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American Foodservice Records Double-digit Growth

Asked how they did it despite record high food and fuel costs, and an economic slump that dramatically reduced restaurant traffic and sales, president Roger Accurso said, “Overall restaurant traffic is down, but we picked up a lot of new customers. We continue to expand our customer base in our delivery area of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa and Nebraska.”

The UniPro-member company grew by about 12 percent in 2008, he said, with annual sales of about $100 million and more than 100 employees. More than 95 percent of the company’s products carried are national and regional brands. Its customer base grew from 1,075 in 2007 to 1,200 in 2008, according to the report.

“We have a consistent philosophy and ownership that doesn’t change,” Accurso said. “Customers know what to expect. And as an independent company, we don’t have to go up the ladder to make a decision.”

That commitment was recognized by the Kansas City chapter of the Missouri Restaurant Association, which named American Foodservice its 2008 company of the year.

Keeping a close eye on costs also has contributed to revenue growth. American Foodservice has added a radio-frequency system to minimize warehouse errors; a document-imaging system to reduce file storage space; and innovative software to manage its expanding customer base. It also found creative ways to counter last summer’s spike in fuel prices.

“Some of the fuel costs were passed on to customers as a surcharge in a separate line item,” Accurso said. “As part of our green initiative, we also were able to save fuel by reworking some of our routes to make them more efficient.” (Source: Kansas City Star, January 12, 2009)

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