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Fleetowner 30086 Kc4 Food Service Truck 1

Survey: Higher-than-average pay for foodservice drivers

Oct. 26, 2017
IFDA study finds driver pay in the foodservice industry is 30% higher than trucker pay in general and is 19% higher than average for all U.S. workers.

An hourly compensation survey conducted by the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), in partnership with Paradox Compensation Advisors, found that truck drivers working in the foodservice industry earn an average of $62,854, or 30% more than the average yearly wage than tractor-trailer operators in general.

The difference is even more striking when foodservice truck driver pay is compared to average light truck/delivery services driver wages: it’s almost 50% higher, according to the trade group’s poll.

“The data in this survey proves that pursuing a job in foodservice distribution is an excellent career choice,” noted Mark Allen, IFDA’s president and CEO, in a statement. “In addition to opportunities for upward mobility and career growth, our foodservice distributors are offering generous pay and benefits to attract and retain the best and brightest.”

But Tom Zatina, president of McLane Foodservice Distribution, pointed out during a panel discussion at the trade group’s recent distribution conference that a “talent shortage” exists in the foodservice industry – a shortage that includes drivers – as it is a business sector that “is not glamorous” when compared to high-tech companies like Google.

“Absolutely there’s a [driver] shortage and there are pockets that are worse than others across the country,” he explained. “It’s not glamourous work; it’s people-intensive; it’s not automated. Food distribution is still built around people and we need to get people more excited about what we do.”

That’s partly why IFDA conducted this compensation survey, the group said; as a way to help illuminate its employment opportunities, especially from a pay perspective. Here are some of IFDA’s findings:

  • Foodservice distribution delivery drivers earn average annual wages of $62,854, exceeding the average of $49,630 for all U.S. workers, according to 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • The difference is more striking with foodservice driver pay compared to heavy truck and tractor-trailer driver pay, which averages $43,590 annually, according to BLS, and that of light truck/delivery service drivers, who average $34,790 per year.
  • Foodservice driver pay is also higher when compared to other trades: Construction equipment operators at $49,810 per year; roofers at $42,080 annually; and stonemasons at $43,650 per year.

IFDA said its survey is based on data from 39 distributors representing 376 facilities.

The report also includes salary information for 15 different supply-chain related positions within the foodservice business, including: Class A CDL route delivery driver with and without a “helper”; shuttle driver; Class B CDL route delivery driver; diesel mechanic; dispatcher; Forklift operator; warehouse worker; and yard driver.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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