When Craft Food Makers Attempt NYC Distribution
In the last two weeks alone, Revolution Rickshaws has been contacted by a popsicle maker, a yogurt maker, a regional scallops seller, and a regionally sourced flower seller. What do they all have in common? The challenge of effective NYC delivery to customers.
Thousands of similarly sized enterprises face these challenges, as well. The vast majority take the road most often traveled: Motorized trucks or vans—and the operational hell that goes hand in hand with such modes in NYC. Yet today more than ever the pain is unbearable. As a result, Revolution Rickshaws is fielding interest in our city-optimized transport and supply chain systems from increasing numbers of craft and artisanal producers of food, drink, flower, and other products—many of which are “perishable.”
For years, Revolution Rickshaws has produced effective solutions for these enterprises. Our NYC pedicab and rickshaw delivery customers have ranged from cupcake makers to caviar wholesalers, caterers to curated grocery box sellers, coffeehouses to meatball shops. Relatively simple safety precautions such as insulation and cold packs can mitigate all issues in many cases, for instance. For other clients, we have installed insulating materials on the interior surfaces of entire freight bodies. Not once have we fielded a complaint about spoilage – in eight years of industry operation.
Yet to crack the cold-chain code for city distribution of perishables, we feel strongly that transparency, accountability, technology, and effectiveness must be taken to another level. It’s why we’ve pursued research and developments of new systems that feature containers optimized for both product temperature control and city movement.
Revolution Rickshaws submitted a proposal to the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority late last year to execute last-stage R&D and prototyping of “cold pods” that fit on heavy-duty trikes as well as other modes within most distribution chains—to no avail. In the process, we made connections with amazing experts in the cold-chain field, including professionals from the Georgia Tech Integrated Food Chain Center. They LOVE this technology! Related connections with enterprises as diverse as Pilot Projects, DB Co-op, Altaeros Energies, Slow Tools, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, CUNY’s University Transporation Research Center, Quinciple, and many others have played key roles in furthering our efforts in this field within the scope of our current limited resources.
The day of optimized city logistics for craft food and drink makers is already here for some; for others, it’s just around the corner. The Revolution in craft transport & logistics is only growing.