What does an account executive order when they walk into a bar? Some might ask for a glass of water or even a Diet Coke, but Jewell Walker's got a different goal. While delivering SpotOn brochures to a bar in the Seattle area, Jewell first asked the general manager a very important question: could he quickly borrow a broom? Before the manager said a word, Jewell pointed to some broken beer bottles outside the bar, insisting he'd clean it up himself. He returned right away, smiling and holding the broom like some magic wand, only to find an ice-cold lemonade on the bar counter. Next to it, a small note that read — Jewell thank you! :)
Later that day, as Jewell described SpotOn's bar point-of-sale system to the staff, one of the bar owners mentioned how amazing it felt to encounter someone who could actually hold a down-to-earth conversation. Thankfully, as a SpotOn account executive, Jewell isn't afraid to spill the secret to a genuine conversation. He knows bars and restaurants aren't looking to hear another pep talk about the latest technology. They want to be heard as real people with real concerns, and Jewell plans to be the one to listen.
Jewell first learned the power of conversation when he was just a child. His father, who owned a hotel and restaurant, let a young Jewell set up a tiny snack stand in the hotel corner. Even though Jewell was a bit shy at first, he quickly learned that his customers weren't only a walking wallet with a dollar bill to spare. They were real people. Sure, anyone could enjoy a refreshing drink or a delicious candy bar, but Jewell decided to let a genuine interaction become the most memorable treat he could provide. He’d strike up conversations with every type of customer, speaking to them as if he was meeting up with an old friend he hadn’t seen in a while.
When I talk to people, it's not all about business. I'm genuinely asking about their life, their family, their plans for the Fourth of July.
As a teen, after he graduated from the hotel snack shop and moved on to work in retail, Jewell knew he wasn't only going to sell a few bowties every week. He was there to see how to break past each client’s expectations before they even met him. He specifically remembers a customer who called, urgently asking for a pair of dress shoes since his wedding was the next day. Right when Jewell got the call, he immediately had a game plan in mind.
"Before I even found the shoes for him, I asked where I could meet him," says Jewell. "I wanted him to know I was approaching the situation with the calmness I'd want under the same circumstances. If I work with you, I will do everything in my power to make sure you're happy first." Not surprisingly, Jewell delivered the perfect wedding shoes to the groom on time, all without letting the pressure of the situation intervene.
While he loved helping customers find the right tie to match their suits and smile, Jewell’s time in retail made him realize there was so much more to experience. So he took on various jobs, seeking a broader world perspective. One of his most important life lessons came to Jewell when he worked as an assistant production manager for up-and-coming musical talents like Destiny's Child and Ludacris. Even though this time in the music industry was short-lived, his work with different artists taught Jewell there wasn't one way to hear and amplify a person's voice. Jewell started to actively listen for everything that wasn't said or heard. If the talent didn't believe in the power of their own voice, Jewell let them know they had a reason to be celebrated.
That need to celebrate others soon motivated Jewell to switch to the bar and restaurant space. Since he missed seeing people smile thanks to his hard work, Jewell and some friends started the Safari Club, a nightclub and grill in the Seattle area. Right when it opened, the Safari Club became the perfect opportunity to befriend a spectrum of different personalities and talents. Jewell felt right at home by creating a place where people danced and dined on fantastic food. Unfortunately, as the Safari Club became more popular, Jewell and his partners started to feel financial pressure which meant operations were stretched thin. It eventually led to the club's closure.
Now that we have the right solutions, I never want our clients to feel like they're doing it alone or aren't being heard.
The Safari Club’s closure proved to Jewell that a bar or restaurant's success relied on factors existing beyond its control and awareness. Jewell, however, knew that there was a lot to be learned from his experience that could help other businesses. "The Safari Club was a fun ride, but our pain points really drained us, especially when it came to labor management and inventory control,” says Jewell. “It wasn't easy then, and it still isn't easy now. Of course, this was all a long time ago, before SpotOn was even a company.” He wanted to be the one to help different bars and restaurants regain control over those factors by using the right tools and tech to sculpt branding, sales, and more.
That's why, after the Safari Club, Jewell worked with Muzak, a company specializing in background music for different types of businesses. Jewell, however, wasn't just going to sell a catered playlist of background music for different businesses. He was there to help restaurants build the exact experience they'd always imagined. "To an outsider, the music and sounds at a restaurant shouldn't seem like a big deal,” Jewell explains. “But restaurants know there's a problem if guests can't chew their steak in peace. I'd help clients build the right sound so guests could feel calm as they contemplated buying a second bottle of wine."
Now at SpotOn, Jewell isn't afraid to use his fearless listening to its full potential. In one of his most memorable client interactions, Jewell walked into Bourbon Jack's Honkytonk Grill. The grill had been considering switching to a new point-of-sale system like SpotOn. Of course, Jewell was already gearing up to chat with every staff member about their time working in the bar, ensuring that his conversation focused on their own experiences, not just their current tech.
As a result of his active listening and trademark charm, Jewell managed to get a holistic view of Bourbon Jack's operations beyond their POS system. What did the grill do when they had trouble adding more orders during rush hour? What would happen if the waitresses couldn't seat guests fast enough? Jewell quickly made it his duty to show where and how SpotOn could be leveraged as the exact solution to those issues. Once they signed onto SpotOn, Jewell was even there at the installation to ensure that manager and employee concerns were still being heard and resolved.
"I'm always ready to talk to people, see where our voices can take us. I'm here to show it's about hospitality, not sales. At SpotOn, we're not dealing with a cookie-cutter POS system. I'm here to help our new clients discover the exact features to fit their operations and perfect the customer experience. SpotOn can help them engineer their menus and build an efficient waitlist system, all while showing we're still there to listen."
Breaking past that cookie-cutter mentality, especially when it comes to sales, makes Jewell one of SpotOn’s many hidden gems. After all, it’s about making restaurants and bars shine.