Ever wondered how the bananas get to your local Starbucks?
Well, Irvine-based restaurant supplier Golden State Foods just opened a new warehouse in Fontana to serve the needs of 318 Starbucks in Southern California – including the coffee chain’s bananas.
Welcome to the strange world of sales.
Golden State, which took its big hiatus for the fledgling McDonald’s chain in the 1950s, is a pioneer when it comes to filling fast food restaurants well. This is the 18th sales office of the Quality Custom Distribution division, which specializes in the operation of warehouses and related shipping services for individual quick service companies.
It’s another weird piece of the Golden State Foods empire that brings everything from ingredients to paper goods to cooking and cleaning products to a customer list that includes many leading brands. Golden State Foods has expanded its McDonald’s delivery capability into a global company serving 125,000 well-known chain restaurants in more than 60 countries in 50 locations on five continents.
The Fontana warehouse at 7953 Cherry Ave. will hire at least 100 people to operate a 183,000 square meter facility with a 60,000 square meter freezer and a separate “banana room” – initially a high-quality, customized distribution.
These refrigerated storage rooms keep the yellow fruits at their optimal temperature between 55 and 70 degrees. This improves the timing of ripening and extends the shelf life of the inventory. Nationwide, the distributor processes 1.3 million bananas a year, or almost half a million pounds.
Quality Custom Distribution and Starbucks have a long history. Fontana is the 10th and largest Starbucks-owned facility for Quality Custom Distribution, a collection that also includes a location in Los Angeles.
Golden State Foods launched the chain-customized business in 2006 shortly after it began supplying dairy and pastries to 65 Starbucks stores in east Washington.
Quality Custom Distribution first added juices and yogurts to its Starbucks shipments. Today the partnership has grown in such a way that a local Starbucks may now also receive everything from paper products, syrups and detergents from Quality Custom Distribution.
It’s a busy business. Quality Custom Distribution – which also handles goods for Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s and Chipotle chains – employs 1,500 people in 14 states who make 17,000 deliveries in a typical week. Or one every half minute or so.
And in the Inland Empire, distribution is a fast growing industry. Government job statistics show that transportation and warehouse managers employed 115,000 people last year – that’s 85 percent more in six years, compared to a 25 percent growth for all jobs in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
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