When running a food service business in today’s economy,
You have to think of your Purveyor as your partner. You need to trust that they have your back when things don’t go your way. You should also remember, however, that they are trying to make a living just like you. With costs rising not just in food, but in labor, supplies etc.; many food service operators can no longer afford to have extra employees. So how do we cut our hours so we can have a successful operation and a personal life?
The first thing you can do is learn how to place your orders online. All food companies have online ordering, but very few of us take advantage of this system. When you order online you don’t have to wait for a sales person to arrive. Yes, I know you can give your order over the phone but that takes time and planning. Think of the convenience of ordering online. For example: You are ready to place your order, you can’t get a hold of your sales person and you want to go home for the day. So you can get your order placed on line and be done with it. I place my orders when I am ready and, on top of that, if I need information I can do the research when I want to. The cool thing about online ordering is that it can be done anywhere: at work, at home, or even if you are away at a conference.
Yes, we are in charge or we own the business; and yes, the purveyor wants our business. But take a moment to step back and think. Buying food isn’t what it was back in the 70’s or 80’s or 90’s. Costs have gone way up and there are no more perks from purveyors. In the past, for example, if you had a Christmas party for you staff purveyors would often provide something to help defray some of the cost. But someone had to pay for those perks and most of the time it was your salesperson. We all have costs, we all want to make money, and so do our purveyors.
Pricing Verses Relationships
Is buying food about pricing or relationships? I have bought items from people I didn’t particularly care for, but I can tell you this, they had the pricing that I needed to make the event work for me. In that case, buying food was about pricing. But sometimes, the relationship with your purveyor can be just as important as the pricing. When was the last time you thanked your sales person for being there for you? Fostering the relationship with your purveyor can ensure excellent service.
What Is Wrong With This Scenario?
I have a friend in the business of selling food. He had been stopping by an establishment to see the person in charge of buying food for some time and finally secured an order. My friend thought that he had a good rapport with the buyer. The day the order was going to arrive, one of the items wasn’t going to be on the truck. My friend called the buyer and told him that he would personally pick up and deliver the missing item later on. When the truck arrived without the item, the buyer returned the entire order without any notification. Now what is wrong with this? Can anyone answer that? This buyer chose to ignore the relationship with the food purveyor.
One more thing. . . Think of the last time you needed something and YOU forget to order it and you couldn’t get it from your local grocery store. You had no choice but to make the phone call and ask for help. If you have a good relationship with your food purveyor, this dilemma will be easy to solve. Don’t forget that your food purveyor is your business partner. It’s all about relationships.