US Foods' Jim Osborne Discusses the New Make it Now Platform
ROSEMONT, IL - To help all independent restaurant operators, US Foods has introduced an expanded series of resources and solutions to help restaurateurs adapt to changing industry needs and prepare for a safe and successful reopening. Under the company’s new Make it Now website, US Foods is offering webinars and virtual one-on-one consultations with its Restaurant Operations Consultants and Food Fanatic Chefs, as well as a robust resource library and a special edition of its magazine, Food Fanatics, that explores industry lessons learned during COVID-19.
To get the inside scoop on this wide array of resources, I linked up with Jim Osborne, Senior Vice President of Customer Strategy and Innovation at US Foods.
“The world has changed a lot over the last eight weeks and many industries have been hit hard, but I don't know that there are any that have been hit as hard as the restaurant business,” Jim began. “With government-mandated closures in almost all states, it has forced restaurateurs to pivot their business models or close. As we experience reduced traffic and higher operating costs, it puts a lot of strain on that restaurateur. They probably got into the business because they love food and they think they're running a restaurant. In reality, they're running a small business and need a lot of support on the operation side as everything changes so rapidly around them.”
The backbone of the program is US Foods’ consultation services. The company has leveraged its Food Fanatic Chefs and Restaurant Operation Consultants, or ROCS as Jim called them, to help customers make it during this challenging time.
These consultants are former operators with tremendous amounts of experience. US Foods directs its customers to them for any consultations around profitability, menu ideation, or understanding the technology landscape.
“We've got virtual one-on-ones that any customer can engage with and we've also done a series of webinars that are reaching thousands of people in the industry. Our most popular topic so far has been helping participants navigate the CARES Act, which is quite complex,” explained Jim. “Our restaurant operation consultants help put the act into language that the restaurateur can understand and then help them understand what they need to do next to not only survive but even thrive in their restaurant.”
While US Foods is focused on preparing operators as they welcome back diners when the time is right, it is also helping its customers pivot their business models. The company is supporting this growth by focusing on the operational side through managing cash flows, understanding break-even points, and getting technology into restaurants to support delivery and take-out programs.
“We've been practicing for eight years for something like this,” Jim told me. “We've been focused on helping customers enable take-out delivery, manage their menu profitably, enable their business with technology, manage their labor, and ultimately be successful. We've got a pretty simple business model. If we can help a customer increase profits, they will buy more food, and hopefully they will buy it from us.”
With such concrete and comprehensive support from US Foods, the future of these restaurant operators is looking bright.