Portfolio: Sysco Food Digital Strategy & Mobile Food Ordering App

DSRUPTR - Joe Smiley
logo - Sysco Food

CLIENT  //  Sysco Food img - external link

DEVELOPER  //  Sentrana

SOLUTION  //  Sysco Food Digital Strategy & Mobile Food Ordering Product img - external link


Our Work: Marriott - Ideation / Strategy / Discovery / CX Design / UX Design / Visual Design / User Stories / Code / Test / Launch


  • Created the Digital 2.0 Strategy for Sysco Food
  • Collaborated with Sysco Food’s executive team on product development
  • Led the Product & Design teams in Agile product development


Sysco Food is the world’s largest food distributor with more than 600,000 clients, operating 330 distribution facilities worldwide, and providing service to over 90 countries. They market and distribute food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, hospitality businesses, and wholesale to other companies that provide foodservice (e.g. Aramark, Sodexo).

Sysco Food had a salesforce of 12,000 that drove demand and sales of their food products. The problem was that not all sales team members were created equal, where only 25% of the salesforce were rockstars that would upsell and cross-sell to their restaurants and really drive growth. The rest were essentially order takers, simply going to the restaurants and taking their order each week.


We utilized a form of Agile called Rapid Application Development (RAD) because it emphasizes working software and user feedback over planning and documentation.

process - rapid application development


I worked at Sentrana, a technology company that provided Scientific Micromarket Management solutions to various companies, most notably Sysco Food. Our team crafted the Digital 2.0 Strategy for Sysco Food in 2009, which included developing a mobile food ordering platform that would put Sentrana’s Demand Optimization technology into the hands of chefs.

I worked with executive stakeholders at Sentrana and Sysco Food to develop the product strategy, requirements, and development timeline. We created the concept of a mobile food ordering platform that rewards chefs with off-invoice discounts and cash-back rewards, all generated by Sentrana’s Demand Optimization technology.

We developed this product – SpoonByte Pro – as a proof of concept to help validate our mobile food ordering assumptions with chefs.

img - SBPro Product Specs

In Fall of 2008, we piloted this mobile food ordering product to 30 restaurants and it was an instant success. Chefs loved the ability to order food when it was convenient to them – early morning or late at night – which was often outside the hours of the Sysco Food sales teams hours.

img - SBPro Product Design

We eventually integrated this platform – along with Sentrana’s Demand Optimization technology – into Sysco Food’s ChefRef (now called Sysco Shop) mobile app where it’s used today by over 200,000 restaurants in the U.S.

Sysco Shop Mobile App

img - Sysco Shop App Icon Square

Order Online, Anytime, Anywhere with Sysco Shop mobile app. Explore Sysco’s complete product catalog, customize your preferences, and find what you need quickly and easily. View cases and splits of products as a single line item and order the exact quantities you need. Place quick, accurate orders with custom list sequencing, optimized for sheet to shelf matching. Place orders anytime, anywhere – even while offline – and make last-minute adjustments before cutoff time.

img - Sysco Shop Mobile App

The Sysco Shop experience extends beyond mobile devices. Search key items, customize and share lists, and order from your laptop or desktop computer.

img - Sysco Shop Web App


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