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Behind restaurants, a $300 billion food-distribution network is on the brink due to coronavirus

Hidden in the shadow of the novel coronavirus devastation of the nation’s restaurant industry is a food distribution backbone now facing a drastic sales decline.

The nation’s 15,000 food distributors — companies that supply restaurants, fast-food outlets, campus dining halls, airline caterers, arenas, stadiums, school cafeterias with everything from meats to produce to paper goods — have found their once bustling warehouses have ground to a near halt as many of the nation’s estimated 660,000 restaurants closed or doing take-out only business.

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