Stream the podcast above for more insights into the post-coronavirus supply chain.

The coronavirus has completely disrupted the restaurant industry. Sales are down a staggering amount, and everyday operations have been adjusted on the fly as companies shift to an off-premises-only business model.

But one other way the spread of COVID-19 has affected restaurants is in the supply chain. Restaurants suddenly are having a harder time predicting their supply needs, and distributors in many cases are left with excess product after restaurants have canceled orders. Meanwhile, just as everyday Americans are scrambling to get a hold of hand sanitizer and toilet paper, so, too, are restaurants.

Mitch Plesha, senior director of distribution at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, says the coronavirus has presented a problem for the foodservice industry, particularly in the supply chain, that nobody has ever encountered before.

“We all had plans for a hurricane hitting a certain market or a fire at a supplier’s plant. But when you’re talking about something that’s nationwide impacting everyone, I don’t think we’ve ever prepared for something like that,” he says. “The other thing is the next wave of this thing. We have great suppliers that have wanted to serve customers. But then, as people start getting sick and this thing goes around and they start calling off, what’s the next wave of this? I think we’re still ramping up in the number of cases. What happens when those people start staying home just out of fear? There are so many more links to the supply chain that we’re having to consider now.”

Plesha joined Jeff Dorr, chief customer officer at ArrowStream, and Bill Michalski, chief product officer at ArrowStream—a supply chain technology company that relies on data to enhance foodservice companies’ supply decisions—on a recent episode of QSR’s podcast Fast Forward to discuss what restaurant operators should do now to protect their supply for the future, and to dispel the misperceptions that have taken root across the industry in the wake of coronavirus. Stream the podcast above. 

Back of House, Restaurant Operations, Story, Technology