C&S Wholesale Grocers has teamed up with Sysco to provide temporary employment for workers at the foodservice distributor, the nation’s largest.
Under the partnership, unveiled Tuesday, C&S will give jobs to certain Sysco warehouse and delivery associates to help supply food to New York, the state hardest-hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The workers will remain Sysco employees during the time period they work at C&S, the grocery wholesaler said, and Sysco will continue to provide their pay and any other benefits they typically receive.
C&S noted that the alliance will enable the company to ease a worker shortage from surging food retail demand during the pandemic. At the same time, Sysco personnel will be transferred to similar job functions while demand is temporarily lower in the foodservice sector, where thousands of restaurants and foodservice operators have shut down to slow the spread of the virus.
“Our agreement with Sysco, as well as our other key partnerships recently announced, will enable us to handle the increasing grocery needs of communities around the country,” Mike Duffy, CEO of C&S Wholesale Grocers, said in a statement. “C&S is continuously looking at ways to get food and critical products to all of our retail customers. This new partnership allows us to focus on a region that has been devastated by this health crisis and honor our commitment to keep our New York families fed.”
Keene, N.H.-based C&S supplies more than 7,700 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases and institutions with over 137,000 products.
In late March, C&S announced partnerships with foodservice distributors US Foods and Performance Food Group to address supply and job imbalances in the grocery and foodservice industries resulting from the pandemic. Houston-based Sysco, along with competitors US Foods and McLane Foodservice, also have teamed with The Kroger Co. to share labor and other resources during the health crisis.
The International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) projected in March that foodservice distributors will lose $24 billion in top-line sales, receivables and perishable inventory over the next three months due to the coronavirus emergency. Much of that shortfall will come from widespread business shutdowns in the restaurant industry from COVID-19. The National Restaurant Association recently reported that the restaurant sector stands to lose at least $225 billion over the next three months and cut 5 million to 7 million jobs because of the pandemic.
Collaboration between the grocery and foodservice industries has been stepped up at a macro level as well. Last month, IFDA and FMI-The Food Industry Association announced a partnership to help steer excess industry resources to the grocery sector, whose resources have been pushed to the brink to meet soaring demand during the coronavirus outbreak while mass closings of restaurants and foodservice businesses nationwide have displaced workers in those industries. Through a matching program, foodservice distributors with unused capacity — including products, transportation and warehousing services — will be connected with food retailers and wholesalers seeking more supply and support.