Grocery Store Aisle

Food Retail

Automated Distribution Fulfillment for Grocery, Food Service Providers, & Restaurant Chains

When it comes to distributing food products, safety is of the utmost importance. Here at SSI SCHAEFER, we’ve implemented some of the world’s largest food retail facilities worldwide. Our experts understand the challenges that these industries face.

Whether it’s a grocery wholesaler that needs to get product delivered to independent stores or wants to provide e-commerce fulfillment options to meet customer demand, a restaurant chain that needs to build a new cold storage facility closer to new markets, or a food service provider that manages several different industries like hotels or schools. Whatever it is, if it involves the distribution of food for sale, SSI SCHAEFER can help guide you and we are the world leader at cold chain and food distribution systems.

Fulfillment Solutions for Grocery Distribution and E-Grocery

Grocery retailing is one of the more complex industries. SSI SCHAEFER provides solutions that will work with your fulfillment strategy and store network. Our team of experts know that a one size fits all is not a good approach with grocery fulfillment. There too many variables like the number of SKUs at each existing store, store locations and the number of stores, do you need a micro-fulfillment solution or a more integrated local solution like an urban distribution center to service multiple storefronts. Plus, a fulfillment strategy needs to involve peak holiday seasons too.

Average basket size instore vs. online orders and even delivery options can vary by store or region, not to mention the space available in the back of a store location. Plus, according to industry trends, 15 percent of all baskets include frozen food. An egrocery fulfillment solution needs to take that into account. There isn’t that magic solution that fits everyone, and your solution should be tailored to meet your retail strategy.

Handling robot

SSI SCHAEFER Food Retail Solutions

• Complete ASRS Fulfillment Systems
• Custom micro-fulfillment for egrocery
• Urban Distribution Centers
• Cold and Chilled Storage
• Robotic, Voice, and Goods 2 Person Picking
• Route Sequencing
• Mixed SKU Pallets and Rainbow Pallets
• Warehouse Management Software
• Labor Management Software
• Pharmaceutical Distribution
• Track and Trace Solutions
• Consult Planning and Engineering Studies

Solutions for Food Service and Grocery Wholesalers 

Servicing independent grocers and hospitality eateries can vary depending on the store banner or storefront. While some grocers need a complete turnkey solution including microfulfillment, circulars, and e-commerce capabilities, others only need product deliveries and replenishment service. Foodservice on the other hand can mean varied orders by location from pallets to individual cases. SSI SCHAEFER works with some of the largest grocery and foodservice wholesalers and understand the complexities that come with food and beverage fulfillment.

SSI SCHAEFER provides solutions for large complex systems with various temperature zones for both frozen and chilled product. Our system design approach can handle all three pallet, case, and piece picking. Furthermore, our solutions are highly automated, which helps offset labor shortages or manage handling for high value and strict regulatory products like tobacco or alcohol. Automation for grocery and food service has to meet specific criteria too, and SSI SCHAEFER has solutions that meet even the most stringent standards set by the FDA, USDA, and the USWA.

You’ll find that SSI SCHAEFER delivers custom automaton fulfillment centers with either small urban areas or large footprints to handle national, regional, or local fulfillment. Modular and scalable storage, picking and transport systems with high-density pallet storage including high bay warehouse solutions. Automatic handling of CPG items, PET and glass bottles, as well as shrink-wrapped and pharmaceutical items are easily handled with an SSI SCHAEFER solution.


  • The perfect pallet, which is an optimized mixed case-filled pallet that meets all criteria of a specific store based on historical purchasing data and loaded for route optimization.

  • Efficient storage and picking for a broad range of both CPG and fresh products—including storage for SKUs needing multiple temperature zones

  • Frozen and cold storage

  • Dedicated zones for specific food types such as meat, dairy, dry goods, produce, beverages, and spirits

  • An array of different packaging units

  • Reliable best-before or sell-by dates and batch picking

  • Efficient handling of large volume floors

  • Efficient and ergonomic picking of large volume small orders

  • Short throughput time

  • Short delivery or pick-up windows

  • Major delivery peaks

  • Picked and packed for an efficient last mile delivery

  • Guarantee a consistent cooling chain right to customer’s doorstep

  • Highly flexible and scalable to address rapidly growing business


Read more in Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

Learn more about SCHAEFER Food Retail Solutions.

When it comes to wholesaling, McLane is one of the largest distribution companies within the United States. McLane provides a diverse mix of products to its customers and the distribution had to be capable of picking, loading, and delivering efficiently. 

Distribution Fulfillment System for Restaurants Chains that Suit Your Palate

SSI SCHAEFER partners with both local, regional, and multinational chains for distribution solutions. Our systems can provide both automated and semi-automated cold chain and ambient storage systems for an array of products. Furthermore, our systems can provide track and trace technologies that help track products from inbound all the way to the restaurant location for safety and security.

