do any bakers/cooks that sell wholesale to groceries/coffee shops/stores have a return or credit pol

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Joined Aug 10, 2016
Hello fellow cooks and bakers, I am new to the forum.  I have a small gluten free online/wholesale bake shop in California.  I was recently asked by a prospective store that wants to carry my products what my return or credit policy is for unsold baked goods.  I have never been asked this question so I thought I would take it to the masses and see if anyone has come across this question before?

Thanks in advance for your response. :)
 
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Joined Feb 18, 2007
I imagine this is the kind of policy the grocery store has in place with their other large scale bread/pastry suppliers; and this is the first time  they're doing business with a small independent operation.  They need to understand that GF products don't have the same shelf life that regular wheat products do; they need to manage their inventory and not expect you to carry the burden of their unsold stuff.  Approach it from the perspective that you are willing to deliver every other day (or every third day, whatever your shelf life is); and that if they are selling out, you are happy to restock them within 24 hours.  DON'T buy back their unsold inventory, you've had no control over where it's been or how it's been stored and you are taking the loss.  And you probably can't afford to absorb that loss.

Also, are there provisions in place so they are not underpricing you (what they sell the same product for is what you are selling it for.)?
 

chefpeon

Kitchen Dork
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Joined Jun 15, 2006
In addition to what @JCakes  said, we did a lot of wholesale to grocery chains and independent stores. We actually did buy back unsold product, but our deal was that WE were the ones who stocked the shelves and determined the inventory. Because we were on top of it daily, we could more closely control the bread sales by figuring out what was moving and what wasn't and reducing our shrinkage. It's important to note that we ONLY agreed to a buy back program if WE were the ones stocking the shelves and keeping an eye on sales. We wouldn't have done that if some clueless bakery department manager was ordering from us every day. All our buy back (and there wasn't much) went to our local food bank. 
 
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If you are too lenient with your buy-back policy, stores will over order and take advantage of the policy.  If you want to order and stock the shelves, you  are supplying a lot of labour, which has its pros and cons, but certain chains are unionized and don't want independents dong their work.

I guess a lot depends on

a)  Shelf life

b) whl sale cost

c) retail mark up 
 
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Joined Aug 10, 2016
Hi JCakes, Chefpeon, and foodpump!

Thank you so much for your input! The store is on the larger side so I assume this kind of policy is not rare for most wholesalers.  I do feel my wholesale price and markup is in line with standard pricing of products so am not being underpriced.  For the most part, my baked goods are marked up 2-2.25 from wholesale price.  

I'll talk with them and see how they feel if maybe we start out with smaller orders to get the product on the shelves and gauge it from there.  I do like the idea checking the product weekly and restocking the shelves as needed.  I have relied on bakery dept personnel and will say at times I was not happy with the results.

It does take a lot of extra time to make it to each store, but in the end it's worth and can also help get more products sold by your mere presence.

Great ideas and insights from all of you, I really appreciate it.
 

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