How Many Vendors are You Using?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by linecook854, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. linecook854

    linecook854

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    I am curious to see how many vendors everyone is using for their particular establishment and sales volume. Please include the number of vendors you use and what they supply (IE produce, meats, breads, etc,) and what type of establishment you are (high end restaurant, mid range hotel, family run diner etc.) and what type of volume you do in terms of the number of guests served and the dollar amount of food sales.

    I was kinda floored today when I spoke to a small restaurant owner (probably 40 seats) who has a semi-upscale menu when he mentioned he uses 9 or 10 vendors. I don't know how he manages to get the minimum order amount from each vendor, assuming he uses each vendor at least once weekly. Or perhaps he really bargain shops and picks and chooses where he gets item A for that week depending on who is cheapest?
     
  2. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Small artisan chocolate and pastry shop, Mom and Pop, but we supply about a dozen supermarkets with product.

    1)Pastry broadliner "A"-flour sugar, nuts, butter, eggs, dried fruit, etc

    2)Pastry broadliner "B" fruit purees, booze, fancy chocolate stuff like transfer sheets, cocoa butter colours, etc

    2-3 neighborhood grocery stores for fruit, veg, dairy,

    1 national supermarket chain for dairy, fruit, eggs

    1 local coffee roaster for coffee

    1 national head office for bulk chocolate (currently about 500 kgs per year)

    Yes, I cherry pick.  Dairy is almost 40% cheaper if I buy from a supermarket than if I get it though a broadliner or from the dairy itself.  I buy case lots of fruit from the local guys.  I negotiated a price for my chocolate and avoid the crazy price fluctuations that the broadliners love to shove down throats (ie 30% increase from Oct-Jan, by March the price dramatically goes down again.

    I've worked in 300 rm hotels with 4 F&B outlets where the mngmt calculated it was cheaper to pay a guy with a van to go to Costco once a week to buy dairy, cheese, some drygoods and pop.
     
  3. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

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    last restaurant was a traditional italian restaurant ( seats 150+ ).  

    We had one supplier (local) that supplied us with all meat , and poultry

    One local supplier that supplied us with fish - Salmon , Salted cod , Trout , Flounder etc....

    One huge local supplier that supplied us with fruit and veggies year round - We had cheaper price due to the fact we ordered large quanititys of product weekly. 

    One supplier for italian wines and Booze

    One large supermarket ( chain ) for things like salt , spices , dairy , eggs , etc... and anything industrialized we can't get fresh. 

    So thats 5 <_<

    If you get to choose your own suppliers at a place , thats a huge advantage in my opinion , since you can judge if their products are up to snuff. 

    Usually any fresh produce entering the restaurant we check , if not good quality it is sent back. 

    I have worked at a place where the owner´s family had their own supermarket chain , basically dairy , eggs , pasta , etc..... we could get as much as we wanted , when we needed , and paid squat for it. 

    Then produce we would get from suppliers twice a week and meat and poultry from another supplier when we couldnt get it from the supermarket. 
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  4. left4bread

    left4bread

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    1. Broadliner - some of everything: protein/dairy/paper goods/detergents/dry stores...

    2. Meat guy - chicken breasts,wings/pork shoulder/ground pork/ground lamb/strip loin/sausages

    3. Meat guy - bacon/sausages/sirloin steak

    4. Fish guy(gal) - sockeye/oysters/clams/chum

    5. Bakery - baguettes

    6. Bakery - ciabatta/focaccia/rye bread

    7. Bakery - sandwich loaves

    8. Bakery - pita/pizza

    9. Orchardist - hazelnuts

    10. Cow people - milk/cream/half&half/buttermilk/eggs

    11. Rancher - ground beef

    12. Farmer - mixed greens/occasional dinner veg

    13. Farmer - fruits and veg, whatever is in season

    14. Cheesemaker - goat cheese

    15. Spice guy - guess

    16. Janitorial goods guy - toilet paper

    17. Coffee roaster - coffee beans

    18. organic store - tempeh/vegan bacon/vegan mayonnaise/GF bread

    19. Mushroom guy - mushrooms!

    20. cash&carry - because I forgot to order something

    There's a few more I'm forgetting probably not worth noting.

    And then whatever the brewers order, and also merchandise. But I don't deal with any of that.

