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Buying from the Vendor or the Grocery Store

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hello I am new here Duh! Could not find any conversations similar to this so here I am.

 

I am a Chef and Owner of a Bakery and Bistro. We spend about $ 4 000 a month on food which includes flour, sugar, salt etc. Tomatoes, Steak, Seafood etc and of course the dry goods stuff. We are in a small town and get the local community paper once a week and it is filled with flyers from local grocery stores. No Frills, Metro, Shoppers Drug Mart, Giant Tiger (Canadians know where I am now) and so on. Some of the deals are as much as 50% off what the Vendor offers, GFS, Tannas, Sysco and so on, so the question or feedback I am looking for is what do think? 

 

What do you think of shopping anywhere as long as the bottom line is the goal?

post #2 of 14

If your only concern is bottom line, buy from where it is cheapest. 

 

When your customers start to notice a decline in quality due to the poor products you purchase, your problem won't just be bottom line.

post #3 of 14

Are they the same products that are half as expensive or are they inferior products? That's what you either didn't mention or need to find out. If you're looking at possibly purchasing inferior product then I cannot help much. But if you were trying to simply shop around I would advise it because maybe your vendors will come down in price if they start to lose your business or if you're not a huge account then no harm no foul you can just buy from one place one week and the other the next. You won't be able to establish any loyalty this way but maybe you don't care judging from your bottom line first attitude. Hope this helps.

post #4 of 14

You need to talk to your purveyors, and make them work for YOU, that is what they are there for. If you have goods that you KNOW you are going to go through X amount of, have them dial you in a lower price on that item, so long as you commit to buy X amount of units by a certain time frame. 

 

Nothing the vendors offer is carved in stone, whether they want you to believe it, or not. There can be a lot of flexibility once you know the right questions to ask. Again, make them work for YOU, that is their job, not just to take your order, and make sure the truck gets there in the proper window.

 

When dealing with the local grocer, you will get what you pay for, and there is a reason those offers are there: it's either overstock, or stuff that is getting past it's prime. There could be the chance that they happened to get a great deal on item X, and bought it all in bulk, to pass on the savings, but, YOU can make your VENDOR do the same thing for YOU.

 

Buying from the grocer is also going to effect your food costs. no matter the deal at the grocer, you can do better if you talk with your vendors.


Edited by 808JONO202 - 9/11/12 at 4:20pm

~If you are what you eat, I am cheap, fast, and easy.

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~If you are what you eat, I am cheap, fast, and easy.

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post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepsouthNYC View Post

If your only concern is bottom line, buy from where it is cheapest. 

 

When your customers start to notice a decline in quality due to the poor products you purchase, your problem won't just be bottom line.

Ya I know I thru a blanket statement out but I was simply looking for other peoples thoughts which is what I got. I am after quality always. The example here would be vine ripe tomatoes, some times GFS is $ 3.99/lbs and the store is $ 1.99/lbs then the store is where I go.

 

808JONO202 is the responce I am interested in. I have asked everytime the GFS Rep to offer a better price on this or that and I show her the flyer of the local food store with the cheaper price and she will always tell me that GFS negotiates their prices months in advance and there is nothing she can do about it. I once broke down and told her "Look I spend $ 4 000/month on Stuff do you want that kind of money on your commission?" I still got a no from her and she points to the GFS flyer for that month. Anyone else getting deals from GFS and if so why does it work for you?

 

Is $ 4 000 a month peanuts? This kind of money to me should be enough to make GFS want to keep all my sales in their trucks, no?

 

Thanks for the feedback and keep it coming.

post #6 of 14

Is GFS the only vendor that is available to you?  If not, do some research of the prices/quality of the other venders, tell the new guys you're willing to make the switch if they can offer you a better deal on the stuff you buy most.  Then you play hardball with GFS.  Once a company sees that they will lose business, $4,000 bucks seems worth saving that account.

 

If GFS is the only game in town, again, do some research and see what you can piece together.  You might have to start purchasing from other suppliers of your product.  Spreading the wealth, so to speak. I think 808 is definitely on the right track.  Make them work for YOU.  Just like you work for your guests at your bistro.  You (hopefully) value your guests, and your purveyors should do the same with your account.

post #7 of 14

GFS buys it's tomatoes from the same local shipper/distributer as the neighborhood supermarket.  Diary comes from a large dairy, and what Costco or Stupidstore caries is the very same that Sysco or GFS carries.

 

Local farmers can supply you with potatoes, onions, herbs, fruit, and berries that are local and fresh.

 

Here in B.C. we have a  large bakery supplier that has all bakery related products as well as general dry goods and disposables, they have a very open pricing system and it beats the pants off of the big boy suppliers.

