Kansas restaurants rallying to help each other as food distributor Sysco’s pause continues

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It has been a busy week for many Kansas restaurants following paused deliveries by Sysco, a major food vendor.

“I went straight into survival mode,” said David Noffsinger, owner of Noffy’s Sandwich Shop and Pub in McPherson.

This was the mindset for many Kansas restaurants after the distributor paused deliveries for some accounts unexpectedly.

For The Perfect Plate, they rely solely on Sysco as a vendor. As a 100% gluten-free restaurant, their owner was initially worried since they are limited on places to get her food.

“I cried because I was like, I have no idea what I’m gonna do. I don’t know how I’m gonna get my specialty products,” said Kira Ottaway Watt, owner.

Thankfully, she had another connection who Sysco did not drop.

“I really hated to ask because I don’t like to ask for help and like inconveniencing anyone, but the help was amazing,” Ottaway Watt said.

They are not the only restaurant getting help from a neighbor.

“We got another restaurant that is ordering potatoes for us tomorrow, which we are almost out of, said Kristin Hale, owner of Ty’s Diner in Wichita. “So, thank goodness we had enough to get us through this week because if not, that would have been a hard thing to find.”

Hale says they have been scrambling to find a new vendor this week.

“That has not been successful thus far. We’ve contacted a couple of different ones,” Hale said. “We’re waiting to hear back, and I know they’re inundated with other calls or other people who are in the exact same position we are.”

For Noffy’s Sandwich Shop and Pub, they have other vendor options. However, the owner believes this pause will have a ripple effect on their industry.

“There’s going to be a lot of restaurants that are scrambling to other distributors, and big-box stores, grocery stores, and I think you’re gonna see shortages,” Noffsinger said.

While they do have other options, he is reminding the community to be patient with restaurants right now.

“Certain things on our menu, we’re just gonna have to explain to customers, we just can’t give them, and until we can, hopefully, people can be patient,” Noffsinger said. “Just please be patient and please understand that this is out of our hands.”

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