A message to IFDA Members during the COVID-19 crisis from Mark Allen, President & CEO of IFDA.
This is undoubtedly the most difficult time our industry has ever endured. It has been three weeks since federal guidelines effectively shut down the foodservice industry. I have spoken with dozens of distributors and have received reports that business is down 50, 60, and even 70 percent plus. As a result, many of you are making very tough business decisions.
We will get beyond this, but I know the uncertainty of when
weighs on all of us. IFDA continues to look for ways to add value by working with multiple government agencies to provide flexibility and even certainty where possible on various fronts. We continue to work with allied trade associations on solutions critical to the distribution of food. We have worked to provide guidance related to the CARES-Act and will continue to update our guidance as Treasury rolls out programs for mid-sized and large companies. As you may already know, SBA issued nearly $3.5 billion in loans this past Friday with an average loan amount of $325,000. If you are in need of a loan and haven’t yet started the process, please keep in mind that congress has authorized a finite amount of funding in this most recent round. There is talk of another stimulus in the future, but that is most likely several weeks away.
Even in these challenging times, the level of ingenuity and entrepreneurism is something to behold. Many distributors have shifted resources and capacity to retail grocery, opened their warehouses to the public, created direct to consumer models, pulled trucks into local neighborhoods for consumers to purchase products directly, and helped local communities through food donations and the distribution of prepared meals. And the amount of activity distributors are putting into helping their restaurant customers modify their model for success is also impressive. All of this new activity certainly won’t offset lost business, but has helped somewhat, and will result in new models and opportunities when COVID-19 is behind us.
We appreciate your continued support and are proud to work on behalf of an industry comprised of so many resilient, caring people.
Mark S. Allen