Restaurant Equipment World

Orlando, Fla.

Brad Pierce is a third-generation supplier of new and used restaurant equipment. Although the restaurant supply industry has been down 41% last year alone, Pierce’s Orlando, Fla.-based Restaurant Equipment World is showing double-digit growth.

“When I mention to any of my competitors that I bought a new company airplane last year, they think I’ve lost it,” chuckles 34-year-old Pierce. “They ask me if I know how bad the economy is, and the shape our [restaurant] industry is in.” Pierce, clearly, has been undeterred.

“Some companies stay on the porch, hoping something good will happen,” he says. “Some get out there to meet customers, shake their hands, see what their problems are and sell them the restaurant equipment they need.”

Pierce has chosen not to sit idly on his Restaurant Equipment World “porch” much. Using a single-engine, turbocharged Cirrus Design SR-22, he travels much of the country. “If somebody’s going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars with us, they want to deal with somebody they know, somebody they trust,” he says. “It’s how business is done in this industry.”

Not long ago, Pierce and his accountants did a routine review of company expenses, including the cost of the company airplane. “We found it brought in much, much more than it cost,” he says. “It would be idiotic to even consider parting ways with the aircraft.”

The CEO of Restaurant Equipment World appreciates what business flying does for his company’s profitability. “It’s priceless,” he concludes.