Local Food Service As A Rookie

Topic 20873 | Page 15

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Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I know these posts take time. I am not going into your line of work, with my military related injuries all that stuff would cause me significant pain. BUT, I do read your diary daily and enjoy you sharing.

Definitely is time consuming however I don't mind. Because I am on a set route I go to the same places every week so unless i experienced something new or thought of something i havent addressed i dont tend to post. Like many others on this forum we enjoy helping others and want to give back as many of us began our research into this career/lifestyle here on trucking truth . I am not knowledgeable about the OTR aspect of trucking other than everything I've read here. Food service is definitely something that was lacking on this forum so I am more than happy to give out first hand knowledge and examples of what I face. The experienced drivers know what this sort of job entails but having somebody who is doing it helps paint an even clearer example, especially when I'm able to snap pictures. There's a few places I deliver to that require going down alot of steps or walking through kitchens that the grease is just pooled up on. However, i feel taking pictures of inside these establishments or talking about cleanliness issues and including their name is unprofessional and would almost certainly get me in trouble. The most I can do is not take my family to eat at the ones I don't like seeing what's in the back. Like I said in a previous post, there's a restaurant not too far from my house that I've wanted to try for a while but never got around to it. After covering another drivers route I'm glad I never did. The place was disgusting in the back, had chicken and raw meat sitting at room temp (it looked dry) and had chicken wings pre cooked sitting in a 5 gallon bucket at room temp. I'm sure many of these practices happen alot, however I don't see it so I tell myself they're better than that. Working in food service is definitely difficult. We're short a driver currently so they're sending someone from the terminal in Illinois out to us to cover a route for 3 days. PFG is offering a 3k sign on bonus while sysco and us foods are 4500. Reinhardt is at 7500. most people are going to them before coming to us due to sign on bonus and sysco and Reinhardt pay better. PFG actually opened a position in Des Moines for driver apprentice (what I did) because the help is so hard to find. Typically the OTR guys they've hired never work out. They look at it as being home every night and underestimate how physical it is. Most food service companies here have gotten to the point they will not hire a OTR driver to lump groceries, they would rather find someone who is currently working at a competitor or find someone doing a physical job (construction, warehouse) and take the risk of teaching them to drive. Despite the large initial investment this benefits the company because the new driver is unable to leave for a year (2 years with Sysco) without paying back the schooling cost which for me is $4,000.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Army 's Comment
member avatar

Great Information. So you went to a Sysco, CDL school?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Great Information. So you went to a Sysco, CDL school?

