When the Better Wholesaling Summit 2017 was announced earlier this year, I thought that it would be very useful to attend.

I believed that gaining some insights about how the independent convenience store supply chain would be changing to combat the Tesco/Booker merger would be incredibly important. What I learnt at #BWSummit17 was much more interesting than that – Tesco didn’t get much of a mention at all.

Changes in technology

Robin
Robin Clark, director of Just Eat

The summit kicked off with a look at the changing world of technology with Robin Clark from Just Eat telling the story of the app that has changed the food service channel. The numbers he shared are startling. The app attracted over 88 million orders last year and some of those were from customers of convenience retailers like Mo Razzaq. What apps and websites do you use in your business?

 

Simon
Simon Hannah, MD of JW Filshill

 

The second keynote speaker was Simon Hannah, MD at Scottish wholesaler JW Filshill. His presentation was about how his business is using tech to improve the efficiency of his business and using ‘big data’ to make better informed decisions. How do you use your big data to improve your store?

The Future of Food Service

The second session was about foodservice, and was the part of the summit that really grabbed my attention. It was at the heart of the reason why I asked to go to the event: the centre of the Tesco/Booker deal is foodservice.

There was a huge stand out point that came from Aris Poulis from Hyperama and Andy Kemp, Bidfood that should concern convenience store retailers: Food Service is growing faster than retail in the wholesale sector. Mr Poulis said that food service was now more than 50% of the Hyperama business. Food to go has been part of the convenience model for some time and Dan Cock has embraced food service with the addition of a café/lounge bar to his village store this year. Do you have plans to take your store into food service like Dan?

Simplifying wholesale

The other big revelation I took away from the event is a realisation of just how complex the wholesale operation is that makes the regular deliveries to your store possible. James Russell, from Blakemore Wholesale Distribution said simplification was the thing to do tomorrow. It is easy to get absorbed in the day to day of one’s own business, to build a better relationship with your key suppliers ask about how their business works.

Spending a day with a group of the remarkable people that help make the convenience and food service supply chain work was illuminating to say the least. It has given me a very different perspective on how the convenience supply channel really works.