    Brew Pub (not a gastropub).

    All day menu average price is $10/plate. Dinner menu is $16 - $25.

    Slow season, so probably $8,000 net today including beer.

    Sorry, I don't want to go upstairs and count the covers, they might put me to work.

    4 through 14, 17, and 19 are locally made/grown/caught/slaughtered products. 2 sells meats grown in the PNW (I'm in Washington State).
     
  5. notswedishchef

    notswedishchef

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    Dairy/ Dry Goods - 2 (technically 3 but only use 2 on a reg. basis)

    Proteins -

    ducks/ chickens -1

    steaks - 1 main, but have used 4 others to supplement within the past 6 months

    lamb/ goat- 1

    pigs - 2 (1 is a heritage supplier)

    Fish - 2

    Cheese- 1

    cleaning supplies -2

    dish chemicals-1

    produce - 5ish...varies with season...and farm availibility

    mushroom/ ramp forager-2

    20ish on a regular basis, upwards of probably 30 when you count people I source one off things from.....molecular chemicals, acetate sheets, vac bags, grains, etc.

    I don't think this is a surprising number....a lot of it is seasonal too...when the farms are up and running....we're using a ton of them....southern maine, MA, RI all have guys that I do business with....

    proteins......no one person can provide you with the best of everything.....and its good to have a plan B when plan A hits the dumper. 

    we choose to align ourselves with vendors who can provide us with the level of service we look to provide to our guests....consistency and quality are key.  By nature alot of the products we all use are naturally varying......i love that...but i also need consistency.  The farm we get our greens from is consistent in size, mix, etc. 

    I go to bat for my vendors (i've taken whole pigs, goats, lambs, sides of beef) off the hands of vendors when other buyers have balked last minute.  I expect them to do the same.....if I need something they best go the extra mile to help or they drop off the list. 
     
  6. billpitcher

    billpitcher

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    Christian camp and conference center here. I use about a dozen all together for dining services, but in peak season, 90 percent of the business goes to three of them:

    -- One broadliner, US Foods. I used to have two, and I wish I had two now, but there are only four in this area, and US Foods just bought one of them. The other two are unreliable, including Sysco, whose rep I've seen once in 15 months, and a family-owned company whose manager has been trying to get my business but keeps no-showing for appointments. US Foods now has my drinks, paper and chemicals.

    -- One cash-and-carry, Restaurant Depot. I use them for some dry goods and most disposables because they're cheaper than any of the broadliners or paper supply companies around.

    -- An Amish produce auction. In July through October, it's an amazing source of inexpensive, reliably excellent produce.

    Next year I'll be adding a milk vendor. I've been buying it under an arrangement with a convenience store that runs its own dairy, but it's getting to be a pain.

    I also use a half-dozen produce farmers in the area, as well as a honey guy (we are starting to do our own maple syrup this year), and a few times a year, I buy bison, elk and venison from local farmers for special menus.
     
     
  7. fbindustry

    fbindustry

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    We have one restaurant with 150-200 seats and another with 75 seats and beta tested kitchify.com this summer with considerable savings demonstrated by the product.  I know that Kitchify is going to issue another beta release to a limited amount of restaurants that sign up for the pre-registration from their site in about four weeks, but only for Colorado food and beverage purchasers and with a select amount of vendors as they continue to integrate with all of the ones that have signed up (we were able to see more vendors during early beta) .  

    They should be in most Western states by the end of 2014 though.  Having all of our vendor's pricing in one place as well as vendors we had never used before opened up so many opportunities for savings, trying new products/vendors, and menu design was super easy since we never had to meet with any sales reps from the companies.  If you're in Colorado and want to be part of the next beta, I would sign up with your email at their website soon, and if you're not in Colorado check their site for when your area might be available.  
     
  8. beastmasterflex

    beastmasterflex

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    50 Seat Diner

    Sysco

    US Foods

    Performance Food Group

    Produce Purveyor

    Bakery Supplier

    Bakery

    Fish Purveyor

    Spice Website

    Wal-Mart

    Maple Syrup Maker

    Beekeeper

    Local Beef Farm

    Local Blueberry Farm PYO

    Local Apple Farm PYO

    The woods (Gonna shoot me a deer next year)

    I consider Sysco, US Foods, and PFG to be the same distributor as I only use one at a time depending on the sketchiness/greediness of their current sales rep, just got a new Sysco rep and prices went up 15% so I'm on PFG right now. I try not to get too many drops a week as the fuel surcharges really start adding up.
     
