By Greg Fisher, CECS- President Grease Stop, LLC
1. How and where did your company start?
In November 2004 when I bought a dealership based in Reading, PA.
2. What area does your company service?
We currently cover a 4 hour radius from Reading including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and New York.
3. What does your company stand for?
Most companies will tell you quality. Well, to me that is understood. If you are not a quality company, you will not grow the business. The main reason, which I have learned while being a sales executive for Xerox, is that people do not make decisions based solely on price, quality, or contracts. All these are factors of the decision making process, but good service and customer satisfaction ranks highest. At Grease Stop, we have national accounts, major stadiums, mom and pops, fast foods, schools and churches. We earn the customer’s trust regardless of size, by providing excellent service and customer satisfaction. This creates a good customer-vendor relationship.
4. How did you get started in the KEC industry?
The commute, the government, and being an employee convinced me to start my own business. Without any knowledge of this industry, I had an opportunity to become a dealer of a hood cleaning company with territory back in Reading, PA, my home town. There was no business plan or process presented. I was part of approximately 15 other dealers with no experience, learning on our own and paying the price for our mistakes.
5. What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
I was a Xerox sales executive for 22 years, living in Annapolis, MD selling data center mainframe printers to the Federal government in Washington, DC.
6. What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?
First of all, I never knew about the KEC industry. What surprised me most was the amount of grease that we had to take out of the kitchen exhaust systems to make it clean. We discovered that not all hood cleaning companies would clean the entire system. We discovered that the fan did not have a hinge kit or grease containment, horizontal ducts were not cleaned, or access panels were not opened. There didn’t seem to be regulations controlling the process of cleaning within the KEC industry.
7. How did you get your passion for KEC and describe your passion for the industry in words?
In 2011, I broke away from that dealership and created Grease Stop, LLC. I wanted to learn more about the industry so I was reading the information on other KEC websites. One of the sites was Nelbud’s site, and I decided to email Nelson Dilg. He suggested that I look into joining IKECA. I checked out the IKECA website and decided this was exactly what I was looking for to gain this industry knowledge.
8. How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today?
The key to do this is in two parts. Part one: thoroughly train and certify your employees. Part two: Maintain the quality and detail of the processes. At Grease Stop, administration, management and clerical work together in the job preparation process. The technicians arrive to start their shift, read their work orders, and confirm appointments to complete their scheduled jobs. Follow-ups with picture reviews, customer calls and deficiency reports are always completed the next day. Every company basically performs the same process in cleaning. However, it is the detail and follow-up with the customer that makes the quality process outstanding.
9. What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you to achieve them?
I wanted to know the KEC industry to further my knowledge and understanding. I wanted to learn about OSHA, EPA, Worker’s Compensation, liability insurance, personnel issues, and payroll. The bi-annual meetings have opened my eyes to all of this. IKECA has also introduced to me other owners which are willing to work together for the growth of the industry. The C-10 is a perfect example of this.
10. What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
The sharing of industry knowledge, helping to make each KEC business successful.
11. What would you most want to say to the AHJ’s about our industry?
Our industry needs to work together with all the local AHJ’s. Please reach out to the IKECA members within your territory so we can help keep the industry safe from fire.
12. What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?
Take our reports more seriously and correct the deficiencies to keep your restaurant safe.
13. What is your favorite hobby?
Boating and fishing in my Cutwater on Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay.