They say it takes three of something to become a trend, so it seems like restaurant suppliers selling directly to consumers is officially a trend.
In the past few months a number of software providers have created platforms that allow restaurants to purchase food from their suppliers. Choco, Cheetah, Pepper and DineMarket now all provide marketplaces to connect restaurant buyers with food wholesalers. However, since COVID-19 pushed for the closure of restaurants across the globe, suppliers no longer had customers and restaurants no longer needed an online supplier marketplace…so what next?
When the going gets tough, startups start pivoting. All the aforementioned providers decided to tackle the virus head on and adjusted their platforms to connect consumers with suppliers.
These pivots actually solved a major problem: online orders have more people than ever shopping for groceries online with the majority of online supermarkets to struggle with inventory and demand. Shopping from restaurant suppliers gives consumers another platform for food shopping, and eases some of the strain on existing retailers. This D2C move also helps restaurant suppliers stay alive, prevents people losing their jobs and helps promote zero waste.
But what happens post COVID? Consumers may be more open to non-traditional retail outlets when it comes to finding staple food stuffs like flour and sugar. And even though theres talk of restaurants re-opening, they have more than halved their capacity limits, so revenue will continue to be slow.
Both Choco and Cheetah have recently bagged impressive funding rounds: $30.2 million and $36 million, respectively, which demonstrates the importance of these platforms for consumers.