Brand Shopping is Tough on Distributor Sites

Just 25 percent of restaurant operators who order online through distributor website “always” or “often” search by brand, with many operators complaining that sites make it difficult to locate the specific brands they want.

Foodservice operators have difficulty finding and placing orders for specific brands on distributor Web sites, according to a new report by Datassential.  Titled “How Operators Buy,” the study found just 25 percent of restaurant operators who order online “always” or “often” search by brand, with many operators complaining that sites make it difficult to locate the specific brands they want. This opens the door to preferred brands being ignored when it matters most – at the time of purchase, according to the report.

Another hurdle for manufacturers is brand inconsistency on distributor ordering sites, according to Datassential. The company advises that the industry needs to work towards uniform presentation of brand names and product descriptions on these sites.  If abbreviations are used, they should be done in a way that is intuitive, easy to remember and aggressively promoted.

As GS1 standards move us toward consistent presentation of our products, manufacturers can get a head-start by partnering with Profile or other recognized methods of standardization.

 

Large Broadliners Improve, but Independent Operators decline

Signs of foodservice industry recovery, but reduced customer traffic went on too long for many independents…

According to ID Report, the nation’s 50 largest broadline distributors collectively broke the $100 billion mark in 2010, growing sales 5 percent over sales reported the previous year and performing well compared to foodservice as a whole in 2010 up only .7%.   The report goes on to state that none of the top 10 distributors were the largest gainers.

Related, NPD published their latest Spring Recount (April 2010 – March 2011) which showed that US units declined by 2% with 8,650 unit losses coming from independent restaurants.  The same report indicated that spending at restaurants grew by 2% in the year ending May 2011 though traffic counts were stable.

 

FSR Onsite Segment Penetration 75%

FSR Onsite Segment Penetration at 75%

I was chatting with a potential sponsor and was surprised to hear their perception that Foodservice Rewards is skewed toward noncommercial/onsite operators.  In fact, only forty percent of the 120,000+ participants are in onsite segments.   However, in reviewing Foodservice Rewards participants by segment against Technomic’s annual forecast, it was impressive to see 75%  unit penetration within Business & Industry, Education and Hospitals.  These are the local leverage operators that drive distribution and sales volume through broadliners like Sysco and US Foodservice!

 

SYSCO MN Features Foodservice Rewards

No Show Food Shows are the latest trend among distributors trying to cut costs. See how SYSCO MN is supporting Foodservice Rewards in this one…

One of the latest trends in distribution is to stop hosting food shows (or at least scale back their frequency.)

They’re expensive to produce, and lately, because of lack of attendance, more and more suppliers are complaining that they aren’t getting a good return on their investment.

Typically a supplier pays a booth fee, then spends additional funds on allowances on the cases of product which are booked at a show. This allowance is only available to those operators who attend the show and book product.

Typically the allowance will be $0.25 – $1.50 off per case. The funds will be automatically deducted from their invoices. If you don’t go to the show, you don’t get the allowances. While at the show, you book enough product to cover the amount that you’ll buy during the shipping period (this is how long you’ll receive your allowances). The shipping period is typically 6-8 weeks.

An operator can “book” product but then decide not to buy the products in the following weeks. There’s really no way to enforce it. Meanwhile, the distributor tells the manufacturers how successful the show was because they “booked” 200,000 cases of product. In reality, during the next 8 weeks, they might only ship 50% or 60% of those cases. Financially, the supplier is only responsible for allowances on cases actually shipped.

Anyway… many distributors are implementing a “No Show Food Show”. They’ll compile the list of items with allowances that would have been offered at the show. They create a “book” and send it out to the customers. The customers have two weeks to finalize their orders for the next 8 weeks. The operators still take advantage of “deals”, but they don’t have to stop by a booth and talk to a manufacturer or broker. The supplier doesn’t need to spend the time, money, and energy to set up, decorate, staff, and breakdown a booth.

SYSCO MN had always had two food shows per year (Spring and Fall). This Fall was the first time they are attempting the “No Show Food Show” idea. Attached is the “book”. Check out page 24.

How ‘bout them apples?

Z.

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Progressive Group Marketing

ProGroups’s May ’08 communications to their 400 distributor members prominently features Foodservice Rewards…

Progressive Group Alliance’s newsletter goes out to all of their 400+ distributor members. FSR has a big part in this issue. You’ll find us on pages 1, 2, 4, and 7.

From: Callie Redford, Progressive Group Marketing Alliance
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:56 AM
Subject: May 2008 Service Matters Newsletter

In an effort to continue communicating all news and updates within Business Services, we share the attached version of Service Matters. This is the Progressive Group Alliance quarterly newsletter dedicated to the Service Provider and PRO-Vision Market Programs.

We appreciate your continued support.

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Dot Foods newsletter mention

DOT Foods, the nation’s largest re-distributor, supports Foodservice Rewards…

Boy, have we ever been getting great support from DOT foods, as evidenced by this inclusion in their newsletter to distributor customers.

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Unipro Newsletter: Awards vs. Cash

Unipro’s Operators Edge Newsletter features Foodservice Rewards article…

This article in Unipro’s Operator’s Edge Newsletter (“The Independent Operator’s Resource for Food Industry Intelligence”) proves once again that tangible awards are more effective than cash at motivating salespeople. Scroll to the Money Matters section. And check the source of the article.

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Caption Contest

we post unusual or intriguing operator names to our annual “top 10″…

As you may know, we post unusual or intriguing operator names to our annual “top 10”; this is the beginning of a similar list for distributors. Add your caption here.

 

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