Produce distributors say their customers are tightening their belts and reacting to consumers who aren’t patronizing restaurants every day anymore.
“Sales are very quiet,” said Tony Buff, owner of Tony Buff Wholesale, Westchester, Conn., which sells mostly to the restaurant trade.
“It has been a rough winter and a rough economy. Everyone is way off. Some are going out of business. With prices being high, it makes it tough to wholesale.”
Matthew D’Arrigo, vice president of D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York Inc., and co-chairman of the Hunts Point Terminal Market, said the smaller number of restaurants shows the state of the foodservice sector.
“There is still a tremendous amount of empty storefronts that used to be restaurants in Manhattan and in the metropolitan area,” he said.
“It won’t take you long before you walk by some empty storefronts. I would say the foodservice side has long since adjusted (to the economy). The people that were in a weakened state when the economy turned, they’re basically all gone. The stronger ones have survived. There are some new players that have taken the place of a lot of the ones that are gone.”