What standards do you hold your purveyors to?

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Joined Mar 1, 2011
I'm pretty sure purveyors hate me. I KNOW that they love the restaurants money, but pretty sure they hate me.

I'm just not going to deal or put up with sub par product from my produce guy, my fish monger, meat guy, spice guy, etc. And I think that it kind of sucks that some people do put up with it. I think it kind of sucks that these purveyors could feed people so much b.s. and I think it kind of sucks that people buy the b.s. coming out of my mouth.

Sandy cilantro? Take that sh*t back I don't want it. Foccacia from the bakery scorched or looking like a birthday cake because it was over proofed? Take that sh*t back, I don't want it. Full bone in ribeye that I'm paying through the nose for looks like garb? Take that sh*t back I don't want it. Moldy tomatoes.... I think u know where I'm going.

Reason I'm bringing this up now is for this reason. I have been using the same fish guy for a while now. He knows me, and knows I'll send anything back that isn't of the best quality. I just believe they owe it to us to give us what the heck we are paying for. And I owe it to my customers to give them the same. I'm not going to serve them crap, because they aren't paying for crap. Anyways my fish guy knows this so he usually hand picks my product and delivers it from the shore himself. Well he's in Italy for a month, so somebody else is doing his job. So yesterday I get my Friday fish delivery. Salmon, cod, monkish, hamachi. Prep guy grabs monkfish to portion for service. I have never seen so many worms come out of pieces of fish in my life. I get it, it's not my first rodeo, monkfish, sword, etc are super susceptible to parasites. I get it. But I don't care, take that sh*t back. I'm not serving it. I wasn't too upset I was going to 86 it for the night, call the guy, tell him what happened and tell him that I WOULD DRIVE TO HIM in the am and swap it out for some good product. This guy has the sack to tell me that it's just a parasite that a lot of monkfish get it and when cooked to temp the fish is fine.

I am so happy that this was over the phone because if it were face to face I might have caught a charge and landed in the back of a police car.

All I could think of is how much other b.s. this dude feeds/has fed people and how many poor souls have just put up with it. Well, not me, not this guy. They owe it to us, and we owe it to out customers to get the best product. Not awful product. Not okay or good product. They,and we, deserve the best.

Anyways, sorry for rambling. End rant.
 
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856
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Joined May 14, 2014
Here in Seattle, I've never had a problem with a local company (you know, one that wants your business?), that they did not willingly address, within reason. Fish , meat, produce, usually looks good, and if I can't use it, I get a credit and/or a pickup. I don't think you can expect to get better product than the next guy, though. Sometimes the lettuce just sucks because it's raining in Yuma, you know?
But dealing with Sysco or FSA or the other one is like pulling teeth just to get ok product at a reasonable time. One Sysco driver left 4 pallets of food, butted up against the walk in door, outside, in the pouring rain. One time I got the wrong steaks because the had the wrong label, told THREE DIFFERENT PEOPLE, and got another case of wrong steaks with wrong label.
Maybe the worst was when I worked at a fish restaurant group which owned it's wholesale arm. Those guys were just blatent pirates. One time they just shipped us ten dz oysters we didn't order just to get them out of inventory. "You guys'll sell them", yeah right. Ordered 2 #s of swordfish & the sent a tail piece, one usable portion.
Oh & what's up homie, you can't wash thecilantro? Haha drives me nuts, too
 
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Thanks for the reply Grande :) it's not that I believe I deserve better product than the next guy, I just believe we ALL deserve the best. And I believe when the guy down the street is okay getting sub par product, vendors think they are getting away with something and think they can pull the same b.s.

And your right, sometimes you can't help it, if it's not a good time for lettuce it's not a good time for lettuce. However I believe it is the duty of my vendor to let me know that the lettuce hasn't been up to snuff, rather than push people into buying it. He doesn't forget to come pick up his check every week. He always gets paid on time. And often gets cut a deal if he books a party or a res at the restaurant. It's just respect, that a lot of these guys don't have.

And yea, Sandy cilantro will be be death of me
 
5,192
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
Last week I was BSing with an old friend in his office. He's a purchasing agent for large property, you know, a retirement position for burned out Chefs.

   We're interrupted by a fish delivery. I'm listening to my friend just taking full boxes of fish and throwing them aside and yelling "Take this back!" over and over.

