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Interview: simple & effective distributor relation strategies for bars & restaurants

Last updated July 06, 2023 · By Dylan Blake

Josh Hurst, industry veteran and Director of Operations and Hospitality for Pies & Pints, Josh Hurts has dealt with a ton of distributors in his time—with 13 locations in six different states he's put in the time to hone in on a few key strategies for effectively managing distributor relationships.

Read on and check out the interview clips to learn Josh's strategies.

  • Set communication expectations at the beginning of a relationship. Tell them when and how you like to be communicated with, especially when it comes to managing something that is unexpected/went wrong. For Josh, this means getting a call or text as soon as a distributor realizes something's wrong (not on the day of the delivery).
  • Try to be the most loyal, simple, basic customer distributors ever have. Like with any long-term business relationship, you want to be a good partner. Josh's mantra at Pies & Pints is "make people happy."
  • So how do you make your reps happy? Do whatever you can to say yes to them. Do they have some kegs they're having trouble moving? Buy them. Is there an event they want to throw with a brewery? Do it.
  • If you don't get that limited keg you were hoping for, don't be a jerk about it. Be nice and understanding. If you have a pattern of being a great customer, the next time a super limited keg rolls around, you'll be on their list for getting it.
  • But if there's a pattern of stuff not showing up or of reps being cavalier about it, be direct about changing something, and perhaps cutting ties.

Check out the video clips below for more color and advice from Josh!

Setting communication expectations with reps

Do reps a favor when you can

Communication with distributors

A quid-pro-quo-ish relationship