What do chefs want from purveyors? Well, a lot depends on what kind of purveyor. When it comes to the "big boys" (Sysco, US Foods) I look for service first. Of course I look for both quality and price with these two, but more importantly, I look for service. I want to know my rep is on my side. I want to know that if I have issues, either my fault or theirs that he is willing to go the extra mile to get me product. I want someone that understands that I am the customer and that I need to be serviced, on my terms, not as they see fit, when they see fit. There seems to be a growing trend, among sales reps., that we work for them, that we are to be dealt with on their terms, at times convinent for them. I have been known to cut out a purveyor just because I recieved such attitude from their sales rep. I don't care if their prices were better. I spend a lot of money with these companies and I expect to be treated and serviced as a customer, not dealt with as some nuisance. Ok, enough of the rant. Can you tell I've been on the phone with a couple of sales people, reading them the riot act?? :D
As for smaller, speciality purveyors I look for quality first. When I cheffed in Chicago we didn't care what our game meats cost us. We (the Exec. and me) wanted the best product available and we were willing to pay top dollar for that kind of product. And as long as the product was top quality, our customers didn't care what it cost them either. They were willing to spend top dollar, thus we were willing to spend top dollar for high quality product.
But most of the time it is a combination of the three (price, quality and service) that lead me to stick with purveyors. Depending on the type purveyor though I just weigh each component a little differently.