Foodservice Distributors: Your Route to Market

Posted by IFMA April 14, 2014

Tagged in Foodservice Category Management Strategic Issues

According to Bill Hale, President & CEO of The Hale Group, the foodservice industry is built around satisfying the needs of consumers that choose to purchase prepared food away from home.  Winning this consumers choice for the foodservice industry relies on two very important activities; a demand creation side and a supply efficiency side. Together, these efforts focus on driving value and serving the consumers eating occasions. The foodservice manufacturer's role is to produce products, insights and services in an offering that co-creates value at the consumer interface. However, how do you get their offering to the right place at the right time in the right form at the right price? This forms the basis for a foodservice manufacturer's distribution strategy.

A manufacturer's distribution strategy is about selecting distribution partners that will be the manufacturers' route-to-market and provide access to the operator community. Today, more is still better, but only a few can become strategic to:

  • assure the full-line is in distribution;
  • create demand for their products and;
  • develop a strategic market plan with the distributor.

This quickly suggests a prioritization of a number of right distributors that can be resourced sufficiently to enable a successful plan implementation.

Additionally, if a distribution strategy includes reaching the independent operator, consideration must be given to Cash & Carry and Club partners.  Accounting for 50% of independent operator purchases, entities such as Restaurant Depot can play a valuable role.

Therein lies the challenges for building a successful manufacturers' go to market plan. Every successful distribution strategy goes to great lengths to make choices on channels, distributors and sales execution options.


Want to hear more? Register for our upcoming Foodservice Category Management Training on May 6 and Strategic Issues Series: Framework for a Distribution Strategy on May 7, 2014.

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