Operator Proves Generational Stereotypes Wrong

Lexi Tucker
Posted on May 3, 2018

Antonio Grahm, CEO and co-founder of Krystal Transportation

Antonio Grahm, CEO and co-founder of Krystal Transportation

AUSTIN, Texas — Antonio Grahm, CEO and co-founder of Krystal Transportation, understands some of the negative cultural views of Millennials, and respects those who have succeeded in the industry before him. But he also knows young entrepreneurs can contribute to an industry struggling to catch up with technology and use it to its advantage.

Both Sides Of The Coin

Naturally, a social media presence is a necessity when trying to reach new clients and stay in touch with loyal ones. This avenue of communication brings a lot to the customer service aspect of a business, and Millennials have mastered the method.

“Being able to take those tech savvy qualities and marry that with what made the industry so remarkable in the first place — attention to detail and customer service — is what helps us strive for excellence,” Grahm says. “We are taking what we have learned from the generations that came before us and adding that to being dynamic enough to mold it into something of our own that’s new and refreshing.”

Getting rid of the stigma that often comes with being a Millennial has been a good challenge, but frustrating.

“You don’t want to be blanketed in such a broad stroke,” Grahm says. “There can be a happy medium between the two where you take what this generation has to offer and turn it into something great that’s based in reality, which the older generation doesn’t necessarily think we have a grip on.”

With hard work and a strong friendship with Daniel Cline, the company’s co-founder who he’s known since he was five years old, the two started the business in 2013 and have since gone on to provide transportation for major events and clients like South By Southwest, Dell, NIO (an autonomous vehicle company), Formula 1 races, and various political events. They’ve also worked with former First Lady Michelle Obama and her Secret Service team. “Watching the chaos come together as a vision has been so fulfilling.”

Team Effort

The idea to start a luxury ground transportation company originated when Cline was working at Enterprise car rentals and approached Grahm with the thought. It seemed like an adventurous undertaking, so they got their families together along with a small group of investors and took the plunge. “I think the people behind it all are what makes us a unique company,” Grahm says.

Although it wasn’t always what he wanted to do for a living, Grahm has enjoyed cars and customer-centric services for as long as he can remember. “I knew if I was going to be involved, it would need to include high quality service that required attention to detail and impeccable customer service…so in a roundabout way, I think this was my calling.”

The company runs six vehicles: Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Town Car stretch, Mercedes-Benz Sprinters (both shuttle and limo style), and a 25 passenger Grech Motors executive limo bus. Its business is made up of about 60% corporate and 40% retail clients. “In a city like Austin, those blend often. We’ll have corporate clients with families that want to use them for personal outings, and we get a lot of referral work based off of the corporate work we do.”

Prepping For The Future

Grahm has learned many lessons while growing with his company. He says he understood early on the importance of ensuring consistent service for clients. “Once you step out of the one to two-car range, the back office work and daily operations can be quickly overwhelming. It’s important to have well-thought out processes with vendors and clients to make things easier.”

Make sure you don’t sell yourself short, he adds. “Stick to what you believe your company is valued at; if you have a good product and are willing to deliver, people will pay your rate.”

The next step for Krystal will be to move into larger events. “We’ve got a good handle on small to medium events, so we want to step into minibuses and be able to cater to bigger groups. We don’t want to step on our competitors’ toes, but we want to offer a higher level of service than a traditional bus company.”

Related Topics: customer service, eNews Exclusive, LCTFast40, Millennials, operator profiles, social media, technology, Texas operators

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
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