An interesting week it has been!
Several of my conversations this week centered on whether restaurant owners trust their food distributor. Surprisingly, each distributor I spoke with said….. No they don’t and with good reason.
Do food distributors create this sense of mistrust? Broken promises, missed deliveries, and questionable billing issues are some of the potholes in this love hate relationship. The distributor sales rep has to wade through all of these issues to build trust and make it work with their customers. This can be a difficult task in a relationship that for the most part is built on price issues and not on bringing value to the customer.
From a restaurant owner’s perspective, how much time is spent micro managing a relationship that is built on getting the best price? An operator I met with this week was going to great lengths to match up his order guide with other providers just to keep his distributor honest. With multiple locations, this is an important function to manage your profit margin in this economy, but could his time be better served on other activities?
Is there a better way? Growing topline sales is just as important as managing the bottom line, but how many distributors are working with the customers best interest in mind?
Building trust has a long way to go in the food industry.