To top

Food Distributor Expand Business with Route Planning

December 08, 2020
Eat Here St. Louis

Prior to March 2020, Eat Here Saint Louis (Eat Here STL) served as a food distributor to restaurants in the St. Louis, Missouri, area.

But COVID-19 changed everything overnight.

As the city closed restaurants to prevent the spread of the virus, Eat Here STL needed to find new revenue sources quickly. So, the company created a home delivery service in partnership with a group of local farmer’s markets. This partnership is helping connect new customers to local farms and expanding the company’s business model at the same time.

“We wanted to create a sales platform that took the place of the farmer’s markets that had closed due to the pandemic. We wanted the farmers to be able to replace the lost revenue and for our company to survive while we waited for restaurants to reopen,” explained Preston Walker, owner of Eat Here STL.

Before the pandemic hit, Eat Here STL made about 20-30 deliveries per day, five days a week. But this new service required making 200-500 deliveries each weekend—a much more complicated job. To help get this new service off the ground, Eat Here STL invested in MyRouteOnline in April 2020.
“We opted to go with home delivery over having customers pick up their orders at a predetermined time. The reason for this was that we felt that home deliveries greatly mitigated the chance of exposure,” Preston said. “We needed a budget friendly, simple program to create the delivery routes for our team of drivers. We evaluated a couple of web-based programs and landed on MRO because the cost was low, data import was easy, and the routes were efficient.”
Try our Online Route Planner for Free!
Now Eat Here STL creates 5-7 routes with 200-500 stops per Saturday. Each driver typically has 30-50 stop per route. Routes are entered via Google Sheets, and then emailed to each driver who navigates using the MyRouteOnline app and/or Google Maps. After the routes have been created, Preston makes some manual edits to make sure that the number of stops is consistent among drivers.

Preston can’t determine the savings MyRouteOnline has provide as this service is brand new. But he is certain that implementing this Route Planner was the right choice and they will continue benefiting from using it because their new service will continue after the economy recovers from COVID-19.

He also appreciates how his company’s ability to create this new service has helped both Eat Here STL and the farmers they partner with during this challenging time. And that’s good for the local economy too.

Preston explains that buying local puts more money in farmers’ pockets as well. On average, farmers receive less than 10 cents of every dollar spent on food. By having a market of dedicated customers and chefs buying from them, farmers receive a fairer price for their high-quality crops and animals.

“Buying from local producers keeps more money in our local community,” Preston said. “When you buy local, your money has four times the financial impact here than buying from a national distributor.”
Try our Online Route Planner for Free!