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Meet Tabletop Specialist, Laurel Galiger

An interview with Service Ideas


Service Ideas graciously interviewed seasoned Sales Specialist, Laurel Galiger, and we couldn't be more delighted to share the interview with our community.

Meet Our Manufacturer Reps: Mirkovich & Associates

Posted by Ann Wahlstrom on Feb 11, 2021 2:12:17 PM

LAUREL GALIGER 2019 President's Award Recipient Mirkovich & Associates Service Ideas Rep #9 MAFSI Foodservice Territory: 17 & 18

MIRKOVICH & ASSOCIATES Service Ideas Sales Recognitions: 15 Years of Service, 2016 Significant Contributor, 2015 Achievement in Sales, 2015 We spoke with Laurel Galiger, 2019 recipient of Service Ideas' honorary President's Award, to get an inside look at her experience as a foodservice manufacturers' representative at Mirkovich & Associates.

Q: How did you get your start in the foodservice industry? A: My foodservice career began behind the bar at my father’s saloon in 1979, at the age of 17. I worked every job in the restaurant—from hosting, busing tables, washing dishes, & grilling burgers. I learned so much from this experience working in our neighborhood “Cheers”—providing a feeling of comfort to our customers…this launched my love for the foodservice industry.

Q: Can you give me a brief history of Mirkovich & Associates as well as your history with the company and as a foodservice representative? A: Mirkovich and Associates in the present form has been opened for business since January 1988. For over 30 years, Mirkovich has been connecting foodservice owners, operators, and consultants with custom solutions from premier equipment, tabletop and smallware manufacturers. Prior to working for Mirkovich, I worked at my family’s restaurant and then began working for a corporate catering company. As a catering coordinator, it gave me the opportunity to learn how to develop design concepts and procure products for special events. This experience exposed me to the manufacturer reps in the Chicago Area. Beyond the excellent customer service and knowledge the reps offered—they became dear friends. Skip Casper was my Service Ideas rep—and in 2009 Skip was looking to add a new member to his team. I was happy to take the job at Casper Marketing. A few years later, Mirkovich & Casper Marketing merged. Q: How many people work at Mirkovich & Associates? A: Mirkovich & Associates is comprised of an amazing team, made up of 8 outside salespeople, 3 inside salespeople, and our talented corporate chef. While we are not technically a family-owned company, we pride ourselves on our commitment to keeping the organization running as if it were family operated. These values, teamwork, and dedication have always been and remain the core to our success. I am lucky enough to work with a great group of people! My two colleagues that support me the most in the Chicago Metro territory are Ed Chisholm and Heather Payne. Ed, Vice President, has been with Mirkovich and Associates for eight years. A wealth of knowledge in both tabletop and equipment, Ed serves as a valuable resource both in the showroom and in the field. Heather has been a Sales Associate with Mirkovich for the last year, coming from a foodservice background, spanning the last 15+ years in marketing and sales for national contract foodservice organizations and local hospitality groups. Q: What do you like most about your job? A: As a sales specialist for the past 11 years, I have been allowed to develop a sense of operational know-how which helps me flourish in the always changing world of hospitality. My experience has taught me that a customer’s dining experience begins well before the food has been plated. I personally feel that the best part of my job is listening to my customers and bringing their tabletop planning and design to fruition. My hope is to bring a fresh perspective and forward-thinking approach to every project. Q: What does your typical day look like? A: Every day is different—bringing cost effective and creative solutions to our customers is ever changing. Being in the Chicago Metro area makes it very convenient for me to do a site visit in the morning and have a showroom call in the afternoon. Each project is unique in its development of design, style, and budget. That is what makes it so much fun! Q: What does your typical customer look like? A: We offer our services to a whole range of customers--there is no “typical” customer for us. We cater to everyone from small mom and pop coffee shops to multi-unit chain restaurants, hospitals, hotels, and anywhere a commercial kitchen or merchandising within the food and beverage industry is required. Q: What types of products do you sell the most of? A: As a company, we cover a large range of products from back-of-the house equipment to front-of-the-house signage, and everything in between. I personally specialize in the tabletop sector of the business; but overall, we are really looking to be an all-encompassing resource for our customers and if we do not sell it, we are happy to direct our customers as to where it may be available because we are a resource to our clients, not just a sales team. Q: What foodservice sales territory do you cover? A: Our territory spans across all foodservice sectors, covering the traditional MAFSI Region 17 & 18 territories, which encompass Central and Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, Northwest Indiana, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Q: You were the recipient of the 2019 Service Ideas Presidents Award. What are some things you do in your daily work that contributes to the impact you have on your customers and the manufacturers you work with? A: I consider myself to be an asset to my customers. Through relationship building throughout the years, I have come to know and understand my various customers and their needs. From there, I can provide them with the best service I know how to give in a timely, professional, and caring manner. I want my customers to succeed, viewing their success as my success drives me to be able to accommodate their needs and wants—even if that means steering them in a different direction to be able to provide viable options and deliver on my promises. Integrity is key in this business and it is what I base my daily work around. Q: What are your all-time favorite Service Ideas products? A: This is a difficult question—Service Ideas has been an innovative, worldwide provider in the foodservice industry & continues to push forward by bringing quality products to an ever-expanding audience. I would have loved to have been able to sell the “Push for Service” when it was launched in 1946—BUT unfortunately, I wasn’t born yet! In 2010, Service ideas brought the “Flame-Free Urn” to market—being an exclusive product to Service Ideas with the engineering to achieve true vacuum insulation that provides 6 hours of heat retention, with no external heat source. Also, showing the customer that they could achieve a return on their investment within a matter of months was a great feature. It became a top-selling product for us and it continues to be my favorite product with the new finish options, leg styles and accessories items that are offered. Q: What is your favorite new 2020 Service Ideas product? A: Throughout the COVID pandemic, we wanted to support our customers as dynamically as possible. Their needs were changing, and our goal was to help our customers reopen and stay open with the right tools and equipment. The touchless floor & table-top sanitizer dispensers were a great addition to support our customers’ needs in 2020 and beyond. Another favorite is the Metallic Elements collection. Customers are looking to freshen their existing table-top, beverage and buffet service as the industry begins to reopen and reemerge with vibrancy, and the Metallic Elements pieces serve as the perfect on-trend solution. Website: Phone: (630) 792-0080 Fax: (630) 792-9914

Showroom Addresses: 1064 N. Garfield St. Lombard, IL 60148

1501 Paramount Dr. Suite D Waukesha, WI 53186

670 W Hubbard St, Suite 100 Chicago, IL 60654

For General Inquiries:

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