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Snack Feature: Reinhart Foodservice

Snack Feature: Reinhart Foodservice

Reinhart Foodservice has been featured in the latest edition of AndNowUKnow’s print publication, The Snack Magazine.  Coming off of 2013 Vendor of the Year Awards and a Distributor of the Year Award, the company’s Director of Produce Category Management, Rob Ondrus, and Vice President of Category Management, Dean Hogan, discuss what Reinhart has in store for the future and how it laid the foundations for future growth.

Check out The Snack article by clicking here, or read the full text below:

Ready, Set, Grow.

What once was a successful regional distributor in the upper Midwest is now a national player with a respected stage presence – making the big boys look over their shoulders at the nation’s fourth largest distributor. With 31 divisions covering the eastern half of the United States and $7 billion in volume, Reinhart Foodservice’s “push” is just getting started. And this should be a fresh bit of news for restaurant operators.

As Reinhart continues market penetration at its distribution centers, the company is focusing on adding value to operators and going beyond the case delivery. Reinhart has a more focused approach on helping operators grow their business through managing food costs, improving operations, marketing their business, and category management that addresses the needs of its operators.

With a dedicated sales force entrenched on the ground, Reinhart is able to stay in tune with its customer base, which in turn strengthens relationships with local and regional suppliers whose needs fit Reinhart’s and vice-versa.

Producing the Connection

“The industry is heading into uncharted waters; you can’t be everything to everyone,” says Rob Ondrus, Director of Produce Category Management at Reinhart. “We offer a different value from the larger foodservice companies, but at the same time we’re bigger than the smaller ones.”

Reinhart prides itself on its efforts of maintaining regionality at the division level with national buying power, differentiating it from other distributors. Because of this, Reinhart folks can penetrate accounts with a focus on their menu, rather than the distributors’ assortment. Year after year, this strategy is continuing to push the company to new heights. Reinhart has seen its volume more than triple since being acquired in 2005 by Reyes Holdings, L.L.C., a global leader in food and beverage distribution and 11th largest private company in the United States.

The growth is evident in its latest category management initiative: Ondrus and Reinhart have officially kicked off their new produce packing brand, Good Roots™, looking to make a bigger splash in the industry in the category. This keeps in line with its local touch, and emphasizes freshness, flexibility, and quality above all else. Good Roots™ tries to stay as close as possible to the source of the product for optimal shelf life.

“The function of Good Roots™ is to allow the company to fulfill the fast moving needs of the operators, making sure they receive the precise size they need, when they need it. Good Roots™ is inherently more local than the competition just because it makes flexibility and freshness a priority for operators,” says Reinhart’s Vice President of Category Management Dean Hogan.

Although Reinhart hasn’t yet opened the floodgates on this new produce brand, the company is moving forward with a strategic approach and is aligning with incumbent suppliers. Good Roots™ is just one of many ways the company is staying relevant in this growing industry.

Trailblaze with Technology

One of Reinhart’s biggest competitive advantages in the foodservice industry is its innovations in technology. Take for example Markon®’s Produce Guide; Reinhart has closely aligned with Markon to offer a smartphone application that lists flavor profiles, texture descriptions, pairing ideas, and substitution suggestions for anything and everything produce, from the familiar to the exotic.

Additionally, Reinhart’s next-generation TRACS® Direct online system helps customers take control of their food costs by helping them manage operations and budgeting. The customized tool includes product order entry and tracking, comprehensive recipe management and menu planning, robust reporting and instant analysis of purchase history, all linked to a fully integrated database. The tool ensures that menus are developed with unique impact and flavor and adheres to customers’ nutritional demands. Overall, it’s a financial tool for the operators to manage all aspects of their business as well as offering them the flexibility to order all of their products direct from Reinhart. Be on the lookout for the company’s TRACS® Direct To Go app on the Apple® iTunes Store, bringing the experience to smartphones.

“We’ve also developed internal systems so we can be a better partner to our suppliers,” Hogan says. “We want to provide our suppliers access to data, insights, and customer details in a more approachable way.”

Staying One Step Ahead

With such success in the industry, there’s no telling what’s ahead for Reinhart’s future. The company is certainly being recognized in the industry. In 2013, Reinhart was named Vendor of the Year by fast casual Mexican restaurant, Pancheros, as well as Subway® and Popeye®’s 2013 Distributor of the Year. The question is: Could Reinhart grow bigger?

“Who knows?” says Hogan. “Our focus is on organic growth right now. If opportunities come up for expansion, I am sure that we will consider them.”

“If we want to grow, we need to stand by our values and what we believe in,” Ondrus adds.

There’s a reason why Reinhart has been able to carve a legacy in the foodservice-distribution industry. By providing suppliers with the ability to make knowledgeable choices and staying relevant, Reinhart has built numerous long-standing relationships that speak to the company’s core values of service, integrity, and leadership. There’s more to great food than choice alone. Reinhart goes beyond providing customers with just fresh produce and restaurant supply needs. With comprehensive technology, advances in food safety and product offerings, Reinhart is staying on top of its game. While relying on choice will serve the company well in the future, Reinhart’s ability to stay relevant in an ever-changing market is testament to the strength of the business.

Reinhart Foodservice

The Snack

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