 

Never, ever, nevereveever put all of your eggs in one basket with one supplier.  Tatoo this on your forehead, and treat any supplier with suspicion if they question this right, or snort at your account.

 

If it makes financial sense to make a weekly trip to Costco/stupidstore for dairy, pop, and some drygoods, then do it.  If you can get  local stuff like fruit, berries, herbs, then do it and boast/brag loud and wide about it on your menu.  I like to buy frozen dough and bake off bread/buns on  a daily basis--I can get cooks or dishwashers to do this, even the burger buns and croissants.

 

If you negotiate with one big boy supplier, and they know you have only one supplier, then  they know they have you by the short and curlies,and they won't let go--they will find one way or an other to make money off of you.  Disposables and cleaning stuff is one route they love to take, holding you to a contract to buy, say 16/18e/e bacon or 100 oz canned tomatoes for a whole year is another. And then there is meat...

 

Do not be afraid to spread your money around.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for the feedback.

 

My eggs are not in one basket but because of quality issues I won't use the other Vendors. Now in the Tomato example I do have the option to buy from SunTek but GFS knows this and could careless. It looks like it depends on the Rep you have with how much give and take will happen.

 

GFS DOES NOT buy from the same vendor, it is just that the big grocery chains can make deals in the 1000 lbs range and therefore offer better pricing once in a while, also the big stores have multiple locations to use as a negotiating tool.

 

Just so you folks are aware, I am working on a project right now that should yield us our own fruits, veg and herbs by spring next year and in the future.

 

Thanks again

post #9 of 14

I know that $4k is a lot of money, no matter how you slice it, but just how big is the group you are working with?

 

I use US Food Service for our accounts(so I am not in Canada), but honestly, we have 11 accounts, and the average invoice(and 3 deliveries a week on average)all average around $4K each, you can do the math, and even then, or sales rep can be a little shifty/hard to get hold off. . .BUT they are ALWAYS pushing specials, ALWAYS willing to battle pricing, and never ONCE have I said to them, "well, I see that company X is offering this same product at $.16 a can cheaper, and I am buying 20 cans per unit, across 11 units, so that adds up", and they ALWAYS come back with at lest SOME sort of compromise, or price change. It shouldn't matter the size of the operation though, they should be there to help you, and even more so because you are a smaller operation, and they should set a good example by helping the local business guy, trying to get by and make a buck too. . .that's what is is all about, isn't it?

 

Things, specifically with produce, sure there are market fluctuations, and sure they can buy a little further out, but I think it's BS the line they are feeding you. If they are paying x amount, and can see that the other places are getting it far cheaper, than that is a bad business model on their part, and YOU are suffering.

 

Do you have a local produce company that you could open an account with? They tend to be a LOT more dynamic in pricing, and the product is always more consistent as that is ALL they deal with(and occasionally dairy). Is there anything you can do to call her bluff, I mean, if you got it to where you only got stuff from her that was based on quarterly pricing, and only things that hit your dry storage/freezer, and janitorial compartments it might show her you mean business, and you will see just how much that $4K a month to them really means. . . not that it should matter, they are in the CUSTOMER SERVICE BUSINESS. . .but they HAVE to be able to do more to work with you, it's just silly that they would run a business like that. 

~If you are what you eat, I am cheap, fast, and easy.

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~If you are what you eat, I am cheap, fast, and easy.

Reply
post #10 of 14

You are paying for the drivers time and the gas and the truck that delivers it. Somethings pay to buy wholesale others do not pay / Take a peice of paper figure items you use most and least and start from there

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #11 of 14
Here's a prime example. Last week I got # 2 spuds and onions from my broadliner, which I normally don't due to price. Their price was $16 on the spuds and $12 on onions. The wholesale grocers price is $6 and $7 for the same exact thing. Yes they dropped them at my door step, but is the price diference worth the service? I have to go to the wholesale grocer once a week anyway. Same thing with bread, 4 1/2" seeded burger buns from the bread guy $3.29 dz, wholesaler I pay $3.89 for 24ct for the same exact brand. If you have a small operation, it's easy to do fill in shopping once or twice a week, but with a big store, forget about it.
post #12 of 14

If you buy from a Costco type operation, you are paying cash. If you call and get the salesman in from your wholesaler(Sysco, GFS,etc. and ask them HOW MUCH IF I PAY CASH  there should be a big difference if not get rid of them.  Try It   You have to play hardball. Dont tell me to develop a relationship with these companies , they are out to grab all they can.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #13 of 14
If you don't mind shopping grab the deal! A lot of chefs put to much time in to run around... As far as GFS, move you're business to Sysco or another food service company, but be careful they all play their games. If not on tomatoes then it will be high on the flour etc etc
GFS, is not a cheap company they don't give many deals...
post #14 of 14
I agree 100% with you..
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