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Chef Marcus Means

Culinary Consultant Marcus Means of Sysco Atlanta enjoys helping his customers thrive—using his extensive experience to advise customers on every aspect of their business.

  • July 01, 2019

Marcus Means’ life was changed by a television commercial—and some wise words from his mother. As a child, he had cooked at his mother’s and grandmother’s knees, and as a teen he had worked his way up from dishwasher to line cook at the local Ponderosa Steakhouse. After graduating high school, Means was living at home when his mom gently suggested he find his purpose. Later, a TV commercial came on announcing: “The Pennsylvania Culinary Academy is coming to your town!” He immediately thought, “I love to cook; that’s what I want to do.”

From Student to Teacher

After culinary school, Means move toAtlanta, where he became executive chef at at a luxury hotel at age 20. He has since run several large-scale restaurants—sometimes more than one at a time—and joined Sysco Atlanta a little over three and a half years ago. What he loves most about his work as a Culinary Consultant is applying his experience by helping customers with every aspect of their business. The former student has now become the teacher. “You get to work with customers on everything from menu analysis to product selection to kitchen setup, down to where they’re going to put the fryer or flattop,” Means says. “You might have a new customer who wants to refresh their menu. We help them look at possibilities like adding new items and revamping classics, or we might recommend more cost-effective solutions to existing dishes.”

Delivering value that will
have a positive effect on
the customer’s business is
one of the most rewarding
parts of the job.

Marcus Means

Culinary Consultant
Sysco Atlanta

A Team Effort

Conducting a Business Review is a team effort, according to Means. Once he has consulted with customers beforehand and determined their needs, he will reach out to specialists such as the produce or beef buyer to show a product. “I might say to the customer, ‘Instead of using a 5×6 tomato in your kitchen, let me show you our sliced tomatoes, which save time and labor.’” The changes that come out of a business review can be simple and seem minor. You might make adjustments to a customer’s menu items to help them save a few dollars. But in the larger scheme of things, Means says, the yearly savings can amount to many thousands of dollars, making a real difference in the bottom line, and giving them more capital to invest back into the operation. “Delivering value that will have a positive effect on the customer’s business,” says Means, “is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.”