A lofty louding for L&L Drive-Inn's Eddie Flores
EDDIE Flores, co-founder and chief executive officer of L&L Drive-Inn
and L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
, has been named Salesperson of the Year by the Honolulu Chapter of Sales and Marketing Executives International.
Flores reacted predictably, given his unique personality.
"I was lucky. I'm not a salesman. It's funny, I got a "C" in marketing in college," he laughed.
Flores has distinguished himself as an entrepreneur and community leader, said Richard Emery, president of SMEI Honolulu.
SMEI further describes him as the first Asian-American to receive designations as a Certified Business Intermediary and Designated Real Estate Instructor.
He was a high-profile mover and shaker in development of the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu, but less known is his more low-key generosity, Emery said.
"Concerned about the success of his own employees, Eddie has provided them with loans, credit, and lease guarantees," he said.
Flores is the chief proselytizer for L&L in Hawaii and on the mainland, where the chain and its rapid eastward expansion have gotten gallons of ink.
"I think it's just kind of natural. You gotta understand how to market it," which he clearly does.
More seriously, he is "very honored to receive such a prestigious award. I never expected that," and said he still doesn't know who nominated him.
Often a business banker will nominate a client, "but in this case even my banker doesn't know," a flummoxed Flores said.
He must frequently travel to the mainland but will definitely be here for the March 8 luncheon in his honor at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Restaurants & Institutions magazine places L&L Hawaiian Barbecue at No. 280 on its 2006 Top 400 Restaurant Chains list, up from No. 314 in 2005. That was with 139 locations and sales of $69.5 million, but higher placement is likely this year as there are now 170 L&L's and there are signed leases for 35 more locations this year.
The chain has suffered some closures, partly because of failure to adapt to various markets, Flores said. In Hawaii, McDonald's serves Spam, Portuguese sausage and saimin, he noted.
Those lessons learned may help as L&L moseys into Texas, where its "Hawaiian-style Texas Barbecue" will replace kalua pig with the term pulled pork, to be served with Texas-style barbecue sauce
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org