What Food Distributors Do?

Young courier giving the cardboard box to man while they standing outdoors she delivering food

Most Americans never think about where their food comes from. We’re fortunate enough to take for granted that our access to as much food as we need without ever considering what goes behind the scenes. But fully stocked shelves are the result of the United States’ impressive food distribution network, which transports millions of tons of fresh and processed foods every day.

Food distribution companies act as a bridge between the farmers, ranchers, and food processing companies that produce our food, and the grocery stores, restaurants, and other food retailers that sell it to us. They handle the logistics of food transportation and storage as it travels from producers to foodservice operators, i.e., restaurants, convenience stores, groceries, food and beverage managers, hospitals, and cafeterias. This system lets manufacturers outsource their logistics without having to manage dedicated fleets and invest heavily in logistics. Because most food distributors are independent, all manufacturers and producers need to do in order to create a supply chain is hire a distributor that caters to their specific needs.

A food distributor’s job is anticipating, and meeting needs on both ends of the supply chain. Food distributors build and maintain relationships with suppliers in order to make sure they can meet customer demand. They also keep in close contact with their grocery, restaurant, and food-service customers so they can complete orders and make deliveries in an efficient and timely manner.


Cash and Carry distributors

Rather than transporting goods, Cash and Carry distributors operate warehouses where foodservice operators can come to shop. They’re most typically used by restaurants, caterers, and nonprofits.


Instead of selling goods directly to foodservice operators, redistributors buy directly from manufacturers, then distribute small amounts of these goods to smaller distributors who aren’t set up to deal with bulk quantities.

Specialty distributors

Specialty distributors specialize in a specific category of products, using any special equipment that their niche goods require. For example, halal and kosher restaurants and caterers have unique specifications about how the food they sell is manufactured.

Broadline distributors

Broadline distributors are the most general food distributor category, often used by grocery store chains and other large retail food businesses. Due to the quantities of products they distribute, buyers purchasing large volumes of goods often receive discounts and other advantages.

It’s essential that food distributor companies provide good value for their services, and we pride ourselves on doing that for all of our customers. Atlantic Dominion Distributors is a preferred convenience store food distributor serving Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. We offer an impressive product mix from the biggest and best manufacturers in America, following consumer buying trends so we’re always up to date on the needs of our convenience store customers. Our next-day delivery option means you’ll have fully stocked shelves without having to keep a large inventory on your premises. Contact us today to get started.