I started US foods early last summer, here is my review on the ins and outs of the company. Ill try and touch on everything that I can that are the common questions for a new driver. Ill be posting an honest review.
What do you do as a driver at US Foods?
Easy, you handle food all day. An average day starts between 230 am and 5 am, depending on the day. You have anywhere from 600-1000 cases to unload manually each day. There are 3 sections of food (dry, refer, and frozen) and each stop gets pieces for each one that has to be put away in their freezer/fridge/etc. You have an average of 10-14 stops per day.
You pull anything from a pup to a 53' refer.
You are paid by the hour, training pay is 16/hr and as soon as you go out on your own you start making 20/hr with overtime after 40. Top pay is 22.40 after 2 years. They will hire with zero experience as well. I started here with 2 months experience , as well as with an excessive speeding ticket.
This has been one of the most stressful jobs I have ever had. All really due to the stupid things you have to deal with on a daily basis. The biggest thing being how the truck was loaded each day. Alot of the times it was loaded like a joke.
Example: When you open the trailer door for your first stop, they have stops 1-3 of refer and 1-2 of dry on 2 skids on the tail of the trailer. There is no organization at all. It will literally say 80 cases on this skid, 22 of them are for stop one. Anywhere on the skid! You had to break the whole skid down and you had no room at all, so alot of times you had to stack food off the trailer just to get to your product. The way they stacked each skid was stop 1 was on the bottom, 2 was on top of it, 3 was on top of it, etc. It could take you hours just to deliver a small order to one customer due to searching and digging out pieces the whole time. Not very efficient at all. Yes you are paid by the hour, but moving an 75lb box of chicken 5 or 6 times to reach your product you need is just wasted energy. You had to deal with this all day long. You may have 750 cases on the truck, but you end up moving about 3000 a day, between moving and restacking all day. You also have to go up and down stairs all day with a 2 wheeler. It can literally wear you out after your first stop. I had one stop where they would order about 5000lbs of food and you had to put it in the basement down 2 flights of stairs. If you do the math, thats like taking 40 fridges down 2 flights of stairs! Alot of people get hernias and back backs/knees while working here. In the winter some of these steps can have ice. Have fun trying not to break your neck.
Job Security- You will have job security, if you show up everyday you will have a job. No matter how bad you are. They are always short drivers. The only thing drivers were worried about were merger with Sysco Foods. No one knows whats going on with that at the moment.
Equipment- they run some very very old trucks. It really doesnt bother me if everything worked. But alot of the times the trucks were just garbage. You would write them up and they would never get fixed. Always the "promise" of new trucks are coming.
You get issued a scanner and printer, pallet jack and 2 wheeler when you start. It lasts about 2 days before it goes missing. Even locked up, the managers will give it to who needs it right now. You can come in and literally have NOTHING. You are forced to go out with no scanner and a broken 2 wheeler. Good luck sorting through 800 cases trying to check off each piece when they have your refer pallets in the wrong spot. We always heard "we ordered more, we are short".
E-logs- You are tracked by E-logs all day. It will tell you when you are supposed to be at a stop, and alot of the times you literally have to run to keep up with it. It doesnt consider having to dig out pieces all day. They will run you up to your 14 hours a day almost everyday, so if you start running behind they will be calling you. The lady routing has no idea what she is doing. Some stops you can only get a pup in, she will overload you to where you have to pull a 48ft trailer. Then you have to park 500 yards away and walk all the product down the street. The logs would say your an hour behind by your next stop lol
On call- For the first 6 months I was on call 1 day a week! Every week! It may not sound like its bad, but when your work 68 hours in 5 days, have 1 day off and are on call the next day, it can discourage you really fast. Your off day you just spend sleeping the whole time. Only day you are promised off is Sunday because they are closed. My route was Tuesday to Saturday, on call on Mondays. If any of the drivers called off on monday, I was called in. If I didnt answer its like missing a day and you get written up.
Drivecam- Yep, they have em. Camera that goes off on bumps and records 8 second prior and 4 seconds after. A camera facing out, and a camera facing you. ANYTHING is distracted driving. If you take a drink of water as your driving and you hit a bump 5 seconds later, you might as well get ready for a write up for distracted driving. I hated this thing.