I worked in the warehouse for Sysco for over a little over 2 years. Just under 2 years at the warehouse in Palmetto FL (just south of Tampa/st petersburg), I transferred to Ankeny (Des Moines) and wanted to get my cdl through Sysco but their warehouse was in shambles regarding turnover and the help they did have wasn't working fast enough so they told me they weren't offering their "dock to driver program". I've been looking to driving for a few years but the timing was never right so starting local was the only way I seen was an option for my situation, although it's highly discouraged. I found a job posting with Performance Food Group (PFG) That was offering a "driver apprentice"position. I was paid $600 a week to strictly attend school. I was given the option of attending school in Des Moines at the community college for 6 weeks or go to the school they use in Moline Illinois (rock island/davenport) and they would pay for my hotel which was roughly $100 a night. I drove the 3 hours out there Sunday night and came home after school Friday afternoon. The knowledge I have of sysco schooling is because when I gave my notice of quitting I was approached numerous times by different HR reps from different sysco houses, the president of the OPCO, and numerous people from transportation. When I got there the VP of HR completely dropped the ball on getting me transferred in the system or getting me paid, resulting in 3 of my paychecks being late, as we were paid weekly. I ended up calling corporate about it and he was ultimately let go the next morning due to my situation, as well as a couple other things. The sysco OPCO here had a contract that would have me go to the community college for 6 weeks, and then continue working in the warehouse for 4 hours a night. I would have clocked in at 6pm like usual, and work until 10pm but would get paid for 8 hours. I would have made $900 a week for 6 weeks. I would then report to school from 8am to 430pm. The contract was for 2 years, and I can't remember what the buyout was but schooling directly through that school was $3500. Knowing how strict Sysco is about hitting every appointment time had me Leary. Sysco has everything timed, you're given a certain amount of time for each stop and it's calculated into a percentage. Anything under 100% will result in a write up. I believe 6 write ups in a rolling year will result in termination. I often see their drivers loading much more weight than I deem safe due to the pressure being put on them . The upside of working for Sysco is the faster you work the more you get paid. The incentive pay is likely set up the same as it was in the warehouse, just higher wages. The warehouse our base rate in Ankeny was 23.10 after 1 year. At 103% (3 percent faster than expected) you received a bump in pay which I believe was up to $23.25. Top pay in warehouse was working at 160% which paid $36 an hour. Definitely going to earn it, I was able to achieve that few times and ended up throwing nearly 400 cases per hour. I became efficient enough in my picking orders I was able to work at a steady pace all night doing 140% in Palmetto, which paid a little over $30 an hour. Sysco has drivers here making $45 an hour with the incentive pay on straight time, then OT after 40 due to their speed and efficiency, however with that speed you're likely taking shortcuts with lifting safely and eventually an injury will occur.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Monday and Tuesday were the typical, roughly 17k pounds each day, Monday was 17 stops, Tuesday was 19 stops. Monday I had a customer get upset that I delivered at lunch time, told me I can't be doing it. I told him talk to his salesman as it's out of my control, I'm only doing as I'm scheduled. Tuesday I had a frustrating situation. Showed up at my 2nd stop at 515, but can't deliver until 6am. At 5:55 I approached the guard shack and was turned away, told I can't deliver til 8. Whatever, sent the supervisor on duty a text informing her the situation and that I didn't have enough hours available with how long I was scheduled. She instructed me to hold tight that she would contact sales. I ended up delivering, but the total time at the stop from arrival til I delivered was about an hour and a half when I was only given 15 minutes for it, putting me behind schedule. Despite my frustration I had to remain professional......turns out security was to turn everyone away until 8 EXCEPT us, but in turn allowed everyone else in, except me. Shows how good communication is at some places. I kicked ass, and took some names and actually finished that route 40 minutes ahead of schedule! As I was about to leave my last stop, I did a brief look at my equipment (I alternate which side of the truck I walk on to get back inside as I'm about to leave) and noticed this....

0154705001524703781.jpg 1 of the 4 straps holding my fuel tank on the trailer rusted away and the bumpy roads must've finally done it in. As it was my final stop and I was only a couple miles from the yard i decided to limp it back to the yard rather than calling roadside. I understood the risk I was taking, and had it been any farther away I wouldn't have moved it. I do not recommend doing as I did as it would be your butt on the line (If any experienced drivers are reading this I'd like to get your take on it). Wednesday I had 17k to physically unload, 709 cases and put in about 15 hours. I had a customer become irate because I showed up at lunch (1145), even though there was only 2 cars in the lot. He said a few cuss words, and ultimately told me to F off, and put that "S" back on my truck and threw the paperwork in my face. I was there as scheduled, so again, not my fault. I immediately left, and had text my supervisor, as well as the salesman of that account to inform them of the situation. The salesman called me when i got to the next stop, asked me to come back after 1, that he would be there and as long as I stack it he'd run it in, as I told him I wasn't going back to deliver. He felt that was the best given the circumstances. Of course once I was there the salesmans tune changed and he took off, leaving me to unload. I remained professional, although it was hard, and got it unloaded. Dealing with that issue pushed me 40 minutes behind. It really made me lose respect for that salesman after basically being conned into going back. I was scheduled 13 hours before any issues so i had ZERO patience for jerks today. The other drivers I told of the confrontation were surprised I didn't snap, however I do my best to give everyone a 2nd chance. Now if it happens again at the same place, there won't be any talking me to go back and I will refuse. Hate to be that way, but there is no reason to be so disrespectful and I'm not going to put up with it.

I had a new stop scheduled as my last stop. Being their first delivery and being 50 minutes behind at the time, I skipped my 20th (of 21) stop to get the new customer offloaded only 10 minutes behind schedule. I felt that was going to be best as I didn't want to give a bad first impression. I let the salesman for that account know my plan and gave him an ETA a half hour before I would arrive as he wanted to be present. As they aren't open yet (open this weekend) they are trying to figure out exactly what they want. I took 8 of the 52 cases back with me either due to pricing, or were un happy with quality whether it was too high or too low. Typically I would drop and go but with it being their first delivery I needed to give them excellent customer service which resulted in me spending an extra 20 minutes there while they looked their order over. The other factor in me skipping ahead was I knew I'd be stuck going back downtown for stop 20 regardless during evening rush hour. Fortunately there is a loading zone just outside I was able to utilize. Usually it's taken when I'm there requiring me to block 1 of the 2 lanes on that street leaving downtown. Knowing I'm usually blocking traffic I pulled the 19 cases they ordered to the tail to minimize time blocking traffic. I ended up putting in 15 hours by the time i finished my paperwork. This week so far has been rough, Wednesday and Thursday I will have had to start my shift literally minutes after my 10 hours was up. With how long of days I've put in so far, with my start time of 4am, I will be on overtime by 415am with The rest of The day and Friday remaining. The only thing keeping me going is the love for my kids and needing to provide for them although it kills me not being able to spend more time with them than the quick bedtime story so far this week. I have a whole new respect for the OTR drivers who go weeks or months at a time without seeing their spouse or kids....

