As a member of ECD, Servicegrossistene are part of Europe’s largest international foodservice partnership with over 430 family owned wholesale stores and 4,000 distribution vehicles. All ECD members work towards the same goal - to be the best locally and to be the preferred full-range wholesaler in their market. Servicegrossistene´s own magazine Gourmet, talks to CEO Jan van der Burg, who is also chairman of the ECD, to learn a little more about what ECD means for Servicegrossistene and Servicegrossistene’s customers.
Currently all industries experience some form of internationalization, and the foodservice industry is no exception. Major international, centralized wholesalers are working for standardization and efficiency, and are increasingly trying to offer their customers, regardless of national borders, a standardized offer and range. When it comes to food and drink, this is an area where Servicegrossistene and ECD members respect the fact that there are major regional differences and the food we eat is rooted in tradition and culture. Each ECD member has therefore set itself the goal of rendering themselves as a local foodservice specialist, who can offer the best of local and national goods. At the same time, ECD ensures that member wholesalers have the best possible competitiveness, an active exchange of experience about trends and customer needs, and, in particular, work to be ahead of developments in terms of electronic and automated trading solutions. ECD is the organization that makes it possible to be the best local wholesaler, while at the same time having all the benefits of being national and European, which means that nothing holds you back.
Growth is created locally
The members of the ECD are family owned foodservice wholesalers, all of whom have the belief that personal service, proximity to the customer and flexibility are crucial, and thereby the right strategy for a good foodservice trade. This strategy has proven to be smart. Jan van der Burg can tell us that in the 15 countries where ECD is present, ECD members experience a larger customer growth than the other major, centralized entities who offer much more standardized solutions. «Our offer and our unique service delivery and range flexibility are more attractive in the modern foodservice market», says Jan. «Today, it’s not the big chain concepts that make Europeans eat more out, but rather the small specialized new, exciting and less predictable eateries», Jan states. «Today’s foodservice customers are not quite A4, and neither are we. Service Distributors and our ECD partners, such as Dansk Cater and Svensk Cater, are perceived as very attractive partners for the individual customer, but also for smaller chains who want to change the range and menus quickly, ‘all-bydemand’.»
A common toolbox
For more than 25 years, ECD has exchanged experiences, in terms of trends, supplier cooperation, international customers and technology utilization. These are important benefits that allow members to stay ahead of development and to help customers succeed in the best possible way. Another important factor in the ECD cooperation is that we have the opportunity to learn from each other when it comes to the operational running of the wholesale businesses. Foodservice is a very extensive industry that is constantly evolving. New demands are made by both customers, authorities and suppliers, and through ECD, members receive valuable knowledge that, as a small or mediumsized family business, could never be gained on their own.«With a strong local commitment to our local wholesalers and all our customers, we manage to combine ‘the best of both worlds’», says Jan, and concludes with ECD’s mantra: «The bigger we are internationally - the stronger we are locally.»