Which wholesalers do you use and why do you use them?
With the main store in Suffolk, I am a Londis retailer so I use Booker. I also have an unaffiliated store in London, where we use a range including Dhamecha. We choose wholesalers based on information-sharing, availability and promotions.
Do you get your orders by visiting the cash & carry or through deliveries?
For Londis, it is delivered, but in London, we visit a Dhamecha depot. We have been a customer since around 1991, so we have built that relationship and they are very flexible with us, making sure our order is completely ready for us. It is a very hassle-free process.
How can wholesalers improve online ordering?
I do about 30% online ordering, and the rest I let my EPoS system manage for me. I am very happy with the way Booker and Londis do online – the offers you receive in the post are the same you see online, so it is joined up and it just makes it easy for the retailer.
What can wholesalers do to improve in general?
Keeping retailers a little bit more informed would be good. With the recent bad weather, many stores came to a standstill because they were not warned of the extent of the issues they would face. Wholesalers can invest in that communication to keep retailers running when things go wrong.
How can wholesalers improve the cash & carry experience?
Retailers measure hotspots in-store to see how shoppers move around and wholesalers should renew their focus on this as well. Where things are should be intuitive, instead of there being a different experience in every depot. The more time retailers have to spend going to a depot, the less they are going to come.
What in-depot activity is likely to capture your attention and get you to purchase promotional items?
I would love to see more tasting opportunities in-depot. It sometimes feels like wholesalers are moving to the catering side of the business and a lot of the in-store activity focuses on this. But it should feel as applicable for the off-trade as it does for foodservice and the on-trade.
What categories would you like to see wholesalers improve on?
It is the availability rather than the categories. Part of getting a category right is giving the retailer the confidence that they will be able to effectively range their store and give their customers the reliability they expect.
How good are wholesalers at responding to trends?
This comes down to the branch and the manager. You get some who are very up to date, who have their eyes forward, looking for an opportunity, but you have others who are waiting to be told what they need to introduce.
What are the food trends for this year?
We are looking at food-to-go, but we want to be treated like a foodservice outlet, not a convenience store with sandwiches. We want the support and advice to meet every takeaway meal mission and offer delivery.