No blutooth allowed. This bothers some drivers, so I figured I would put it in here. If you have a longer route you have to get used to listening to the radio during long drives.
No smoking. I dont smoke, but I know this can bother other people.
Trucks are governed at 65mph. Most routes are inner city so it didnt matter, but if you had a long haul route it kinda sucked. I just hit the cruise and it really didnt bother me that much.
Management: Meh, management was more of a "just deal with it" kinda management. Instead of having the warehouse load the trucks properly, or routing the trucks right. The driver had to just deal with it. Alot of back and forth driving and hunting for cases throughout the day. Again, not very efficient. That kind of stuff drives me nuts as I like to get everything done fast and moved on to the next stop.
Management also told me to show up while I was sick. Which I did not like at all. I had strep throat and the boss got mad when I missed 2 days. I told him I was very contagious, and he said, we need the food moved. I told him I am NOT handling peoples food while being so sick. They are very strict on attendance. Sick or not, they want you there. Its gross, handling peoples raw food and sometimes ready to eat food while being sick. I never did it, but other drivers are forced to.
You also get punished for doing good. Atleast thats what I felt like. One time I got called in to run a super easy route. Just drive 100 miles away and pickup a trailer! Sweet! Well once I got there, they realized that I was a valuable asset so they put me on standard route and let the new guy who didnt speak english very well run the 100 mile tailer run. He worked 6 hours total that day (when it was his day to work). I worked 13... in 5 inches of snow.
After I put in my 2 weeks notice, things started to get weird. My routes starting getting more messed up, my equipment starting disappearing. I got put in trucks with no ramps. Paycheck was short. They are kinda vindictive from what I could tell. Kind of disappointing but I dealt with it until my last few days , then I just had to quit. Once I got my check and it was $400 short, I realized they cut my pay after my notice or didnt pay me for all my vacation. I tried to be positive but it got BAD.
Overall, its a good place to get some driving experience and getting into tight spots, but I wouldnt make a career of it. Almost every driver who has been there 10+ years has bad knees or a bad back and hate it there. There is NO where to go in the company. Even senior routes still have 400+ cases to unload manually each day. Just more dock stops. So if you are just wanting to stay with the company to get on a good route, youre out of luck. I covered for a senior route for about 4 months and it was just as bad as a new driver route. It would be less stops but just as much work. I always thought to myself , if this is what I have to look forward to, then im getting out of here! Routes are bid based on seniority. I did my time there and moved on.
There are some benefits of the job. At some stops you get free food or discounts! Penn Station offers a 50% off when you deliver, which is nice. You will be in shape! I lost 20lbs my first 2 months, then gained it back in muscle. You are home everyday, unless you chose to go OTR or on an overnight route. I never had to stay out anywhere. You get paid by the hour, so if you get stuck in traffic or your trucks load is messed up, then you get paid more.
Sorry if this is all over the place. I am trying to post as much as I can. Any questions, just ask!
US Foods: Cincinnati 2015 review after 10 months
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Great description of this job. Same stuff I dealt with out here in the west. Nothing different. We have drivers from other food service companies come over and ask about the unorganizing pallets they said it saves money to load like that. I was the first driver in the company to get fired over that drive cam. Didn't hit anything or get into a accident had a near miss. Near miss is a policy there can get you fired. Glad they fired me. Got a job in less then a week. I haven't looked back. I've lifted maybe a box or two in 3 yrs, home about the same as US Foods(my terminal had layovers) and I'm making 80k a year. Knees and back feel great. I've actually lost weight down 24lbs after food service cause I have energy for the gym.Gearjammin' Penguin Thanks this.
I don't see why anyone with exp would want that type of job (Not directed at OP). Call it what ya want, but I'd rather drive 8-10 hours a day then sweat at the gym, at my own pace. Management only cares about their product bein delivered it seems. After ya quit they'll find the next sucker, I mean driver to break his back for the company.
unloader Thanks this.
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