Advice in dealing with Food Distribution Reps

I can see why you shop nickels and dimes in that sort of volume. I’d think that finding a hungry account manager would be simpler. Though, I must admit that it is refreshing to hear that large operations have the same day to day stuff with reps and food service companies that we “little guys” do.

Nick, I am one of the little guys too. My volume is not enough to get structural price concessions of any real value. My understanding is that you need to get to around 4-6 stores and 1 million in food purchases to get any real traction.

Another way of looking at the question is as follows: If your net on sales is 10% (not counting a market wage for yourself) $1 in cost savings is worth $10 in sales. How much time and effort would you put in to get an additional $20,000 in sales? If the same time and effort could save you $2,000 in costs, your time might be better spent on the cost side of the equation… At the very least it bears some thought.

I agree about the hungry rep, but too often, they do not have control of the pricing. The rep controls the last few % points, most of the margin is under the control of the company and the broker reps the sell to them. Using tomato products as an example, your rep may have a dollar to play with, the company he works for might have another dollar. The broker company that sell the tomato product to sysco, US Food etc etc may well have $3. When I get a deal it is often 50 cents from the rep, 50 cents from the company and $1 from the broker for a total of $2. It takes a trip to a food show and some negotiation to get it.