1319: What role will DSRs play in rebuilding foodservice once restaurants reopen?


Most DSRs tell us they are simply trying to understand what their local territory will look like in six to 12 months from now.

The key is to be relevant later this year more so than building short-term sales right now. Helping operators sell things like toilet paper is a well-intentioned but futile effort, many AFDR members report.

Now is the time to create logical extensions of serving food in an environment where customers will be slow to return to a sit-down meal. And while warming up frozen soup will not change in an operator’s routine, nearly everything else about running a foodservice establishment has been upended for the foreseeable future.

Can owners’ profit by serving only half the dine-in traffic? Are there any practical solutions for preparing a high-end steak dinner for delivery? What can the mom-and-pop diner learn from the pizza joint down the street? Are there completely new menu segments to build? Can country clubs expand into off-site catering or will local brewpubs figure out a way to build business from virtual sports events?

The bottom line is that the DSRs who survive will be the ones who help operators totally rethink business that balances innovation with operational practicality over the long term. Good DSRs are naturals at problem-solving. But now DSRs also need to be visionaries in partnership with their customers.

The foodservice world is changing right before our eyes. Those who embrace these dramatic shifts will not just survive but will thrive.