We] help them stay actively engaged with using our tools like the comment management system and marketing reports that we provide that can help them fine tune and tweak things in their business.
My favorite part is when I go on a welcome call, because that’s when I meet the new client for the first time. I love finding out about their journey into the business and what inspires them. A lot of them have such interesting stories. You know, many of them didn’t start out being a chef. People have had strange little paths that lead them to where they are now.
I think doing the welcome call is vital because that helps ground them into the expectations of how the program is going to flow. I can take time to go through what the marketing reports look like and getting them set up in our comment management system, because they all love to have that access to those reviews and be able to respond.
Also, when I was the tour manager for David Copperfield, I was in a different city every day. I was working with different crews and people in the cities. I find that energy exciting, so when I travel around Los Angeles and Las Vegas to the different restaurants, I’m constantly meeting people and feeling the different energies and vibes in the restaurants. There’s a lot of similarities.
What does your day-to-day look like?
Most of the week is visiting clients, bringing their reports, helping them with their account, and making sure they understand all of the new products. When we added Premier Restaurant Funding last year that was a great time to revisit a lot of people to explain the new products we have and their options. I got to talk to a lot of people and have new conversations.
What are the greatest challenges our restaurants face in the industry?
In Los Angeles, there’s so much competition and I think that some of the restaurants struggle to try to stay relevant. Of course, there are the old standards that have been around forever, but some of the newer restaurants are also trying to stay relevant and compete. There’s always somebody down the road doing the next greatest thing. So I think it’s hard for them to stay on top of everything. I find that people are asking me a lot like “What’s so-and-so doing down the street?” and they always want my opinion about what’s new and what’s happening.
Is there a client that you particularly enjoy visiting?
There’s a little breakfast and lunch restaurant called Myke’s Café and these guys are fairly young, really cool hipsters. They know everything that’s going on in LA, like the art pop-ups and any cool thing that’s going on in a warehouse downtown.
They’re known for their pancakes, but the interesting thing about these guys is this: they have a tiny little restaurant way out in the Valley, but the Kennedys will come all the way from Santa Monica and drive out to their restaurant just for breakfast. So you walk in and see Maria Schriver’s picture on the wall and Bobby Kennedy’s family. They come all the way out there to have breakfast and they’ve asked them to open another location out in Santa Monica closer for them and these guys are like “Nah, dude. We don’t want to work that hard. We just want to do our thing.”
They were written up [on Huffington Post] for the best burger – it’s called the Snicker Bro Burger. It has tiny little pieces of Snickers in the meat and it actually sounds really crazy, and they have a mole sauce on it. They come up with some concoctions you would never think of. But it’s delicious, and people flock there.
What do you like to do when you’re not on the road meeting clients?
Of course I love going to restaurants, but I also love having access to all the great events that a city like Los Angeles offers. We have some of the unique things that no one else in the country can go experience. Like we can get tickets to go see “The Ellen Show” or we can go see the Emmys.
I also enjoy going to author events, because one of the top bookstores is not far from my house and that’s where all of the celebrities and everybody does their book signings. I’m on the list and I always get the emails about Betty White’s going to be here tonight or Pharrell is going to be here tomorrow. That’s kind of my little hobby, and I have a great library full of personalized autographed books and pictures.
I think that is really fun and I love to share it on Facebook because everybody back in Ohio — and even the team in the [Rewards Network Chicago] office – love seeing my pictures and they ask questions. “Were they nice? Were they funny? What did they say?” I loved Pharrell, he was super sweet and really genuine. I think one of my all-time favorites was Betty White. I have a cute picture with her – she’s holding my hand.
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