Food Delivery: Never Underestimate the Power of the Driver

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food deliveryI am talking about the delivery driver, the person who brings the food and beverages, fresh to your door, and into the restaurant kitchen, or maybe not, if you are worried about varmints hitching a ride. These employees are often beaten down by sales reps, customers, dispatchers, brokers, customer service managers and executive chefs. They are treated as if they are at the bottom of the pecking order by many, but never, never by me. Here’s why.

First, delivering product to restaurants requires knowledge of food safety storage procedures. A well trained and experienced driver knows better than to leave a carton of frozen chicken breasts at your door even if it means he has to be late to the next appointment.

Second, those semis and even the smaller cube trucks require skills that sales reps, customers, dispatchers and executive chefs do not have. I, for one, couldn’t even get up into the driver seat, never mind reach the pedals. And, how many times a day could THEY climb up and jump down, up and down, up and down, from the back of a truck?

Third, a delivery driver needs to know the city streets, where to double park, how to access the delivery door, when to use a lift and hand truck and how to avoid one way streets and overhangs. And, he needs to be at each establishment at a predetermined time or he could get locked out which would mean that he would have to come back another time, or worse yet, call the sales agent.

Fourth, the driver has the authority to arrange for a credit or discount of product. He can persuade the customer to accept less or more, can take back returns and can even offset pricing as he sees fit.

Fifth, without the cooperation, pride and willingness of the driver to provide superior customer satisfaction, who would I get to carry 50 pounds of potatoes into my kitchen?

After decades in this industry, I have reaped more benefits from delivery drivers than from any customer service manager, sales representative, dispatcher or broker. Here’s to you, delivery drivers, for all the things you do to ensure we have what we need when we need it. Thank you.

Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef Angela Bell
Beyond the Bull (an “eat smart” kitchen)
233 W. Main St., Central, SC 29630

Last modified: June 21, 2013
Angela Bell

This story is part of our Small Business Corner, a peek into the life and trials of small business owners.

Category: MPR Authored, Restaurants, sales, Small Business, Small Business Corner, small business owners

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