or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Comparing Suppliers' Prices
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Comparing Suppliers' Prices

Poll Results: How do you compare food supplier prices?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 16% of voters (1)
    I compare paper invoices side by side
  • 50% of voters (3)
    I open various distributor ordering sites in multiple browser tabs
  • 16% of voters (1)
    I make a list and send it to my DSR or MA to quote
  • 16% of voters (1)
    I move my business around
  • 0% of voters (0)
    I use a price comparison site (please note which one in comments)
  • 0% of voters (0)
    I wish there was a better way
6 Total Votes  
post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm curious to hear how anyone compares prices across suppliers on the same food items. Is there an easy way?

post #2 of 18

None of the above.  I let my suppliers know i shop around and this keeps them competitive.  And i lie to them a bit.  "That cost how much well he gives me it for that Price".  I know it is a Little sketchy but arnt all sales People the same way

post #3 of 18

-rude reply deleted-

sorry
 


Edited by left4bread - 12/6/13 at 1:05am
post #4 of 18

Possibly this could help all. No purvryor has the same price for the same item. It depends on salesmans greed. It depends on how you pay your bills. They will try and get all they can out of you. In all my 45 or so years in purchasing I have found 2 honest ones, and they were not the  biggest.  You could get 3 differnt prices for a case of iceburg., bottem lione what does it weigh? should be 40 lbs

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 #5 of 18

Like I always hear, "that price is below cost, but I'll sell it to you anyway" ....or recently, how much are 5x6 tomatoes?  $18, what comes in is a single layer box. Who buys single layer tomatoes?

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

That's the part I don't understand - in addition to different prices for the same item, each supplier seems to name the same item something different making like items super hard to compare. Is it just me or are others having the same problem?

 

I have this nagging feeling that I'm not getting consistently fair prices. Don't get me wrong, I'm not necessarily looking for the lowest price because there are other factors, service, fill rates, delivery, blah, blah. I just wish there was something to compare my prices to so I had some idea of whether or not I'm being totally ripped off.

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusFring View Post
 

That's the part I don't understand - in addition to different prices for the same item, each supplier seems to name the same item something different making like items super hard to compare. Is it just me or are others having the same problem?

 

I have this nagging feeling that I'm not getting consistently fair prices. Don't get me wrong, I'm not necessarily looking for the lowest price because there are other factors, service, fill rates, delivery, blah, blah. I just wish there was something to compare my prices to so I had some idea of whether or not I'm being totally ripped off.

 

There are industry standards. For beef use the designations from the meat buyer's guide.  For fish it might be a little different, but red B potatoes is red B potatoes and nothing else.  Make them use standard terminology.

post #8 of 18

First off, in order to answer the O.P.'s question, I compare prices by .....(drum roll please, hold on to your hats ladeez and gennelmen...) BY LOOKING AT THE INVOICE.  Doesn't matter what I've been quoted or promised, it all depends on what I've been charged

 

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by GusFring View Post
 

That's the part I don't understand - in addition to different prices for the same item, each supplier seems to name the same item something different making like items super hard to compare. Is it just me or are others having the same problem?

 

I have this nagging feeling that I'm not getting consistently fair prices. Don't get me wrong, I'm not necessarily looking for the lowest price because there are other factors, service, fill rates, delivery, blah, blah. I just wish there was something to compare my prices to so I had some idea of whether or not I'm being totally ripped off.

 

But that's the whole idea!  Look, next time you're in the supermarket, take a look at the cereal aisle.  Compare the price of a box of Corn flakes to a box of Frosted Flakes.  Same mnfctr, basically the same stuff, but you can't compare prices because the box sizes are different, different weights.  We all know it's the same stuff just with a little sugar water squirted on top, and when that sugar water crystalizes, it turns white. Kellogg's has been doing that long before most of us were born.

 

 

 

This whole thread brings me to discuss "Foodpumps 3rd observation":

 

"Giants play best with other giants"

 

By giants I mean the broadliners like Sysco and US foods, and the other giants are the 500 rm hotels with 12 F&B outlets or the 800 bed hospitals with 2,000 staff.  I'm not saying that giants can't get along with dwarves and midgets, but at the end of the day, it's the small guys who go home feeling like they got the shaft.

