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.

Login To Gain Access To This Content
Dec 07

Strategic Issues Series Webinar

Meal Kits: What Do They Mean for Foodservice?

Time: 1:00-2:00pm CST               CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW


Download the White Paper: Meeting the Demands in Today's Supply Chain

IFMA began its 2016 Strategic Issues Series (SIS) with its session titled “Meeting the Demands in Today’s Supply Chain.” The session, held in April in Chicago, focused on how third-party supply chain options are becoming more prevalent in today’s foodservice landscape. Maryanne Rose, founder and CEO of SpenDifference, presented “Outsourcing the Supply Chain in the Foodservice Industry,” setting the foundation with key insights outlining the rise of third-party supply chain options. Additionally, Sherri Hager, VP of Client Solutions at SpenDifference, modera

Download the White Paper: Building Alternate Strategies in Distribution

Does Your Distribution Strategy Include Cash & Carry?

What should members consider when creating a distribution strategy?  What role could Cash & Carry play?  This was the focus of the most recent Strategic Issues Series: "Framework for a Distribution Strategy."  Under this umbrella, there was a deep dive into "Opportunities in Cash & Carry," with special guest Clark Pager from Restaurant Depot.

Learnings From The 2013 Marketing & Sales Leaders Forum

IFMA's annual Marketing & Sales Leaders Forum connected foodservice marketing, sales, division management and insights professionals with renowned experts who addressed ways to improve internal and external collaboration to drive success - and much more. The event was hosted by PepsiCo Foodservice at Frito-Lay Worldwide Headquarters in Plano, Texas, the conference was packed with insights and best practices for execution. Check out the highlights in this informative presentation. 

What the Sysco/US Foods merger means for foodservice manufacturers

As the big keep getting bigger, the foodservice industry consolidation continues. The Hale Group and IFMA provide an initial perspective on how the Sysco/US Foods Merger will impact foodservice manufacturers. 

6 Impending Changes in Foodservice

The foodservice industry is maturing and the industry struc­ture is changing. Consumers now hold more power. There is industry consoli­dation and significant increases in aggregated purchasing by operators. Distributor profitability will increasingly be tied to supply chain efficiency. How will manufacturers and industry partners need to evolve to profit in 2020? Read the Marketing & Sales Leaders Forum executive summary to find out.

Insights on consumer "eater types" allow manufacturers to drive consumer demand

Possessing a deep understanding of the consumer and how manufacturers can best collaborate with operators will be key to the future success of foodservice. This topic was explored at a 2013 IFMA Strategic Issues Series forum and is the focus of a whitepaper authored by The Hale Group and offered complimentary to IFMA members. 

Distributor of the Future Whitepaper

The distributor landscape is rapidly changing. As a valued IFMA Member, IFMA and The Hale Group are offering IFMA Manufacturer Members a complimentarywhitepaper on the topic to fuel you with knowledge of the likely evolution of the foodservice distributor and strategic implications for foodservice manufacturers.

Distributor of the Future Presentation

This presentation created by The Hale Group and presented at the IFMA Strategic Issues Series meeting June 19, 2012, provides a foundation of what will be presented by Bill Hale at the Marketing & Sales Leader's Forum "Distributor of the Future" presentation August 8, 2012.

Foodservice 2020: GPOs Landscape & Growth Opportunities Report

Now available ONLY to IFMA manufacturer members, the Foodservice 2020: GPOs Landscape & Growth Opportunities report summarizes the key learnings shared at the February 9, 2012 forum.