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Isthisidok

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello all, I’m new to the site but have been a pfs rep for almost a decade after being a chef for two decades. Was interested how the big dogs view our company. It’s shocking to me how unknown we are to a lot of the industry and the public in general. USF and GFS have been writing huge up front rebate checks in my area. USF strips away the rep, hands you an iPad and tells you to call customer service with any issues. Seem insane to me as I believe I am worth 3-4% margin alone with the insane service I provide on a virtual 24/7 basis. Then the prices escalate a few months into it and the customer is trapped if they can’t repay the cash.

Any rumors on mergers or acquisitions? Don’t you feel like a decade from now we will be down to just a handful of companies?

Let me know your thoughts
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doingthisfortoolong

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Reply with quote  #2 
Been with PFS now for many years myself. We are still the new kid in some markets. Most know the name Roma. I agree that being able to write the margins we write now we soon fizzle out. IMHO US Foods destroyed this business by doing what they are doing by just “moving cases for no profit”. This used to be an honorable job. You earned a nice commission for what you sold and services the customer. USF killed that by teaching new TM’s to just get the order no matter the cost. At least Sysco still knows how to make money
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FSVET

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Reply with quote  #3 
Both Sysco and USF are beholden to shareholders. Corporate doesn't care if TMs and MAs make any money. 

The new USF pay plan, basically salary plus bonuses, is more concerned about cases and Cookbook, than profit.

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ISellLettuce

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Reply with quote  #4 
I've been with PFS for well over a decade, and yes, we are still viewed as the new kid on the block in many areas where we haven't been before. I've always viewed that as a great opportunity though to show customers what makes you different.

I agree, USF has tarnished this industry by writing upfront checks only to price-gouge customers once they're locked into a contact. Despicable really. Our mission was to always help the independent operator succeed and maximize their bottom line. USF took the complete opposite approach and put the operator at risk just for the sake of moving cases. 

I'm still old school and believe that value still means something to our customers. If I can provide great service, solutions to problems, and great products at a competitive price...that should mean something, and to most customers it does. That said, other operators still treat this industry as if they were shopping from Amazon where its "give me the lowest price and I can handle the rest". Problem is, only like 1% of operators can truly "handle the rest"  because as we all know, most operators get into this business with no clue on how to actually run an effective and profitable restaurant. That's where historically, we've been able to help out.
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yogibuck

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Reply with quote  #5 
From my view, most of the large distributors just want to get everyone to order by computers and take the sales rep out of it.  They don't value the sales rep at all.  Just see them as additional cost.

My guess is 10 years from now, your sales rep, if you are a restaurant big enough to warrant one, will appear in the restaurant via hologram.   So the customer can get the "in person" bond.

From the outside, I don't see much difference between Sysco, USF, PFS and or GFS.  

The truth is, for most restaurants, they all look the same also.  So it comes down to pricing, unique product that they want (not stupid crap like scoop or whatever) and/or a relationship.  Since pricing is so important, most of the big guys look at the spreadsheet guy analyzing the pricing as their mvp.  Hence catman. 

It will be the same pattern, repeating itself over and over again.  The big fish will eat whatever fish it can get, than the small fast hustling fish will grow and then be eventually eaten.  There is probably a guppy to whale story happening right now.

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srreality

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Reply with quote  #6 
The things I've been reading on this forum reminds me again how glad I am that I retired 10 years ago!  I worked for both Sysco and USF over a 20 year period, retiring from USF. I was dismayed back then at the "centralization" doctrine I was seeing and the discounting of the value a personal, local relationship has with your customers......even national account customers. Centralizing customer service, purchasing, credit, etc. were efforts to save money, but at the cost of actual customer service, gross profit and replenishment of local distribution centers. The Amazon effect will drive that even farther that direction, I'm afraid. I also think it hurt employee's pride/morale, as their duties/responsibilities became more and more "robotic".  Sad to see. Perhaps the pendulum will swing the other way over time. Naisbitt predicted in the 1980s that a "high tech, low touch" society would have people valuing personal service over efficient systems.  We'll see. 