 

I've been in this business for over 30 years now, and as far as I am concerned, a sales rep has two functions:

 

1) to inform the customer of specials, what's new, and what will be discontinued

2) to inform the customer of  price changes

 

Now, with (1) I prefer to have that information e-mailed to me or have it stapled on the back of invoice.  It is valuable information, but I don't need a sales rep to give me that.

 

With (2) I (deleted)-ing well need to have a sales rep inform of price changes BEFORE  they happen.  How often has the following scenerio happened to you?:

 

-Well Chef, how are things going, are your deliveries O.K.?

-What happened with the Sugar/100oz crush toms/16/18 e/e bacon?  The  price magically jumped up by $2.00/cs/$5.00/cs!!!

-Yes, we've seen the market price go up by as much as 10% on that item (or insert whatever B.S comes to mind here)

-(Me, speaking in slow, clearly enunciated low tones reserved for duel-to-the death matches) Look, when you make a left hand turn in your car, do you put out the signal indicator before or after you make the turn?

-Huh?

-You put out your indicator BEFORE you make the turn, so guys behind you know what to expect.  You (deleted)-ing well know that price of sugar/bacon went up almost a week ago, if you would have told me, I could have stocked up on the old price and buffered myself for the increase.  Every invoice I sign, I see your name on the front, why are you earning commission off of me if you can't do your job?

 

Giants play best with other giants.  I'm a small business and proud of it,  I go out of my way to deal with smaller suppliers

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #9 of 18

I have a process I teach restaurant owners to keep costs in line.

 

First, I believe restaurants get the best prices with a primary vendor contract rather than using an item bid system where you bid out every purchase every week, then buy from whomever is cheapest. Reason being, every vendor has a fixed cost to get goods to your door. The less food they deliver to you, the more of that cost that has to be calculated into every item they sell you. When you are promising them 80% or more of your total purchases, its not necessary to mark up each item as much to recapture their landing cost.

 

The primary vendor contract brings up a challenge, which is probably what you are asking about. Once they know they are going to get 80% of your business, how do you make sure you continue to get the best prices?

 

Here's my process:

 

First, the primary vendor contract should be bid out every year to at least three vendors, preferably five or more. You should never let a primary vendor think you are too comfortable with them. Complacency gets you overcharged. You have to be willing to change vendors. It can't be an empty threat. If the vendor knows you are always looking, they will stay on their toes to keep you happy.

 

Second, find out who else they are delivering to in the area and talk to them about prices. The best time to get the names of other restaurants getting deliveries is during the initial bid process. Say you want them for references, then make friends with them and talk about your pricing. Knowledge is power.

 

Third, use your vendor rep to stay on top of prices. Request that they audit your case prices with you on your inventory sheet every quarter. This will not only give you an opportunity to make sure your inventory prices are accurate, but you'll also allow your vendor rep a chance to let you know about items that might save you some money.

 

Fourth, put your orders into an electronic system yourself. Never allow the vender rep to put your orders in. Not only might you miss out on opportunities to buy lower priced products, but you also won't see if the price for the product you want has changed until after its on your doorstep.

 

Fifth, don't use inventory program features that automatically update your inventory pricing. Yes, this can be a big time saver, but there is a tradeoff. Chefs should be going over every invoice item by item, looking at the price of each so they know what they are paying and how it compares to the last price they paid. The best way to do this in my opinion is with manual monthly inventory price updates. A chef should sit down with the inventory sheet and the invoices once a month and verify, manually, the inventory prices are correct. This level of knowledge about inventory prices alone will go a long ways to keeping vendors honest. A chef that knows the price of everything on their inventory will naturally put more pressure on the vendor to keep prices down.

 

There's plenty more cost control techniques you can utilize, but these specifically will help keep your vendors honest and your prices low.

Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

Reply

Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

Reply
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon ODell View Post
 

I have a process I teach restaurant owners to keep costs in line.

