Dealer vs. Distributor? Three reasons to make the right choice

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Dealer vs. Distributor? Three reasons to make the right choice

Buzzwords aside, what exactly does “customer experience” mean at Henny Penny?  For starters, it is a way to think about what we do as one continuous effort to make life better for our customer partners. Then we add data-driven processes so the work we actually do every day remains focused on this outcome. In this three-part blog series, we pull back the curtain on some of these activities and the people who lead them.
Wondering where to buy commercial kitchen equipment? Well, if you are a DIYer, you look online for the lowest price and do everything yourself. That’s fine for working around the house. But if you are looking to build a successful restaurant business, there is a better way. In fact, we’re going to give you three compelling reasons why working with a Henny Penny distributor is the right move. Before we get to that, let’s clear up any dealer vs distributor confusion that might still be out there.
Dealers and distributors are often thought of as competing for customers. For the most part, they are part of the same sales and service channel. It’s just that very few food service equipment manufacturers work exclusively with a network of local distributors. Instead, they may list restaurant supply dealers as “distributors” for their equipment in a particular region.
Jake Bronson, Henny Penny Senior Regional Sales Manager for Northern U.S. and Canada, explains the relationship this way: Restaurant equipment and supply dealers act as general contractors for practically anything a restaurant might need for the front and back of house. In that role they source products, supplies and contract out for expert services on behalf of the operator. That’s where the Henny Penny distributor comes into the picture. Henny Penny distributors are the experts in commercial cooking equipment, particularly when it comes to frying operations.
“Today, most dealers have good relationships with our distributors,” said Bronson. “They are happy to turn over equipment selection, training and service to our distributors who then work directly with customers in a number of ways. A lot of restaurant supply dealers are recommending Henny Penny distributors to their customers because of product availability, reliability and expertise.”
Reason #1: Product Availability
The biggest advantage right now in working with Henny Penny is product availability. Because of current extraordinary supply chain constraints, it can take up to a year to get a fryer order from most manufacturers. Bronson says it’s gotten to the point that operators are considering six months reasonable. Against that, it’s not uncommon for a Henny Penny distributor to have a deep fryer available within six weeks. Pressure fryers even sooner.
How? Henny Penny distributors play a crucial role by stocking an inventory of Henny Penny fryers and other equipment. While Henny Penny continued production during the initial Covid economic shutdown, distributors were able not only to fill new orders but also replenish their inventory. “Our exclusive distributor network is just about the only channel entity that does this for fryers,” said Bronson. And it’s a big reason why dealers otherwise unaligned with a particular manufacturer will turn to Henny Penny distributors to get the frying piece done.
Reason #2: Owning service and training
We talk a lot about our 24/7 Technical Service Hotline, and how Henny Penny customers save millions every year with remote service capability and a first-time fix rate of 84 percent—20 points higher than the CFESA industry average!
Customers expect a lot from a premium brand, and thanks to our distributors, they get it. Henny Penny distributors and their authorized service agents are experts on one brand of fryer. They are trained and certified by the factory. In fact, Henny Penny will train anyone who wants to become certified to service Henny Penny products.
“Training is always part of new equipment purchases,” said Bronson. “But with staff turnover so high these days, most of our distributors offer on-going training whenever you need it.”
The quality of food and efficiency of kitchen operations depend on knowing how to use equipment properly. Henny Penny equipment is designed to take a beating and will continue to do so for a long time if it is well cared for. And that’s a good reason to stick with your distributor for service after the warranty period.
Reason #3: Ongoing partnership
It’s natural for local restaurant chains and independent operators to wonder if they will get as much attention from a manufacturer as big national accounts. This is one reason Henny Penny has always worked through a global network of exclusive local and regional distributors. A commercial kitchen equipment distributor tends to be more invested with their customers and projects than other equipment sales channels.
“A Henny Penny distributor is a frying expert and a Henny Penny expert,” says Bronson. “Our brand is going to be number one or two in their business. They will take the time to help improve your process and build a long-term relationship by standing by your operations after the sale. That’s the difference.”
Every Henny Penny distributor has a demonstration kitchen where customers can test their own recipes and product formulations in Henny Penny equipment. They can help you select the right breading, product and oils, and frying process for a new or expanded menu. They will even help you improve operating efficiency by recommending ways to reduce oil, food waste, and labor costs.
Bottom line? “Henny Penny distributors are independent local equipment and operations experts who represent our brand promise to deliver a superior customer experience,” says Bronson. “They are truly the face of Henny Penny in the marketplace.”

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Source: https://www.hennypenny.com/the-latest/blog/

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