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NoBite

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Reply with quote  #7 
Srrealty, I hope that prediction is correct! I retired 7 years ago after 29 years with what ended up being USF. I couldn’t recommend this business model to any true salesperson. Sales is an honorable, and needed, profession. A good salesperson deserves a much better environment!
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Sidney

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Reply with quote  #8 
When with US Foods as a representative I could no longer be a part of a company that exploited customers and employees. Cookbook pricing was the last straw, absolutely no rhyme or reason to pricing along with no faith in the numbers. I found it more and more difficult to business with any sense of integrity. Product quality suffered, no longer did I believe we had superior quality like back in the days of Monarch. The ridicules promotions around Scoop where the company basically gave away the product to the customers just to be able to report to Wall Street certain numbers of account penetration constitutes near fraud in my book. Then add to the mix paying customers up front to do business with you is just another example of poor marketing by creating a atmosphere of disloyalty by customers who you have now trained to shop the best "deal". The downward spiral seems to have no end, sales teams don't trust the company, departments stand alone on their islands, and "artificial intelligence", how appropriate, rules the day. All that to say I am retired now for two years from what was a most enjoyable profession back in the day.
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Sidney
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srreality

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidney
When with US Foods as a representative I could no longer be a part of a company that exploited customers and employees. Cookbook pricing was the last straw, absolutely no rhyme or reason to pricing along with no faith in the numbers. I found it more and more difficult to business with any sense of integrity. Product quality suffered, no longer did I believe we had superior quality like back in the days of Monarch. The ridicules promotions around Scoop where the company basically gave away the product to the customers just to be able to report to Wall Street certain numbers of account penetration constitutes near fraud in my book. Then add to the mix paying customers up front to do business with you is just another example of poor marketing by creating a atmosphere of disloyalty by customers who you have now trained to shop the best "deal". The downward spiral seems to have no end, sales teams don't trust the company, departments stand alone on their islands, and "artificial intelligence", how appropriate, rules the day. All that to say I am retired now for two years from what was a most enjoyable profession back in the day.


Having the departments in a DC "standing alone" is counterproductive! Each department is interdependent on the others.........the tip of the spear, so to speak, is Sales, but the sale isn't complete until it's priced right, purchased, picked, loaded, delivered on time and paid for, virtually error free all along the way. I say virtually error free, because perfection isn't attainable, but errors can be reduced to being almost negligible. Been there, done that. Centralization takes away that personal ownership of one's piece of the overall flow, in my opinion. "Cookbook pricing" is about control, I would say. I never believed in paying customers up front for their business; didn't think it was cost effective nor productive for a long-term relationship with a customer. I thought attentive customer service at all levels, good people to work with and pricing as mutually agreed on were key to growth and retaining customers. Silly me! There's no room in the "new" business model for my kind of thinking!

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srreality

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoBite
Srrealty, I hope that prediction is correct! I retired 7 years ago after 29 years with what ended up being USF. I couldn’t recommend this business model to any true salesperson. Sales is an honorable, and needed, profession. A good salesperson deserves a much better environment!


Everything starts with a sale..........no sale, no need for all that other stuff! The parts of the overall process are very interdependent; the workflow must be as seamless as possible. Everyone involved has to "take ownership" of their piece, with the end result in mind. Centralization takes the "personal" out of it and makes the "system" more important than people. I think that's a mistake. Sysco's name even means "systems and services company". They believed in their systems, not in their people. I guess USF has turned that way, too. Sad to see. 
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srreality

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isthisidok
Hello all, I’m new to the site but have been a pfs rep for almost a decade after being a chef for two decades. Was interested how the big dogs view our company. It’s shocking to me how unknown we are to a lot of the industry and the public in general. USF and GFS have been writing huge up front rebate checks in my area. USF strips away the rep, hands you an iPad and tells you to call customer service with any issues. Seem insane to me as I believe I am worth 3-4% margin alone with the insane service I provide on a virtual 24/7 basis. Then the prices escalate a few months into it and the customer is trapped if they can’t repay the cash.

Any rumors on mergers or acquisitions? Don’t you feel like a decade from now we will be down to just a handful of companies?

Let me know your thoughts


In my opinion, PFS is in a good place to avoid the mistakes of both Sysco and USF and focus on personal relationships and hyper-attentive customer service. To me, that's an attractive alternative to "systems", especially in Street sales. Even with national accounts, a good relationship at "corporate" level, with a responsive DC network in full support, is a better alternative than cut-throat contracts, and impersonal supply chain delivery systems. Nothing like the personal touch. I never worried about the public's knowledge of us........only the restaurant/food service facility world. As a wholesale industry, a public image isn't important to me.

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snoman

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Reply with quote  #12 
From an operations (warehosue/delivery) standpoint "systems" are required in order to reach those high %'s of accurate/timely/safe deliveries to the customer. Things must move fast in order to achieve efficiency and minimize errors.
It's the responsibility of leadership to make decisions when a change is needed.
The problem I've experienced at times is a lack of leadership.
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srreality

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Posts: 11
Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoman
From an operations (warehosue/delivery) standpoint "systems" are required in order to reach those high %'s of accurate/timely/safe deliveries to the customer. Things must move fast in order to achieve efficiency and minimize errors.
It's the responsibility of leadership to make decisions when a change is needed.
The problem I've experienced at times is a lack of leadership.


Takes good people who pay attention, care and work hard to make systems work. Good leaders know that and believe in their people. 


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