He tells his guys"ok full routine on the fish. He washes and come back to sit. I ask him when that fish was for? He says tomorrow. He says, yea I'm fu  ed now. as usual. Now I have to scramble to source some in tonight.

  He leans back and says to me " ya know, the f..in health department makes me jump through hoops when it comes to receiving fish, my guys will spend the next couple of hours in the coolers taking care of  all the set-ups for fish storage"." WHO THE HELL IS MONITORING THESE

F IN VENDORS?"
 
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I'd like to know as well P. It's really really annoying. It's just like, I would never think of sending pit garbage to my customers. Idk why they find it okay to send garbage to their customers. Makes me shake my head.
 
5,508
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Meh....

I like to think that purveyors and sales reps will pull sh*t even when you catch them, and it is my (chef's) job to catch them. In other words default is to provide sh*t to customers you don't have to kiss a**.

I also believe that 99% of sales reps REFUSE to acknowledge the following:
-That I know just as much about the product, its packing date, expiry dates, codes, and health codes as they do--or more frequently, more than they do.
-That I know what the guy across the street is paying for the same item, and what the ethnic grocery store next door is paying for the exact same item.
-That I know how the delivery runs are structured, and how many stops a typical driver can cover in a morning or day.

And I also believe that 99%of sales reps figure that since they control the pricing, that they have me over a barrel, and that I should swallow any sh*t they throw at me. I also believe that they think I am incapable of buying product from local grocers\distributers and wonder why I don't buy from them.

Thats a lot of beliefs, sounds like a new religion or something.

I dont have a supermodel for a wife, dont own a luxury car, take maybe 10 days of vacation a year, and that would be "stay-cations". But the one luxury I DO have, is playing with the sales rep. I catch them b.-essing me, and I LOVE to watch them squirm.

About once every three months I have the 'ol "signal light" speech. It goes something like this:

Well Chef, have you been getting your orders ok?
Uhh, you didn't tell me that (blank) has gone up by x$\lb\case, whatever.
Yes, blank has gone up by 13%.
Look, when you make a left hand turn, you use you signal light, right?
Uhhh... Yeah.
You put out your signal BEFORE you make the turn, right?
Uhh, where you going with this?
If you would have told me that blank is going up, I would have bought in a couple of cases to buffer before the increase hits. Instead, I stare like an eejit at the invoice with the new price, and your name on the upper corner, with your cut on commission, wondering why you cant give the courtesy-actually, do your job, and inform me BEFORE the increase.
Uhh... I'll get back to you on that one....

So I get my jollies, and the eejit avoids me. All is well untill the eejit is promoted and I get another eejit trainee my face.

My dog is right:The world would be a better place without people......
 
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Foodpump, my point exactly. I just don't even deal with it. When I send stuff back I often get a blank stare back like I just killed somebody's dog.like I should have been okay with the sh*t they sent me. Unreal.

As I sit outside on the back steps at the restaurant, having a smoke I just found out that the wild caught Alaskan salmon I bought and had delivered last night was indeed not delivered. What I received instead, is Atlantic bay of Maine farmed salmon with color added. O well, I guess I will have to be okay with what they sent me..... Not. Take that sh*t back.

Ugh I'll never win. But I refuse to fall prey to the games.
 
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thespit

Banned
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Joined May 17, 2016
The problem is that not only do you have to deal with the BS of your Restaurant, you have to do your supplier's job as well.  Thats why even at a young age, owning my restaurant for two years, i feel like its 200 years and i am an ol' F******* man

PS:  Don't even get me started on the incompetent who sharpens my knives.....
 
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3,238
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Joined May 5, 2010
In rural America dealing with the likes of Sysco and GFS is lunacy.

The corporations send their least experienced sales people to the ends of the earth because those locations usually buy simple no brainer stuff.

I've had many years of just exactly what FoodPump related in his thread

Heck, I've even had to grab the laptop from my Sysco rep once, type in what I wanted and hand it back to her so she could push "Enter."

I realize that most food services fill your order in the middle of the night.

The warehouse uses labor to pick and pack the pallets.

I also realize that these people may or may not have any food knowledge when it comes to quality or being able to spot problems.

Or they simply don't get paid enough to give a s__t.

I would enjoy the ability to tell the delivery guy to take this or that back, but locationaly handicapped as I am, this is impossible.

