US Foods tries weekend deliveries

Deliveries have been added on Saturdays and Sundays to provide more scheduling flexibility to employees, but customers have discovered a labor benefit as well.
US Foods truck
Weekend deliveries have been welcomed by some operators, US Foods says. / Photograph: Shutterstock

Foodservice distributor US Foods is adding Saturday and Sunday deliveries in a handful of test markets as a potential plus for employees and customers.

The three-market trial is intended to provide workers with more scheduling flexibility. The pilot program allows employees to opt for three, four or five-day workweeks across a seven-day stretch, weekends included.   

“It gives employees that opportunity to find schedules that work for them, offering enhanced flexibility for improved work/life balance,” the company said in a written response to emailed questions from Restaurant Business. “The results to-date have exceeded our expectations with significant reductions in turnover and positive employee feedback.”

Like many operators, distributors have been struggling to restaff to pre-pandemic levels. Truck drivers have proven particularly difficult to recruit and retain.

US Foods has discovered that some foodservice customers have also embraced the option of being restocked on Saturdays and Sundays, in part because they typically schedule more staff for weekend shifts. The chances of someone being available to check in the new supplies are greater.

“It’s well suited for operators who have more staff on hand to receive and stock products and operators who want to optimize what they have in stock as they approach the week,” US Foods said.

The company’s sales staff is identifying the operators within the three test areas that would be most likely to benefit.

“We believe this approach will further differentiate US Foods as we maintain our promise to help our customers ‘Make It,’” US Foods said.

It stressed that the test is still in the early stages and has just been expanded to three markets. It declined to identify the pilot areas and how many restaurants are participating.

CEO David Flitman revealed the original test market is in the Southeast but did not air more specifics.

“We see a real opportunity this year to roll out the flex scheduling portion to a significant number of our markets and likely be more selective with seven-day delivery elsewhere,” Chief Transition Officer Andrew Iacobucci said during US Foods’ most recent earnings call, according to a transcript from the Sentieo financial services company.

He noted that the initiative would also expand US Foods’ capacities by extending its business week by two days.

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