JJ Foodservice has reported record sales as the eating out market picks up and home consumers continue to shop in bulk.
Sales in August 2020 increased by 9.27% compared with the same period last year, with the government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme boosting sales as people started eating out again.
“We are by no means out of the woods, but to get this far under unprecedented circumstances is a great achievement,” said Chief Operating Officer for JJ, Mushtaque Ahmed.
Buoyant trading for JJ is all the more significant considering many of its customers in the hospitality sector were forced to close in March due to the lockdown.
But the pioneering wholesaler quickly adapted to the new business realities – and opportunities, targeting consumers struggling to find essential groceries at their local supermarkets when the pandemic first broke.
JJ came to the rescue, launching a consumer service with home delivery for orders over £79, along with a click and collect service from its 11 warehouses nationwide. The initiative generated thousands of new customers, who continue to shop with them.
“We reacted immediately to the lockdown with the launch of our Next Day Home delivery service”, Ahmed said.
Catering to consumers meant some adjustments to the bulk buying deals and services JJ would normally offer trade outlets.
Bulk items came in smaller pack sizes that were better suited to households’ needs and budgets, and there was a Same Day Delivery service for selected parts of London.
Observing the panic-buying in March, where supermarket shelves were stripped bare of basic grocery items, JJ also built in some sensible precautions to manage demand.
“We placed quantity limits on essential items like toilet rolls and handwash, to allow more customers to buy and reduce panic buying”, explained Ahmed.
“We didn’t profiteer”, he added. “By not increasing our prices – we have built trust with customers and many have continued to shop with us.”
The benefits of shopping at wholesale prices backed by a reliable and accessible service, when many supermarkets couldn’t offer delivery slots for weeks, has not been lost on consumers. Many have stayed loyal to their alternative grocery supplier even as normal service has resumed elsewhere in the retail sector.
The new business for JJ didn’t stop there, however. The giant foodservice provider’s ability to maintain regular deliveries attracted new trade customers too, who turned to JJ after suffering disruptions to their usual supplies.
“We have worked hard over the past five months to maintain a robust and reliable supply chain,” said Ahmed.
As a result, many of the restaurants and takeaways who were trading over the lockdown period turned to JJ. “After trying us out – many have decided to stay,” he said.
Forever innovating, the North London-headquartered business looked beyond sales, offering value added services to many small businesses throughout the pandemic.
JJ’s tech team can create transactional websites for clients in 24 hours. As a result, restaurants were able to stay open by operating as a takeaway with online ordering ready to go.
The award-winning wholesaler also launched a series of YouTube videos to demonstrate how they have helped takeaways to Navigate the Lockdown.
And if that wasn’t enough, they also set about challenging the unscrupulous commission charged by the major food ordering apps with its #DropTheApp campaign.
JJ offered an alternative through its Foodit platform, which charges 10% commission to restaurants for online orders, compared to rates as high as 35% from Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo.
The company has paid tribute those who have contributed to its success, issuing a statement thanking their team and customers “for their dedication, hard work and loyalty” during the crisis period.