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

More patient with those fine people than I would probably exhibit. On that refer tank, if you had a ratcheting cargo strap (with hooks on each end), you may have been able to use that for a temp fix.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

More patient with those fine people than I would probably exhibit. On that refer tank, if you had a ratcheting cargo strap (with hooks on each end), you may have been able to use that for a temp fix.

We have quite a few straps in the trailer , however I sadly never thought of that. I'm not too sure they would hold the weight that well anyways but I suppose it isn't supporting the whole weight itself. I was too focused on cursing nobody left me duct tape hahahaha. I hope I don't need to deal with that again, however if i do I may just use that idea. It made me uneasy going just the couple miles, ain't no way I would've gone farther.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Army 's Comment
member avatar

Rob, I appreciate you taking a lot of time to detail your daily work schedule. You seem to be going none stop. I can also appreciate your desire to want to be at home more.....while it is hard not being home much, rest assured that your family will thrive of your work ethic and dedication, and especially your children. You are showing them that providing for a family is not easy and sacrifices have to be made. Great job, and I will continue to read your diary.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Those ratchet straps are rated at least to just under 2,000 lbs breaking strength, so one will work in a pinch for a temporary fix to limp it back to a terminal.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Those ratchet straps are rated at least to just under 2,000 lbs breaking strength, so one will work in a pinch for a temporary fix to limp it back to a terminal.

Thank you for that, I'm definitely going to do that if I'm in a similar situation. Hopefully it doesn't happen again but I'm sure at some point it will.

Today (thursday) had my same route as usual ended up putting in just over 12 hours. 603 cases, 15k weight with 12 stops. Nothing too different with the exception that I had to pick up a backhaul. Knowing that our appt is always 2pm to 4pm i figured I'd rush today to make sure I got done in a reasonable time. Thursdays I tend to take it easier as the cases seem to come off easier. By kicking it in full force, with my 4am start time i was ahead an hour by 730am. In my 8 months ive become alot more efficient and can stack better to minimize my trips which saves me time. Downside is that I then sat for an hour waiting for a customer to show up. They ordered 104 cases so I opted to just wait instead of skipping them and going to a different stop as I'd be handling those cases numerous times and really wouldn't save any time. I spent that time stacking their product the best I could in my trailer so when they arrived I could scoop it up and go. After that stop (my 4th stop) i was back on schedule. By the end of the day I was a half hour ahead and took off to the backhaul in Altoona Iowa, a brief 20 minute drive to the other side of the metro. Most backhaul we have are handled by the shuttle drivers on their way back out but Thursdays we pick this one up because they close at 4pm and shuttle guys don't start until 5 if they have backhaul, or 6 if they don't. I haven't had this one since I was in training. Thankfully it only took an hour and a half as opposed to the 3 to 4 hours it took the previous times I went. I had it today because I had the lightest day and was scheduled to be done the earliest. Clocked out about 430pm, start time 330am tomorrow.

The weather the past couple weeks has been nice, low 70s but it feels so hot with the work I'm doing. I'm going through atleast a gallon of water every day which is very odd for me as I don't usually drink as much water as I should. I got a hint of working in the summer heat last year but i was in training so i was only doing half the work. The brightside is by eating healthier, drinking more water and less soda ive lost 10 pounds in the last 2 weeks. I hope to continue that trend!