  9. seabeecook

    seabeecook

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    Welcome Bill ... I am the chef at a municipal family camp in Northern California each summer. Last summer, I used US Foods, Sysco, a major regional produce/dairy vendor and the local natural foods store. Two supermarkets in town are used for emergency runs. I dislike using the larger, more well know store because of their prices (and available quantities). But we have a commercial account there.

    My focus this year was to reverse the historic habit of overspending the food budget (by as much as 10-15 percent annually), which I accomplished. I envy Bill's location with abundant farms, etc. The key crops around the camp are lumber and firewood! My task this year (in the spring before I head north) is to see what's available on the local market.
     
  10. left4bread

    left4bread

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    Quote:
    Kinda sounds like you work for them since it's your first post, but whatever. It's a tool that people use.

    I prefer and defend the idea of what Notswedishchef said,
    "We choose to align ourselves with vendors who can provide us with the level of service we look to provide to our guests....consistency and quality are key."

    I think that using the companies that cull all prices from different vendors (at the moment) so that you can compare prices off-the-cuff are a bane on the industry.

    But then Beastmasterflex has this: "I consider [X,Y, and Z] to be the same distributor as I only use one at a time depending on the sketchiness/greediness of their current sales rep...",

    and I feel for that situation. It would infuriate me.
    Dude. mushrooms! You probably can't, tho :(
     
  11. foodpump

    foodpump

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    But what is "Beta tested" and "Kitchify", and why is it assumed that we know what it is?
     
  12. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I refuse to pay fuel surcharge. That is or should be included in price. Once Sysco pulled up with an order for about 5200.00 there was a surcharge on bill, I refused to accept order. Salesman called up and said"I will absorb surcharge''   In other words play hardball.
     
  13. left4bread

    left4bread

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    Right. I mean, if I was going to shill my product/company, I'd at least drop a www.com. I'd let you know that it's a FREE and REVOLUTIONARY app for your smartdevice that will not only save you TIME and MONEY, but also allow you to effectively serve your CUSTOMER BASE more... effectively? I dunno, I lost steam.
    That actually cracks me up! I'm paying $8 three times a week for delivery from broadliner. They added that ... 5 years ago or something.

    I'm not sure that I want to play hardball with that charge. I'd prefer to pick my battles with proteins and cheese, etc. I appreciate your earnest, though. Made me think.
     
  14. seabeecook

    seabeecook

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    Can and do use fresh mushrooms ... this isn't your stereotypical camp. I only served chicken nuggets twice the whole summer!
     
  15. its bubba7

    its bubba7

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    Way to many... Spending that much time with Vendors what's going on in the kitchen...

    Imo
     
  16. beastmasterflex

    beastmasterflex

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    Ridiculous
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  17. its bubba7

    its bubba7

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    What's your True Food cost
     
  18. foodpump

    foodpump

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    That's just it, you don't spend time with vendors, just give me your price list and I'll figure out what I need, on my time.  In the last 15 years I haven't had a sales rep spend more than 5 minutes with me per visit, and maybe 5 or 6 visits per year.  I don't golf or take vacations in far away places, so there's nothing much to talk about, and besides, I know much more than the rep does about the product.
     
  19. blueicus

    blueicus

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    Small boutique vegetarian restaurant, 20 or so seats (plus a bar), about $40 avg. per cover

    We use 2 local produce broadliners for general things

    1 dry goods vendor for things like spices, beans, oil, etc.

    1 japanese goods vendor for japanese items (sometimes with a trip to the local japanese store)

    1 specialty pastry supply vendor

    1+ mushroom forager

    3+ organic grower co-ops/urban farms/etc. for seasonal things

    a cash and carry for cleaning and sanitary supplies

    supplemented with trips to the local chinese grocery stores, large (overpriced) gourmet food and equipment store), farmer's market, and semi-random ethnic food stores depending on season
     
  20. its bubba7

    its bubba7

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    Just asking:

    What is the Food Cost spending more or less time with or without a Associate... Lot of Variables with Product spec's especially Proteins
    Thanks my friends