The food service industry embraces all business functions, services, and activities involved in preparing and serving food for people eating away from home. This includes the delivery of raw ingredients and raw food to restaurants, from fine dining to fast food, including for institutional food operations such as in schools, hospitals, catering businesses, and food truck operators.


Today’s foodservice industry in Australia makes up 6.9% of the total workforce; 6.6 % of this workforce is located in major Australian cities. This amounts to roughly 738,000 workers. Average industry sales based up to 2016 amounted to AUD$17.9 billion.


A Brief History

The concept of delivering raw ingredients and raw food and preparing food as a craft and form of business can be traced back to around the 11th Century medieval guilds. These guilds were made up of different types of craftsmen and merchants, with each guild specialising in specific food preparation. The guilds established an organised system within local economies to allow people to purchase or trade with specialised vendors. Examples of these specialised vendors are bakers and butchers.


As the concepts of economics changed with time, the guild system fell out of favour. Today, the foodservice industry environment is governed by these three factors:

  • Food supply chain
  • Regulation and safety
  • Technology


The Food Supply Chain is Complex

In the foodservice industry, the food supply chain is somewhat complicated. Before anything reaches the end consumer, the chain follows a rather complicated path filled with highly specialised professionals:

  • Manufacturer’s reps – Sometimes called food brokers, these sales representatives sell the manufacturer’s food products directly to stores. Delivery is outsourced to a third party.
  • Wholesale distributors – They sell, store, and deliver food products, physically taking possession of and handling the food, including logistics.
  • Self-distributing retail – The large retail chains like Walmart and Target with their own logistics networks, distribution centres, and delivery trucks.
  • Foodservice reps – These representatives sell food to restaurants but don’t physically store or deliver or handle logistics.
  • Wholesale foodservice distributors – These distributors buy and sell products while handling logistics such as bringing the manufacturer’s food from the manufacturer to the retailer’s stockroom.


Regulation and Safety

Obviously, food safety is a primary concern in the foodservice industry. Foodservice businesses need to get the proper food business licence from the local council. Before getting the appropriate business licence, a local governing body (such as in Queensland) must classify the food business based on the information submitted. Before any staff are employed, they need to undergo the proper training for food safety and food handling and get the proper licencing accreditation. This includes all supervisors-to-be who need special accreditation as supervisors. The food business then needs to follow all safety requirements and be licenced for food service under the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), a food safety and risk assessment plan.


Use of Technology

Mobile apps and devices – Revolutionising the food industry in terms of ordering, delivery tracking, payments, store displays or placement, and warehouse storage/inventories. Technology has also made it easier to keep track of non-food items used in foodservice such as containers, pallets, forklifts, cold storage freezers, and trucks.


If you are searching for a food service distributor in the Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Northern New South Wales areas, contact Provista Australia today, or visit their website at