Successful partnerships have always been rooted in trust, shared values and collaboration. When our world was turned upside down in 2020 due to COVID-19, valued and committed partnerships became more important than ever before.
For Sysco, pulling together its numerous resources to support its customers in meaningful and innovative ways was a critical first step. Sysco immediately began to double down its efforts to work with its customers to reimagine their business and introduce innovative solutions to transform how restaurants operate.
Sysco has exemplified this commitment through its recently launched Restaurants Rising campaign, which has been a welcomed resource for thousands of new and existing Sysco customers. The campaign eliminated minimum delivery requirements for regularly scheduled delivery days and highlights the value-added services that Sysco provides: free restaurant marketing tools, discounts on services such as delivery and website creation, and free toolkits filled with ideas to generate additional revenues.
In addition, Sysco launched its Foodie Solutions platform in 2020 which includes numerous toolkits to help restaurants safely navigate the pandemic environment and generate additional revenue. Through these offerings, combined with Sysco’s best-in-class sales and culinary teams, the company is providing robust and innovative ways to support the success of its restaurant customers.
Case Study: LABCo Market & Restaurant’s Journey with Sysco
LABCo Market & Restaurant is just one Sysco partnership that collaborated to overcome the challenges of COVID-19.
Russell Loub, owner of LABCo Market & Restaurant, has been serving its customers high-quality steaks, burgers and American cuisines to a devoted clientele in Manhattan, Kansas, for the last 25 years. Russell formed his first partnership with Sysco during his first job out of culinary school, working as a cook in a French restaurant in Michigan.
“I’ve been buying from Sysco for over 40 years, so I’m a very loyal customer,” says Loub. “I couldn’t ask for a much better partner than Sysco. They’ve always been incredibly supportive of what we’re doing.”
Sysco’s support of LABCo Market & Restaurant has been rock solid during COVID-19. The pandemic forced Loub and his team to close the restaurant initially, and then reimagine what might be possible and how best to serve customers during this uncertain time. That imagination and can-do spirit led to an online meat market for LABCo Market & Restaurant customers.
“The original idea for a meat market was actually brought to us by Sysco,” says Loub. “When COVID hit, we had a mandatory closure, and when we reopened, we needed something to bring in more income. That’s when we started an online platform and store for a meat market.”
Loub looked at industry trends and saw that while other restaurants were also embracing retail, no other retail operations in the Manhattan area were offering Certified Angus Beef® products. By harnessing Sysco’s buying power and embracing technology, Loub made the meat market a success. “We do pork, poultry, cheeses and other items through the market as well, but the real focus — and the majority of sales — is the beef.”
Loub also is meeting the growing demand for both takeout and comfort foods by offering curbside delivery for featured meals. Sysco offers a wealth of information for capturing this business in its Curbside and Takeout Toolkit.
Evolving with Circumstances: The Symbiotic Relationship between Sysco and Its Partners
Throughout the pandemic, Sysco also has been a key partner to Round the Bend, a steakhouse located in the middle of a vast cornfield in Ashland, Nebraska. To stay successful, Round the Bend had to make several pivots to accommodate the sudden changes in dining regulations.
After the initial shutdown, “We actually moved our dining room into the ballroom, which has worked out great,” says TJ Olson. “That room can hold 600 people, and my dining room only seats 180, so we’ve been able to operate at our previous full capacity through all of COVID-19.”
In addition, with the help of Sysco, Round the Bend began selling to-go bundles of premium raw steaks. “We just sold out of our ‘mega-meat bundles.’ We put a ton of meat in a bundle and prepackaged it for 99 bucks. We sold out of all 300 of them,” Olson says. “Without Sysco’s buying power and their ability to purchase and house that much meat for us, we would never have been able to make those work.”
What are the key ingredients to a successful partnership? Staying informed on the issues and concerns of others. Cooperation between parties. Anticipating and responding quickly to problems. These are the critical ingredients that form a trusted partnership between Sysco and restaurants.
For more information about Foodie Solutions or to become a customer, visit the Sysco Foodie website.
Sysco is the global leader in selling, marketing and distributing food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and other customers who prepare meals away from home. Its family of products also includes equipment and supplies for the foodservice and hospitality industries. With more than 57,000 associates, the company operates 326 distribution facilities worldwide and serves more than 625,000 customer locations.