Opinions needed on distributors servicing MidWest

Hey everyone,
I’m in the planning stages of my pizza biz and wanted some opinions on different distributors servicing my area(Ohio). I recently attended the pizza and ice cream show in Columbus and was able to meet a couple distributor reps and sample some of their products but want to hear what existing and past customers of theirs have to say .
At the show I was able to speak with Presto Foods, SoFo, Sysco. I saw RDP and GFS but didn’t speak with them. Didn’t see US Food Service there but know they distribute in my area.

Any “real world” information or experience you can share would be awesome.


Re: Opinions needed on distributors servicing Ohio

Two thumbs up for Sofo Foods. Been using them 100% for years and have had no problems at all.

Re: Opinions needed on distributors servicing Ohio

Thanks for the response! What products do you use from them? Are you using dough and sauce supplied by them?

Thanks again.

We purchase 100% of all our items from Sofo Foods. We make our own dough. Janet Wahl is the Sales Manager and is a great person to deal with. Sofo is a very straightforward no nonsense business.

We’re using a smaller, family run company named “Fox River Foods”. I’m not sure their market area (we’re in East-Central Illinois), but I’ve found them to be better in pricing and in customer service than some of the bigger players out there. We are also constantly checking with Hawkeye Foods who service a lot of the pizzerias in our area, they too are smaller, regional provider. I kind of like that idea, smaller should mean a more attentive sales staff and more responsive when meeting your personal needs and requirements.

I saw the dealings with Sysco a couple years ago at the place I used to work at, and I really liked them. Our rep would come by during the week and get our order and mention things that we hadnt ordered in awhile. that came in handy quite a bit when we would overlook an item or too during our pre-order counts. She also called in on sunday afternoons for our beginning of the week order, so we didnt really have to worry about getting our orders in by a certain time. The driver was a riot and was always fun to talk to, and would stack the items in the cooler for us to put away so that we wouldnt have to worry about getting them in the walkin quickly (it was outside at the time).

I personally dealt with US foods during my time as GM. Orders were placed online, which was handy for me because I was doing my ordering around midnight or later. Only had 1 driver in my time I didnt care for, and luckily, he was removed from our route. Two of the other drivers always tried to put things in the general area of where they were going to be stored, and would stack the cooler stuff in the cooler so that we didnt have to scramble to put things in the cooler, and could put them away when we had time to date everything and put it all in its places.

I am currently using both US Foods and RDP and find both of them great to work with. The delivery drivers are great, the salesmen are knowlegeable and work hard for us. I would have a hard time picking one over the other right now.

Hey just my thoughts on Hawkeye food service. My family has been in the food business in the Eastern Iowa area for decades as a major mfg. of soups and sauces and can say that Hawkeye is a top shelf company to deal with. Every company will have a bump every now and then but being a smaller business has it’s benifits and they seem to take care of their customers very well. I can honestly say I have not heard of any major complaints from any of their end users. Now, how far out do they go, I have no clue but it would be worth a call at least. Good luck.

Checked out both Fox river and Hawkeye. Both look to be out of my area. Anyone have dealings with Sysco or Presto?

Sysco is also good to deal with. Quite a bit larger and that is good for better product availability and pricing sometimes but can also hurt a little on the customer service side. Not saying that they are bad at all. Just that anytime you go larger it is there. We have also had relations with them for decades so I guess I would say that speaks for itself too. Call and have your local reps come out and talk too you and see what your needs are and what they can offer. Remember they can offer alot of services more than just food. Let them look at your whole operation and work with you to save you money and time.

I to am in Ohio. I currently use both GFS and Presto! I used Sysco for a couple of years but got a new rep and area manager and things fell apart! My experience with my current companies has been OUTSTANDING!!! Both of them have amazing reps for my area. With Gfs you can also order items from the market place stores and still get your pricing (if you happen to miss on your delivery) Presto is based about 15 minutes from me (newark) ohio and you can go there and do pick ups on unexpected needed items. The core support of both companies get an A+ from me! Office staff will get you any reports you need to make year end or quarterly needs easy. GFS & Presto have where you can order online instead of calling into the rep each time also. Both have really good support for new menu items and help getting you setup. Hope this helps
Prestos site www.prestofoods.com has a link to operators edge which has some new info each month and tips/guides
Gfs site you have to be a customer to access the full benefits but is very helpfull also with the menu planner etc.

The other day I was talking to the owner of the pizza place I worked at for 7 yrs. They too are using gfs and presto now. Had no complaints with either one.
Thanks guys
Any companies I should stay clear of?