When buying veggies, fruits, groceries, etc do you prefer working with these smaller, locally owned distributors or big chain ones like Sysco, US Foods, and Gordon Food Services?
Pros and cons?
I don't agree with Foodpump and the others entirely. Of course a 500 seater has more clout and buying power than a 50 seater, but that doesn't mean a 50 seater (like me) can't get great service and great pricing. It really boils down to the quality of the rep and the amount amount of work you're willing to put in to send out your business for bid regularly. My rep regularly bails me out when I run out of item unexpectedly and he'll bring it to me between orders. He regularly reviews my order guide to get me better prices when the market changes. If your rep isn't doing any work for you, ask for a different rep.
That said, the local guy's produce is cheaper and far superior. The local bakery has fresh vs. frozen product with no minimum. The local dairy guy has broader selection, great service and in some cases better pricing, as does my local fish monger. I'm sure much of this depends on geography, but for me at least, I need the broadline distributor for about 75% of my buys, the small local specialty guys for the rest.. Hated Sysco, Love US Foods. Gorden and Reinhart/AGAR for me aren't competitive. I'll do Restaurant Depot run for all my chemicals and some dry goods and deli meats on occasion. Can't imagine shopping at Costco for anything on a regular basis. The pricing doesn't come close to real wholesale and your time is worth something. If it's not, you need to re-think what you are doing with it.