One other thing I thought of today. Due to the time constraints and fast pace it usually requires you to hustle all day long. They plug the stops into a program and it calculates drive time. The problem with that is it takes the fastest time, without regard to "truck routes" . there are a few times a week im driving through an area that says no trucks, or most say "no thru truck traffic". Basically all local food guys disregard them. I'm not saying it's ok to do, but thats the reality of it. Ive passed numerous cops on these streets, and had them behind me but have never been pulled over for it. That's my experience with them in Des Moines, your results may vary. One of our drivers was stopped 6 months ago in Story City iowa, north of ames, for taking a route that clearly said NO TRUCKS. He was lucky and was let off with a warning. The streets I use I use common sense with. I avoid taking them when parking on the street makes it so only 1 car can go at a time because even though I'm pulling a 28' PUP trailer that's still quite a bit of length to be swerving in and out of openings to allow oncoming traffic through lanes that are technically designated for them.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Friday I did my usual , minus 2 stops. I also had a stop that I've been to numerous times, but they order maybe once a month, just cleaning supplies. The reason i was missing 2 stops was because a salesman is an A-Hole. He had put in his 2 week notice as he found something he was more interested in and was honestly not that great at getting new customers. Today would've been his last day and as a way of saying "F you " to the customers and everyone with PFG he didn't submit his customers orders. This was discovered at roughly 630 this morning when I was at my 2nd stop, which we call our "drop lot". We rent cooler/freezer space from one of our customers so we're able to drop product off for the salesmen to deliver in their vehicles (using a insulated bag to keep cooler or freezer items stable). The product they deliver is items they forgot to order for their delivery, or items that warehouse sent wrong item for, or product that was damaged the day prior for delivery. We use a drop lot Because our warehouse is 3 hours away. That is one of the reasons Sysco has such a large portion of the business here as they're the only ones in Des Moines with the warehouse/terminal here. Their customers are able to get product same day if there's a mix up or they ran out of product. Because we drop product there daily, we also deliver to the customer that we rent from daily. It is a catering company that primarily does bagged lunches. Due to the nature of their business they most often get the product they need the day of, as I'm always scheduled there by 630am. Back to the salesman....i had noticed immediately this morning before taking off I didn't have an order for them, as well as one of my other stops. I didn't think anything of it because catering place gets most of their stuff from Sysco and I didn't want to create an awkward situation by asking if they were ordering from us. While I was unloading the stuff for the sales team, the catering company had someone ask me if I could dig out a case of their turkey as they need it asap. I told her I don't have an order for them, and then it occurred to me it was their salesmans last day. I went and found the manager to confirm they had placed an order for the day, which she says she called salesman the day prior. I then contacted the district sales manager for assistance in seeing if another driver has it (never happens as I'm already there, but sometimes mistakes happen). I also told him I was missing another stop. Turns out the salesman took the orders over the phone but didn't submit them and refused to answer his phone today. EXTREMELY unprofessional on his part, and it unfortunately makes us all look bad. They ended up rushing a delivery to try and save what we could of our reputation with the affected customers by having 2 "on call" drivers jump in one of the company temp controlled cargo vans. By doing it that way they could unload faster and as they werent in a CMV didnt have to worry about HOS. Downside is terminal is 3 hours away, plus time it took to select the order and load it up but atleast the customer got their stuff before the weekend. Hopefully the sales team has smoothed things over as the other customer is one that has gone off on me previously. I informed my boss of the situation, and that one of the customers affected is one screamed at me in a previous delivery. I asked how I should handle that situation if he becomes upset with me as he has a "short fuse". My boss told me leave immediately and contact him. He will force the (new to them) salesman, or the district manager to deliver the rest of the product as it was that side of equation that caused the issue. After my incident on Wednesday i told my boss I'm done being treated like crap by the customer. What's upsetting is when I feel I've done nothing wrong but the sales team expects me to apologize because the customer is upset, despite me doing the same as i do for every other stop.

Anyways, today was 13 stops, 14k weight with 601 cases. Put in 11 hours and drove 63 miles. Because it was an easier day than I've had lately I had my wife and kids meet up with me for lunch as I only had 1 stop left to do at that point. My boys (ages 2 and 1) were absolutely mesmerized when I allowed them to sit in the passenger seat. The look of excitement on their face was incredible to see. Hopefully at some point I'm at a job that will allow me to take them for a ride along when they're older.

My first stop of the day took 5 pallets (of the 10 ) I had on , which amounted to 8,000 pounds and 221 cases. To minimize steps and be most efficient I placed my ramp as close to their door as I could get...

0456848001524878006.jpg Of the 221 cases, 78 of them were meat. I can't safely take more than 4 or 5 because it gets too heavy very quickly as most are 80 pounds each.

0390243001524878141.jpg

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

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