Inside the Mind of the Independent Restaurant Operator

October 11, 2017

The independent restaurant market is doing well, but there are significant challenges on the horizon. Do you know how to help independent operators position themselves – and yourself – for future growth?
This new IFDA-sponsored report provides strategic insight into how the changing landscape of independents affects foodservice distribution. Understanding their challenges, opportunities, and preferences helps distributors offer enhanced levels of service. Prepared by Technomic, the report highlights the market size, business landscape and outlook for independent restaurants in 2017. It also details operators’ purchasing behavior, GPO affiliation, and preferences for DSR interaction.

Highlights include: [click on infographic to enlarge]
  • Labor-related challenges have surpassed food costs as independent operators’ top challenge. Identifying cost-saving measures is a priority to offset operational costs without raising menu prices enough to challenge the value proposition of a restaurant meal to consumers.
  • A majority of independent operators purchase from more than one distributor outlet, and most purchase from a broadline distributor. While fewer use third-party online vendors like Amazon, those numbers are growing.
  • Full-service operators say their top reasons for using multiple suppliers are more variety, better pricing, and more local options. Limited-service operators say their top reasons are more variety, more local options, and more frequent deliveries.
  • Roughly three-quarters of independent operators are satisfied with the services they receive from their DSR, though three in 10 see offerings of food-cost reduction opportunities as an area the DSRs could improve.
Data in the report is broken down by limited-service and full-service restaurant segments, and by operator archetypes based on their approach to menu format and composition; operator and distributor commentary from qualitative research is interspersed. Select regional and area-type data highlights are also included. The PDF of the 193-page report is free to IFDA distributor members as an exclusive member benefit. Please note that this report is for IFDA distributor members’ internal use only; we ask that you don’t share it outside your company, or post it publicly online.

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Questions? Email IFDA’s Director of Research & Industry Insights Annika Stensson.