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Meet Cory Yates

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cory Yates.

Cory, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Originally, my “restaurant career” began in Colorado, selling cleaning products and dish machine products over a large geographical area. Eventually, I sold that company to my manufacturer and moved to Arizona. I started a new, but very similar, business here in 1997, Accurate Chemical.

Continually learning how to help other professionals succeed helped me succeed. I accepted mentoring from whoever was willing to give it. I was hungry for any entrepreneurial pursuit available related to the restaurant industry. The passion of the people I dealt with mesmerized me. Everyday, I learned new and different aspects of the industry, but mostly centered my attention on supplying commodities.

After seven years, I sold Accurate Chemical; I had burnt myself out. I wanted the entire company’s existence to revolve around my problem solving skills, but had yet to learn that I needed to rely more heavily on the talent I had around me to make my job “small”, to allow the time for critical thinking about strategy and deployment of my business plan. Nevertheless, the business was successful, albeit stress-filled.

After a three year stint as a real estate agent, I jumped back in with renewed vigor, starting Remington Restaurant Equipment Repair. Through all of the years I had previously spent in the industry, I had built many great relationships and Remington flourished. I continued my personal and professional growth. During my ownership of Remington, I met Edgar Martinez, my current business partner and technician-extraordinaire.  The best in the West! After six years of owning Remington, there came an offer to sell. The timing was excellent and in 2012, I sold that business.

In 2015, after building and selling another business not related to the restaurant industry, Edgar and I teamed up to start Alpha & Omega Restaurant Equipment Repair. Starting from zero, we have built a solid foundation with a great portfolio of top-shelf clients and employees that take great care of us (and we, I believe, take great care of them, as well). Finally, with the ownership of Alpha and all of the fantastic talent, Edgar and I have surrounded ourselves with, I now realize the value of what Steve Jobs once said…” why hire smart people and tell them what to do…hire smart people and have them tell you what to do”. Today, I feel blessed beyond words and thank all of those talented individuals who trust Alpha & Omega with the tools of their professional career, so that I (we) can continue to build our professional career(s).

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road has been rough; most of it self-inflicted. Not realizing the strains caused by being “married” to my career cost me a real marriage, a rough relationship with my son (because I wasn’t “present” amidst some really bad decisions) and several great friendships along the way.

Many of those people have accepted my apologies; some, not so much. Looking back, I call it the “steam roller effect”…I just kept moving forward, no matter what was in front of me. I did that with little emotion, awareness and concern for the damage I was creating. It was all about conquering the next obstacle.

That tunnel-vision “win at all costs” drive cost me dearly personally and, even though I was successful professionally, I now understand the value of being in the moment, not always thinking about business, while ignoring or delaying many other daily occurrences with those that I love and that love me back. I now recognize that compartmentalization of stresses and strains caused by work/business owner is vital. As exciting and engrossing as work can become, you must be able to detach, rest your mind, body and soul and always stay connected to your “safety nets”.

Please tell us about your business.
As our name describes, we repair and service all types of restaurant equipment, from the roof-top (A/C’s. exhausts and swamp coolers) down to the ground floor (reach-in coolers and freezers, walk-in coolers and freezers, ice machines, ovens, grills, fryers and hand-held equipment, etc.). More recently, we have begun a new equipment installation program for our clients and various equipment supply vendors.

When my business partner, Edgar and I wrote the business plan, our focus was (and still is) quick response times and “as quick as possible” repairs. You see, because a savvy restauranteur’s goal is to maximize the dining area and minimize the kitchen area, there isn’t a lot of room for redundancy in food preparation and storage equipment. When a critical piece of equipment fails, it needs to be up and running as quickly as possible to help our clients meet their client’s needs. Our goal is to always meet our client’s expectation for rapid, accurate diagnosis and repair. We’re honored that our clients trust us with that responsibility.

Regarding accurate diagnosis and repair, we are a member of CFESA (Commercial Food Equipment Service Association), which is the Gold Standard for training, industry awareness and progressiveness. Each of our technicians is required to continually increase their skill set utilizing stringent study methods, testing and hands-on training as it relates to Refrigeration, Electric, Steam and Gas food preparation and storage equipment. A CFESA Master Certified Technician is considered to be the finest, most highly trained technician available. We consider it a cornerstone for us as we move forward; always focused on being better, not necessarily bigger.

As far as a factor that differentiates us from others… it has to be communication, before during and after the call. I believe that we are the only company in the Valley that has two people strictly dedicated to interfacing with the client for scheduling, service calls and parts ordering updates as needed during those calls and, most importantly, QC (quality control) follow-up calls after the repair is made.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
If our employees and clients are given a voice to make suggestions, give us advice and direction to help us be better and we listen and actually become a better customer service provider and employer with tangible results, that feels like a successful outcome. Always having our ear to the ground, being willing to adjust our processes and “right our wrongs” keeps us grounded in our client’s and employee’s ever-changing needs. Again, the very basis of success is mutually beneficial, respected communication.

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