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PFG focuses on training and profits

Performance Food Group’s Springfield, Massachusetts, operating company has hit on a value-added service that’s picking up steam. Called Performance for Profit, it’s a customized training program offered free of charge to customers and prospects.

Christine Schaefer, director of marketing at the distributorship, which is one of 18 PFG broadline divisions, says her company’s recent move to a new state-of-the-art facility with deluxe test kitchen and conference facilities, combined with the reality that many operators need extra help right now, has seen the program’s popularity rise.

The program typically consists of a half-day seminar conducted by PFG culinary staff, food safety experts, product specialists and, if appropriate, vendor and broker partners. Customers work with their sales associate and PFG business development managers beforehand to identify objectives.

“We ask a series of questions to get at what will be most helpful,” Schaefer says. “For instance, do they need help training their waitstaff to sell desserts? Are they looking to lower labor costs or to find product alternatives that will reduce their cost of goods? Once we have those types of questions answered, we decide which experts to bring in.”

One large-volume, 10-unit local independent operator has come in for multiple sessions. “We did a complete program on how to run a successful dessert sales incentive program. Another time they wanted product and menu ideas that would help control costs and make some menu revisions. We presented new steak cuts and other menu alternatives that have a lower food cost and can be presented with high perceived value. We looked at manual labor costs versus the cost of products purchased precut or proportioned.

And we reviewed their menu in general to determine if they’re on trend with what’s hot in foodservice today.”

Performance Food Group-Springfield
Springfield, MA
ID Top 50 Rank: 3
Marketing Territory: New England
(except New Hampshire and Maine)
2008 sales: $6 billion