How to Start a Food Distribution Company

by Marie Huntington; Updated September 26, 2017
Take the time to develop your food distribution business right.

A food distribution company moves food products from the manufacturer to the market, or retailer. The distributor purchases the products and sells them to the retailer. Distribution companies generally locate their operations in large buildings or warehouses to conduct proper inventory and maintain delivery schedules. Food service companies distribute to restaurants, schools, hotels, quick-service eateries, health-care facilities and more. Successful food distribution companies maintain excellent customer service and positive relationships with their clients.

Items you will need

  • Warehouse space
  • Employees
  • Office supplies
  • Permits
  • Vehicles
  • Inventory-management software
Step 1

Develop a mission statement spelling out the purpose of your business and overall goals.

Identify your target market. Perform the necessary research about your future clients and customers. Determine whether your business will distribute a variety of foods or a particular type of food to help you locate the right manufacturers to work with.

Create a distribution plan that includes your company’s daily goals, food service routes, timing of deliveries and the types of food being delivered. Define the precise processes of your distribution and inventory-control systems.

Step 2

Determine the start-up cost to initiate and operate the business. Costs include paying for warehouse space, employees, office supplies, permits and the vehicles needed to transport the goods. Also consider acquiring a software package to handle daily business operations. Investing in technology will help you eliminate unnecessary operating expenses. Inventory management software produces purchase orders, receiving lists, invoices and payment receipts.

Step 3

Establish your niche. Do your research and determine the steps needed to develop a profitable business by combining an evaluation of your finances and available resources with your evaluation of the needs of your target market.

Step 4

Develop solid relationships with retailers and manufacturers and a strategy to monitor the daily process of food distribution. This will help you focus on resolving any glitches and developing superior service.

About the Author

Marie Huntington has been a legal and business writer since 2002 with articles appearing on various websites. She also provides travel-related content online and holds a Juris Doctor from Thomas Cooley Law School.

Photo Credits

  • Depository image by Czintos Ödön from Fotolia.com