Software is a Key Staple when it comes to Food Retail Distribution

Challenges within the grocery and foodservice industry are fairly unique. Government regulations and scrutiny are commonplace and selected warehouse management software must adhere to specific guidelines when it comes to storing, picking, and track and trace functions.

Core warehouse storage principles for food such as FEFO (first expiration first out) and tracking batch, expiration dates, and lot numbers for both food, pharma, and OTC products are never a compromise. Furthermore, providing teach-in for supply chain goods-in products so mix case pallets are easily automated and distributed is of the utmost importance for tracking inventory, receiving the right product, and storing efficiently and accurately. Then, there is route sequencing for the most efficient delivery.

For online grocery sales, a solid WMS must meet the requirements to fulfill online orders with multiple pick-up and last mile delivery options and be as efficient as possible for an industry with thin margins. WAMAS®, from SSI SCHAEFER, delivers more than just food, schedule a consult today with a WMS expert and learn how WAMAS can move your food retail application towards an automated distribution strategy and even future dark store status.

Want to Get Started with Your Automated Fulfillment Strategy?

If you are looking at a greenfield facility or just looking to retrofit your current existing processes or need a micro-fulfillment solution, contact an SSI SCHAEFER grocery and food service expert. Our team has decades of experience in food retail and manufacturing, and SSI SCHAEFER knows the pain points and best practices on a global level. We’re happy to help and can do a complete system design or even consult when needed. We’re just a phone call or email away to get you started. SSI SCHAEFER has powered some of the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers' automated fulfillment, and we can do yours too. 

For even more information on SSI SCHAEFER Food Retail solutions, download the Cold Chain Best Practice Guide below! 


The food retail, grocery, and pharmaceutical industries are demanding modern solutions for quick and easy access to cold storage facilities. This thorough guide details the systems and best practices necessary to transition from manual to semi- or fully automated cold chain distribution.

Cold Chain BPG Hero

Food Retail Portfolio Highlights

Gantry Robot, Schaefer Case Picking, SCP

C&S Wholesale sets new standards for intelligent distribution.

SSI SCHAEFER collaborated with C&S Wholesale Grocers, one of the largest food wholesalers in the U.S. The large wholesaler needed a modern case picking system and the Schafer Case Pick system was installed. In addition to automating the distribution center processes, other elements for the success of this project include the integrated automation of border-related case picking and dispatch shipments.

The result was a highly automated distribution center, which provides approximately 90,000 tray spaces with a high bay warehouse. Furthermore, material flow and picking areas are divided among three zones—enabling a throughput of more than 100,000 cartons of goods.
Coop - Everthing in Stock

Coop invests in one of the largest automation solutions in the world.

Coop, one of the leading food retailers in Sweden, chose SSI SCHAEFER as their general contractor for intrlogistics to provide a cutting-edge, energy-efficient, and highly automated fulfillment solution for their new 828,821 square feet distribution center in Eskilstuna, Sweden.


Modular, scalable and individually expandable systems for the food industry. These solutions sustainably improve the efficiency of your logistics processes.

High-bay warehouse with storage Vinamilk

High bay warehouse

Shuttle System Cuby with up to 36 storage levels

Small Load Carriers

Storage & Shuttle Systems

Case Picking

Schäfer Case Picking (SCP)

Customer Service & Support 4.0

Conveying & Transport

Automated Guided Vehicles

Software Solutions for your logistics

Logistics Software WAMAS®

IT Control Center

KPIs and dashboards


Depending on the type of system, amount of storage locations, and other factors, throughputs can vary. When you compare it to manual picking, automated systems combined with a Goods-to-Person workstation typically improves pick rates up to 1,000 picks per hour while reducing headcount. Fulfillment accuracy increases and the overall quality of supply chain inventory improves, too.

Yes. Omnichannel distribution for grocery is becoming more common with retrofits and with the building of new smaller local distribution centers. These fulfillment strategies help grocers and wholesalers compete with same day delivery or pick-up in store without depleting inventory in the aisle.

Yes. SSI SCHAEFER can integrate the WAMAS® warehouse management solution into any system. WAMAS software is customizable into all systems—including custom built or SAP software solutions.

SSI SCHAEFER equipment and solutions are built for extreme environments—including storage for frozen and cold room zones.

Additional Case Studies

Fensterband, Palettierung

Case Study ES3 LLC

Pallet racking system

Case Study EDEKA, Germany

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The right solution for every industry. SSI SCHAEFER’s expertise combines specific know-how with extensive experience to deliver tailored solutions.


Expertise for every sector. The expertise of SSI SCHAEFER: specialist know-how and many years of experience in producing customized solutions.

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Single-source system solutions to guarantee quality, optimize processes and reduce costs. The food trade comes up with some demanding requirements for intralogistics specialists. The technological development of retail business is increasingly augmented by a rapidly growing online food trade. SSI SCHAEFER provides flexible, scalable and modular solutions to guarantee maximum efficiency for both areas.

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