Meet The Disruptors: Brian Duncan Of HungerRush On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry
An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Prioritizing treating your team members with respect, responding promptly, and helping them when they least expect it creates a culture of compassion that will shine through to all your customers.
As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Duncan.
Brian Duncan is an experienced business development and sales leader with more than twelve years of leadership experience in strategy, director, and consultative selling roles. He specializes in SaaS sales for startups and Fortune 1000 companies, team building, sales strategy, C-level negotiations, and new business development.
HungerRush is driving the transition from the POS terminal of the past to the integrated POS system of the future. They call it the HungerRush 360 Restaurant Experience, making possible a 360-degree view of everything a restaurant needs to succeed, from the guests served to the operations and employees serving them. HungerRush can be found online at HungerRush.com
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this career path?
As a Civil Engineering major at Purdue, I already knew that hospitality was a specialty I wanted to be involved in. I’ve worked with a variety of companies since that time, including Hilton Hotels and Revolution Foods. In 2015, I founded Chowly, a POS company that integrated directly with third-party delivery platforms. Joining HungerRush in April 2020 as Director of Business Development gave me an incredible experience to leverage my knowledge in technology and hospitality. I’ve been committed to making a significant impact here in both growth and sales.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
HungerRush is really disrupting the way that restaurant franchises grow, scale, and satisfy our customers. The COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges to restaurants, and many are still trying to level out with a new normal of technology. Additionally, the onslaught of apps available to restaurants makes it overwhelming to make smart decisions. Add to that the challenge that many of these apps for ordering are often laser focused on meeting the needs of chain and larger restaurants, leaving the smaller restaurants behind. HungerRush is advocating and leading restaurants into a new world focused on multi-channel ordering that fits with changing consumer needs.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I think the funniest mistake I have made was, at a young age, I accidentally hit “reply all” for an internal networking event which copied over 300 external clients. Unfortunately, about 100 additional guests showed up and we spent nearly ten times our budget, but ultimately strengthened some relationships and even signed new business. I guess the lesson learned is never to underestimate the importance of relationship building and more importantly a good happy hour!
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
There have been a few mentors along the way that I believe have helped mold me into the person I am today. The first people I must mention are my father and brother; each of whom challenged me to excel in all aspects of life and to never settle. They taught me there is no substitute for hard work.
I also learned how to lead from Mike Pitcher, former CEO of LeasePlan USA. During his time at LeasePlan, Mike helped our company to reach unforeseen revenue goals and ushered in expansions into new territories. But the one thing I took away from my time working under him was not about how he grew the company, but how he knew every one of his 400 employees’ names and never missed an employee’s special occasion or funeral. He made time to introduce 24-year-old me to global executives and include me in corporate meetings, opening my eyes to what’s possible.
What I have learned from the people mentioned above is that good leaders and good businesspeople are synonymous with successful companies.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
Disruptive is almost always a good thing. Change can be uncomfortable, but if you’re not changing, you’re not growing. That being said, sometimes technology or business process that withstands the test of time is the definition of disruptive. The key is to maintain an appetite for change and growth and build that into the fabric of your business model.
Can you share five of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- There is no more important customer than the internal ones you work with every day.
- Prioritizing treating your team members with respect, responding promptly, and helping them when they least expect it creates a culture of compassion that will shine through to all your customers.
- One person can be a crucial ingredient to a team, but one person cannot make a team.
- Any company or person can grow without collaboration or skill alone, but I never saw real exponential growth until I embraced working with other organizations and team members.
- Goals must never come from ego alone, but from problems that cry for a solution.
- Past companies that I created eventually became lucrative but that was never the goal. Understanding the pain felt by a large portion of a business segment and providing a cost effective and easy to implement solution, was what drove business.
- Build for what you think you’re going to need not for what you have.
- I have worked with developers across the board but the ones who have helped the company grow the most have the foresight to build products that are easily adaptable and ready to scale. With the speed at which tech moves if you build for what you need today you will always be a step behind.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
At its core, my role as Director of Business Development is to bring growth to HungerRush. The restaurant industry is constantly innovating, and it’s important to not only strive for big brands, but also work to keep current customers happy and give them the same opportunities for innovation as larger new brands. In order to grow our business, my role also requires that I’m in the know on our product development and innovation. On the technology side, our development team is always looking to leverage innovation in our offerings. That’s why we acquired OrderAI, and now have our OrderAI Text feature, which for example, Jet’s has rolled out. Since adopting the OrderAI Text feature, Jet’s Pizza has fulfilled 2 million text orders, tripling digital sales. That’s what we’re ultimately trying to do- help businesses optimize their full potential.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
The First 90 Days by J.D. Meir
At this point in my career, I take roles that have lofty financial growth goals but provide me with little training and I often have no roadmap of how to get there. My goal is to get up to speed as fast as possible so that I can provide an immediate impact and help the company scale in a short amount of time. The First 90 Days provides a roadmap on how to succeed in this exact environment. It does not just provide a high-level theory but lays out detailed plans on how to promote yourself within the business, have early wins, and even anticipate potential pitfalls.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Family comes first!
Putting my family and close friends first has helped me to excel in my personal and professional career further than I ever thought possible.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Hire people that you would never socialize with, promote people who are from the opposite background as yours, and grow with people from a completely different industry. I truly believe that our strengths come from our differences allowing us to look at problems from a unique angle. Diversity in thought, gender, ethnicity, and age will provide light to navigate in a corporate world while companies made up of similar minds can only see what is directly in front of them.
How can our readers follow you online?
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-j-duncan/details/experience/
- HungerRush Twitter: https://twitter.com/HungerRushRMS
Thank you so much for these excellent stories and insights. We wish you continued success on your great work!
Meet The Disruptors: Brian Duncan Of HungerRush On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.