Legacy Foodservice Alliance crafted its Mid-Year Connection as a seminar with a college curriculum for distributor and supplier members. True to its commitment to differentiate its member services and support, the Richmond, Va.-based distributor marketing group presented a unique event that provided both educational and networking opportunities. The two-day event was held in Baltimore, Md. on June 14 and 15.
The first day curriculum was targeted at the fundamental issues the distributor faces in today’s economy. Dwight Gorsuch of Legacy Foodservice Alliance opened the symposium with a panel of suppliers who identified accelerating supply-chain costs as they affect distributors. The response came from a panel of distributor, broker, and operator executives, who focused their remarks on providing distributor members with ways to help their operator customers manage costs and build business. The panel was moderated by Caroline Perkins and Patty Duffey, co-CEOs of SPEAK Foodservice and long-time industry participants.
Dr. John Stanton, chair, department of food marketing at St. Joseph’s University, wrapped up the day with a “course” on customer service. Dr. Stanton’s thesis was “delighting” the customer. He has co-authored a book called Delight Me – The Ten Commandments of Customer Service with Dr. Richard George, also a professor at St. Joseph’s.
The Wednesday session opened with a cross-functional panel moderated by Ms. Duffey and Ms. Perkins. Legacy supplier and broker partners were invited to join distributor members for a discussion on how the trading partners can more effectively collaborate to provide support for operator customers.
Dave Miesse and Bill Hornung of the Association for Foodservice Distributor Representatives (AFDR) conducted what Legacy called a “Cooperative Work Study” session that reinforced the importance of distributor sales reps (DSRs) in the foodservice sales process. Legacy will offer a training resource called Legacy StreetWise in the near future.
The afternoon featured a “training forum” during which distributor members met with a select group of Legacy supplier members to discuss new services and menu solutions for operator customers. True to its mission, Legacy set up the show in an intimate setting featuring private display areas for distributors to check out manufacturers’ new product offerings and discuss issues of importance.
The Connection wrapped up with an awards and recognition ceremony at which all participants received participation rewards, high achievers were honored, and a graduation reception followed.
Steve Push, Legacy CEO, said in a prepared statement, “The collection of great ideas, topics and presenters provided deeper insight into the issues facing our industry today. Our members left with actionable ways to help their operator customers thrive in this difficult environment.”
Deb Winter, Legacy executive vice president of sales, said in a prepared statement, “As far as we know, no other group has ever focused this many components of the supply chain on finding ways to benefit our mutual operator customers. The Mid-Year Connection was a unique and very positive learning experience for all of us.”
The Legacy Fall Marketplace will be held Sept. 19 to 22, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Md.