Bob Friedman Wins In OCS With On Site Attendants

March 1, 2017

Not all pantry service is created equal. For Robert "Bob" Friedman, it was a challenge to give his New York customers the personalized inventory, stocking and cleaning they wanted when parking and loading dock space made it near impossible for the driver to do this. The solution was hiring an onsite attendant, and has driven up business for Coffee Distributing Corp. In fact, CDC handles all of these types of accounts since Canteen purchased the company in 2011 and anticipates additional growth.

A family origin

As with many office coffee service providers at the time, CDC was a family business. It was founded by the combined efforts of brothers Samuel and Louis Friedman in 1963. When Louis died, Samuel asked his son Bob to join the company.

Bob Friedman learned the business from the bottom up, which helped him drive up revenues when he became president in 1984. CDC benefitted from a "can do attitude" driven by Friedman that included expanding into multiple OCS segments before they were commonly available, including bottled water service, exclusive coffee lines, marketing break room espresso, and launching single-cup brewers. Then in 2011, Compass made an offer to Friedman. They would purchase the company, but have him stay on as president with reasonable autonomy.

"The sale was the best of both worlds," said Friedman who was seeing a decrease in large OCS independents. "National companies were getting a larger piece of the business."

After the acquisition was complete a valuable CDC customer was really pushing for the idea of more service. The "can do" attitude of his family surfaced once again, and Friedman agreed to try it.

A person was hired to be on location, doing the inventory, stocking, and cleaning responsivities. The location was charged by the hour for the attendant, but was happy to pay for it. "It's displacing someone who would have been on their staff," said Friedman. "The benefit for the company is that they don't have to concern themselves about that person's payroll and management. "No sick time, vacation coverage, performance reviews, etc.," added Friedman. Plus, having the on-site person helps CDC achieve a truly higher level of service. The attendant can react to issues on the spot and reorder as often as necessary. "Some accounts put in orders everyday, especially fresh products like fruit," explained Friedman.

Quick growing revenue booster

Pantry service with an attendant is 5 to 10 percent of CDCs revenue and one of the fastest growing segments. "We have over 60 of these employees now," Friedman said. He sees the outsourcing trend continue and for locations that can support attendants, he is happy to provide this additional service.

CDC continues to be a leader in bringing OCS to the metro area of New York, and by considering new ways of giving his customers what they want, Friedman was able to improve his level of service once again.