 

First, I believe restaurants get the best prices with a primary vendor contract rather than using an item bid system where you bid out every purchase every week, then buy from whomever is cheapest. Reason being, every vendor has a fixed cost to get goods to your door. The less food they deliver to you, the more of that cost that has to be calculated into every item they sell you. When you are promising them 80% or more of your total purchases, its not necessary to mark up each item as much to recapture their landing cost.

 

The primary vendor contract brings up a challenge, which is probably what you are asking about. Once they know they are going to get 80% of your business, how do you make sure you continue to get the best prices?

 

Now here we have two very different ways of dealing with suppliers.  I'd rather walk naked through a gay-bar than give one supplier 80% of my entire purchases.  But then, that's just me....

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #11 of 18

Regardless of method, it seems to me that it is very difficult and tedious.

post #12 of 18
so we are in the middle of opening new restaurant. so what i have done is asked my purchase manager to provide me with negotiated rates of all supplier further more i have asked him (myself included) for more suppliers i compile this whole data in excel under different heading such as

dairy
vegetables
meat
etc...

then i convert all prices / kg

after all this work all you have to do is go to the respective produce type
type in the produce and hit enter everytime and seee the different available quotes
PLAIN AND SIMPLE makes life hell easier .
and making technichal seets as well.




cool.gif
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefbuba View Post
 

Like I always hear, "that price is below cost, but I'll sell it to you anyway" ....or recently, how much are 5x6 tomatoes?  $18, what comes in is a single layer box. Who buys single layer tomatoes?

 

Plenty of people buy single flat 5x6s...me being one of them...and they are more than $18.

 

But what I can't get over is someone being quoted $18 for tomatoes, and that person thinking they were going to get a full sized box?  Did you really think that you were getting THAT great of a deal?  LoL

post #14 of 18
75 percent of my business is in 10 weeks of the summer. Before the season, I put everything I would dream of buying on a spreadsheet and chart every supplier who gives me online access (Sysco does not; my rep gives me numbers). Anything that's particularly costly or anything I buy with a lot of volume gets watched especially closely, but I still see every price when I order online. If prices move around, I shop around.

I'm mostly on GPOs, though, so I don't generally have to worry about being jerked around by a rep.

By the way, I paid $18.50ish for a case of 5x6's last week, and have never paid that much for a single layer. Where the heck are you guys buying?
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Lancaster View Post
 

 

Plenty of people buy single flat 5x6s...me being one of them...and they are more than $18.

 

But what I can't get over is someone being quoted $18 for tomatoes, and that person thinking they were going to get a full sized box?  Did you really think that you were getting THAT great of a deal?  LoL

YES.....LOL...... That's what I always buy, 5x6 two layer tomatoes are not a figment of my imagination. $18.50 this week.

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefbuba View Post

YES.....LOL...... That's what I always buy, 5x6 two layer tomatoes are not a figment of my imagination. $18.50 this week.

Exactly. My price on 2 layer 5 x 6 is $19.25 , but i prefer loose vine ripened locals which come in at 25# for $20. Not as large as 5x 6 but better in-season quality.
post #17 of 18

I was just thinking like your question for years as my distributors seem to have difference prices to difference restaurant. Each distributor has their own product description but they all are the same item what we are buying. Some named it "Jumbo Yellow Onion", and some named it "Yellow Onion Jumbo". But distributors knew what you are buying.

 

Finally, I found an online tool at boilingprice.com to compare price of all items of my order list across many distributors before placing, I always send Price Inquiry for distributor to respond prices, look at the lowest price to decide which one I want order that week. I found so much easier and feeling saving a ton of in purchasing raw foods for the restaurant.

 

I asked my distributors to sign up so they can be interacting with me realtime through the platform. There is 1 big guy refused to disclose all prices for me to compare, and I knew that this distributor was the culprit of my profit lost.

post #18 of 18

Never trust 1 or 2 food distributors.....we can't control "Human Greed" by trust....the only way to control the food cost is to put a realtime "Compare Price Tool" in place. As food prices changed every week, so use the tool to keep an eye on the price!  

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Comparing Suppliers' Prices