With over $200 million sales reported by 25 of the Top 50 distributors in the country in tabletop and/or equipment lines in 2013, it can no longer be said that such items are the prerogative of the specialist. Indeed, the nation’s largest broadline distributors have carved out a substantial share of the foodservice market in these lines. Among the Top 50 distributors of 2013, 35 carry nonfood items other than disposables and/or chemicals: 35 stock tabletop and/or small wares, 33 inventory light equipment and 16 have heavy equipment.
Also, 23 of these firms boast showrooms for the lines.
Several of the 10 distributors that did not report their 2013 volume in tabletop and equipment were either new to the lines or as yet doing only limited business with them. These included American Fruit & Produce Co., Inc., Institutional Food Distributors, Inc., S.M. Flickinger Co. and Alfred M. Lewis, Inc.
For the 25 Top 50 distributors who reported their tabletop and equipment volume for 2013, those sales added up to $217 million, or 4 percent of the total sales of those distributors in 2013. And for the 26 Top 50 companies that reported their combined nonfood volume for 2013 (includes disposables, chemicals, tabletop and equipment), those figures came to $765 million, or 14 percent of their total 2013 sales.
While some Top 50 distributors still do an as yet modest job with tabletop and equipment, many others are getting better established with them.
The No. 1 distributor in the country, Sysco Corp., for instance, rang up $74 million sales in tabletop and equipment, or 4 percent of its total 2013 foodservice sales of $1.850 billion.
PYA/Monarch, Inc., with $1.100 billion in foodservice sales for 2013, is still phasing those lines into its branches. But that volume has grown to $22 million, or 2 percent of total 2013 sales. Smelkinson Brothers Corp., for instance, just got into tabletop and equipment in 1982, but the company now does 2 percent of total volume in those lines. Skly Bros., Inc., which took on tabletop and equipment five years ago, now does 2.7 percent of total sales in those categories and opened its first showroom in 2013.
Still other Top 50 distributors are placing heavier emphasis on tabletop and equipment lines. Associated Grocers Food Service, which has a subsidiary that sells equipment and supplies, has started to get its broad-line sales force involved with them for the first time. The distributor established an incentive program in 2013 in these lines and provided reps with a catalog.
S.S. Pierce Co. augmented its equipment capability with the addition of a design and installation department in 2013, and L.M. Sandler & Sons, Inc., cited significant growth in tabletop and equipment business in 2013. These lines now constitute 2.5 percent of sales for Sandler.
Another Top 50 distributor, Interstate Restaurant Supply Co., also pointed to significant increases in that business in 2013, in contract sales in particular, which amount to 7 percent of the company’s overall 2013 sales.
Shamrock Foods, which does 8 percent of volume at its Phoenix branch in tabletop and equipment, introduced those lines, complete with new showroom, at its Denver division in 2013.
In addition, there are three Top 50 companies not yet in tabletop and equipment but with plans to add them in the foreseeable future. They are Ben E. Keith Co., Inc., Ritter Food Corp. and S. Schaffer Grocery Corp.