Some days, it's like opening the secret mystery basket to reveal what I have to cook with today. So sad.
 
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Joined Feb 17, 2010
Prime example, I get a produce delivery, 4 sacks of spuds for FF and a sack of onions. I don't get into them until the next day, all four bags were sprouted and the onions had green centers and were ready to sprout. I call the sales guy order taker, ask him WTF????? and tell him to swap this stuff out, he sends the truck next day for pick up only! This is the only produce company that delivers where I'm at, so I'm stuck with it.
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
I dunno, bubba. If it were me, it would make more sense to send an employee or myself out to a local grocer, pick out what I want, load 'er up, and go to Costco to pick up dairy. Yes, it costs to do it this way, but o.t.o.h. you have what you need and are not waiting on someone else, and it is usually cheaper. The produce itself is the same quality, and many times comes off the same truck that the broadliners use.

I did things this way for about ten years when I had my catering biz. Alot of the time I go to the local (ethnic) grocer, load up banna boxes, with what I wanted, "x" cases with magic marker, and they would deliver in the afternoon.
 
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Joined May 14, 2014
thespit thespit that's why I bring my own & sharpen my own.
chefross chefross on contract with Sysco, you can't order from anyone else,(well, I couldn't) although it's probably admitadly better in the city. I've moved on from that place but I remember the random stuff that used to show up with the wrong tag on it. & if I go through pictures on my phone, I still find pictures I took of those all important item numbers, because if you asked for something by name lord knows what you'd get. I remember, too, punching brooms into my order for a month straight & getting nothing and having to e-mail my rep to get them. Brooms?
 
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5,192
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
I'm correct in thinking that a sales rep doesn't have anything to do with the quality of product you receive unless it's a brand issue.

  I also use a local depot for a few perishable items although some are quantity. I guess I'm fortunate because we have a local guy that has developed his own delivery

business. I order and pay online, I attach him to my account so he has my card. He has quite a few accounts so his orders are ready to go and packed with insulated blankets and

dry ice packs. If the order takes up a whole van, it's $ 20. cash. If not it's $ 10. cash. Well worth it for me. It's less the an hour's labor for me.

  He has a pretty good relationship with the depot employees (the Spanish pipeline) so I have never received anything near expiration. He has a number of vehicles on the road.

He told me for his long distant deliveries, the depot throws him a refrigerated van. Not bad.
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2011
I respectfully disagree that the salesperson has nothing to do with the quality of product. Sometimes, your right they don't. But sometimes they absolutely do. I have had plenty of salespeople try to push product on me that their superiors are trying to have them push for obvious reasons.
 
5,192
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
not necessary to respectfully disagree, that's why I asked. I didn't think about that because I set the rules before I let a rep even approach me. Don't try to sell me anything! If they question why, I usually explain to them while dragging them out by their collar thatI will call if want to see different products. Then I'll ask, unless you think you might be more creative than me or know my operation better then myself.

  I only have one rep I let in and that's because I used to work with her before she crashed and burned. I also call to make sure I get switched to a house account so the rep doesn't get to feed off me, especially if I have to take the time to call in my orders. I'm older, so I've witnessed the transition from sales rep. to order takers. Most of the current yahoos can hardly pronounce my name much less my products name.
 
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NP at all. :>)

You're here long enough to know me better.

I don't know what it is, but every time I see your name, I envision a guy on top of an apartment building in NYC. Dressed in Chef's herringbone check pants with a wife beater shirt on.

Driving golf balls in to the night.

Then stopping to go behind the little out-house like building where the door is and checking his on homemade brew set up. So he can start the next stage.
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2011
NP at all. :>)
You're here long enough to know me better.
I don't know what it is, but every time I see your name, I envision a guy on top of an apartment building in NYC. Dressed in Chef's herringbone check pants with a wife beater shirt on.
Driving golf balls in to the night.
Then stopping to go behind the little out-house like building where the door is and checking his on homemade brew set up. So he can start the next stage.

Lol, I'm a little confused, and not sure if that's supposed to be a good image, or a not so good thing. But I guess I'll take it! Lol definitely no checkered/ houndstooth pants for this guy. And I'm in Central Connecticut these days, but not too long ago I was in the city lol. Not on the roof in checks and a beater hitting golf balls though. And I have brewed beer before, but not in a while!
 

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