While restaurants, cafeterias, and retail food purveyors have been failing at double the normal rates, the survivors have seen a significant recovery, according to data from MarketMan, a leading food service technology company. MarketMan’s data, compiled from more than 4,000 restaurants in the United States, indicate a significant and steady rebound since suppliers saw orders plummet by 70% in February 2020.
“After 20% of restaurants fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, and restaurant purchases were at 30% in February, we saw an impressive recovery, back to 80% of normal supply dollar volume in September,” said Noam Wolf, co-founder and CEO of MarketMan. “However, the rebound still leaves problems to be solved on the supplier side – suppliers are serving fewer restaurants, with lower revenues to cover existing operating expenses.”
While some suppliers have been able to pivot by selling direct to consumers or specialty grocery stores, they still have significant overhead costs that affect their ability to compete in a tightening market.
“We have long been trying to streamline our operational costs, even before recent events,” said Desi Saran, Founder & CEO at Sweetberry Bowls. “Allowing our stores to order everything via mobile is something that’s saved tremendous time and allowed much more transparency over what is ordered and when. It provides the whole organization a really effective way to manage purchasing and price updates on a daily basis”
MarketMan’s new order management system for suppliers significantly lowers operational costs, increases productivity, reduces onsite visits, and replaces manual processes, such as calls, fax, and email ordering. The online system has been demonstrated to reduce order errors by 85 percent, which has a direct impact on the bottom line.
Suppliers get a white-labeled app their customers can use for mobile and online ordering, while the backend allows fast, real-time input of available inventory and up-to-the-minute pricing, comprehensive inventory tracking, ERP integration, and creation of specials and close-outs.
“The entire food service industry has been forced to react to the crisis,” said Wolf. “While the supply chain has been working to serve different markets, they need to further streamline operations to do whatever it takes to remain competitive in the new environment.”