The trucks roll out of the US Foods distribution center in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, all night and into the early morning hours, bound for their restaurant customers in the five boroughs.

The food distribution giant sells 400,000 types of food and supplies, and expects orders to increase as indoor dining returns to the five boroughs on September 30. US Foods' history in the industry runs deep, too, with more than 150 years providing quailty serivce.

“We really focus on our customers and their success," said Shawn McCall, the president of the NY Metro Area. "So when that announcement came out we knew our customers could be more successful, so we have the team ready for it, for the increased business and to help serve our customers."

What You Need To Know

  • Indoor dining will return in NYC on September 30 with restrictions, including a 25 percent occupancy cap at restaurants

  • Food distribution companies are preparing for more orders as some restaurants that were closed reopen
  • US Foods has been helping customers during the pandemic to adjust to the business climate, including guidance on outdoor dining and takeout menus

  • They will also now help customers create a safe environment for staff and customers as restaurants welcome diners back inside

Things have been different for US Foods since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, just as it has been for their customers.

McCall said the company didn’t have a playbook for a pandemic, but did deal with other events in the past that caused business disruptions, like Super Storm Sandy. They had to work quickly to support customers and in some cases, practically reinvent the wheel. 

“We did one-on-one consultations with our customers; we also did webinars across the country focusing on opening up outdoor dining," said McCall, who added that they also helped restaurants without takeout businesses to develop one.

Additionally, McCall said they talked to some customers about paring down their menus and others about expanding their offerings to be more takeout friendly. Now, as restaurants plan to let folks back inside, with limited capacity, it’s a new challenge for the partnership between eatery and distributor. 

“There’s a lot of our customers who we have remained in contact with who remained closed over the past months, and we will start to work with them about opening up together," said McCall. 

US Foods said not only will they be working with restaurants to get them the supplies they need, but also to help them to reopen their dining rooms safely.

McCall added that the focus is on safety for restaurant workers and customers, whether their food is food is served inside, outside, or at home.