Any tips for negotiating prices with suppliers?

We are a small 6 store chain, meeting with our supplier to talk pricing on cheese. We currently are
using a “block market plus” method but they have informed us that they must increase their margin. What leverage,
beside threatening, can we use. Any suggestions would be appreciated!


Sit down with the competition (i.e. USFoods, Sysco, Roma) and have your pricing sheet from your current supplier in hand. Be upfront and honest with them and let them know you don’t want to switch but you might have to and, if you do switch, can they beat these prices. Also let each supplier know you’ll be talking to other suppliers about your same problem. Once this is done, go to your current supplier and tell them the same thing, “I’m thinking about switching suppliers. Not that I’m not happy with your service, but because I’ve got to earn a living. I’ve talked to the other food companies and they’re giving me the following prices (and then show them the pricing of the lowest bidder). I really want to keep our relationship but we need to adjust the pricing to continue this relationship”.

That should fix things one way or another.


put your business out for bid but I think it is unethical to show them each others prices. I have three stores and am going through the same deal. I put mine out for bid each year. I consider more then just price but of course it is very important. I currently have one supplier who is offering me 15k as a signing bonus to switch so with mutiple stores they will chase your business. Good Luck.

Put your list together. Give it to various suppliers. Buy from two suppliers and compare prices on the wole list every week. There is no reason at all to buy everything from one place.


I have seen two increases recently totaling 7 cents. I used to be block plus .17 for Sorrento whole milk block now it is plus .24. I use about a 1000 pounds a week and am not very happy about it. I would love to know what you and other users are at.


who is your supplier?
in all respect I guess it makes no difference who your supplier is - the manufacturers are increasing their premiums due to the cost of the raw materials to make the cheese - ie - casein,whey,non fat dry milk,fuel to run their plant,fuel to deliver the cheeses to your supplier and on and on

1000# of cheese is a lot of cheese weekly - I would hope your supplier is treating you well
good luck


Like I said they are at block plus .24 right now. Both suppliers. One is US Foods the other is local. They run off different weeks though so I am able to take advantage of that. Generally I think we are treated well but I would like to know where other guys are at.


do you buy in BIG then on a substantial down market?

We really have timed the market right this year. We will buy up to six weeks worth of cheese and freeze it. Right now we have barely enough, waiting to see how the week starts out. Also, all the people that said you couldn’t freeze cheese were wrong. We tried it with just a few cases one week and had no problems. The next week we got 150 cases and have been doing it abut a year now. It does su*k when that bill is due but it takes money to make money.


u freeze cheese and see no difference in melt,texture,bit,taste etc?
block cheese or shred/dice ?