Changing Demands on Foodservice Supply Chains
Forecasting consumer demand in the foodservice industry typically has been based on historical patterns and the related supply chain plans built to support the prior trends. However, with consumer behaviors changing rapidly in the restaurant industry, it’s becoming imperative for foodservice supply chains to have the ability to proactively prepare for and respond to significant shifts in demand.
Social media, more emphasis on nutrition, a focus on sustainability and social responsibility, less real brand loyalty and new technology platforms are transforming how consumers make their dining decisions. As a result, demand cycles are becoming more variable and less predictable, and cycle times to respond are becoming shorter. Restaurants also are becoming more proactive in driving demand through more promotions, new menu items and new dining experiences, and demand sometimes fluctuates as a result of uncontrollable factors like weather and community events.
What emerges is a situation where supply chains will be held accountable for how they respond to demand rather than simply achieving the lowest landed cost of goods. But this can only be achieved through the visibility and collaboration that is foundational to integrated supply chain management.