Six ways to improve food & beverage distribution to hospitality outlets

Food and beverage distributors play a vital role in the hospitality industry, providing the ingredients and supplies essential for restaurants, hotels and other outlets to operate. While many food and beverage distributors offer a wide range of products and services, there are some ways in which they can look to improve their service.

How food & beverage distributors can ensure success

Ensure on-time delivery

Hospitality outlets, particularly restaurants rely on a consistent supply of fresh ingredients and other products, which are often only ordered the day before delivery. Improving delivery operations and providing timely deliveries will ensure that food, especially chilled food, is delivered on time, reducing the risk of shortages and allowing restaurants and outlets to continue operating smoothly.

Maintain product quality

Fresh ingredients and other food products are perishable and must be handled and stored correctly in order to maintain their quality. Improving distribution processes can help food suppliers and distributors ensure that their products arrive at their destination in good condition retaining their freshness.

Improve customer satisfaction

Improving distribution will ensure that the food distributors customers, restaurants, receive their products on time and in good condition, this will increase customer satisfaction and build long-term relationships.

Reduce operating costs

Improving delivery distribution, optimising delivery routes and time slots can help food and beverage distributors and suppliers reduce transportation and delivery costs, such as fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance.

Meet industry standards and regulations

Food suppliers, particularly those who sell chilled food, need to meet industry standards and regulations in order to assure food safety and quality. Improving distribution and temperature monitoring can ensure food suppliers meet these legal requirements, thereby ensuring the safety of their products.

Be more environmentally friendly

Improving and optimising their delivery distribution can help food and beverage suppliers reduce their carbon footprint, while also helping them to reduce costs and meet customer's expectations for on-time deliveries.

6 ways to improve hospitality deliveries and customer experience

Through improvement of their delivery scheduling and delivery routes, food and beverage distributors/suppliers can not only improve their customer service with timely deliveries but also ensure they maintain product quality, increase customer satisfaction, reduce costs, and meet industry standards and regulations while also being more environmentally friendly.

Here are the 6 ways to achieve this;

1. Utilise the latest software and technology

Implement the latest software for ordering, delivery, customer notifications and order tracking.

Anything that makes the ordering, delivery planning, customer communications and real-time delivery tracking easier for both the customer and the distributor will reduce costs while improving customer service and loyalty.

2. Optimise delivery routes

Optimising delivery routes is a crucial aspect of improving distribution for food and beverage suppliers.

Using advanced delivery scheduling and routing software enables the most efficient delivery routes to be planned that minimise fuel consumption and reduce delivery times. This can help them save money on fuel costs and reduce their carbon footprint, while also ensuring that the products they deliver arrive fresh, and crucially, on time.

3. Prioritise communication

Food & beverage distributors/suppliers should establish clear lines of communication with their hospitality customers.

Using software that automates the delivery notifications can remove the heavy burden of telephoning each customer to provide a delivery time and helps ensure they are available for the receipt of their delivery, increasing the chances of first-time success for delivery and reducing the wait time for each call. It will also reduce inbound calls to customer services asking when or where their delivery is expected.

4. Provide flexible delivery options

Different hospitality customers will want a variety of delivery windows for both time and day of delivery.

Offering more than just ‘next day’ or ‘next day before noon’ or ‘within 3 days’, isn’t good enough these days. Customers now expect to be able to select the day and time that suits them the most, and using the latest smart delivery scheduling software, distributors can present their customers with a selection of short-timed delivery windows over a number of days. Delivery slots can even be monetised to incentivise customer selection of the most efficient delivery slot for the distributor based on existing orders or fleet capacity to reduce delivery costs.

Offering a selection of delivery windows also decreases cart abandonment as the customer feels happy to proceed with an order knowing when they can expect to receive it.

5. Implement food safety protocols

Monitoring the temperature of chilled food during its delivery is an important component of the distribution process, vehicle telematics can be used to monitor the temperature of chilled vehicles or trailers and alert the driver when the temperature rises too high.

While digital proof of delivery can photographically capture the condition of food and packaging at the time of delivery helping to reduce credits and returns while providing end-to-end traceability.

6. Continuously evaluate and improve

Food and beverage distributors and suppliers should continuously evaluate their distribution processes and always look for ways to improve, whether through implementing new technologies, changing delivery routes or offering better customer service.

Some of the specific benefits of adopting the latest in technology for food & beverage distributors/suppliers are:

  • Reduced fuel costs: By planning the most efficient delivery routes, food suppliers can reduce the distance their vehicles travel and the amount of fuel they consume. Saving significantly on fuel and vehicle maintenance costs.
  • Reduced carbon footprint: Reducing fuel consumption also helps to reduce delivery miles and CO2 emissions. Important for both environmental and business reasons as customers are increasingly demanding sustainable products and services.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: Delivering products fresh and on time, leads to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty to drive repeat business and increased sales.
  • Increased efficiency: Notifying customers of their deliveries and optimising delivery routes means that delivery time is saved and there is potential for an increase in productivity and capacity without increasing the existing resources.

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