food Cost

so a quick look over my invoices shows that sausage has gone up 6 dollars a case of 20lb, cheese 20 dollars a case and pepperoni has gone up roughly 6.00 as well bacon is moved higher and such, I have been utilizing the one supplier better cost program but I think with the way things are I am going to have to shop my prices, I know I am an “a” account so shouldnt be hard to get better prices, anyone else in this boat

We recently switched from Roma to Sofo as our main supplier to save on food costs. The problem with changing suppliers might be finding equivalent meats and cheese so you can serve your customers a consistent product.


I know there are those who do not agree… but in my opinion, the single supplier “best price” story is a con job. Get a second supplier and compare prices. The reps are under the gun to produce the best margin possible for each account they sell to and you being a sole source customer does not change this.

Having seen the margin performance list for the customers in our town from one vendor, I can tell you absolutly, that the sole source customers were NOT at the low end of the margin scale! The district manager showed me the list when he was complaining that they did not make enough margin on my business due to my price shopping. He actually stopped talking and laughed out loud at that point and stated that he realized how silly that sounded and that it was not my problem. We parted with the understanding that I would buy the products they could supply with the best prices and that I would reduce my orders to once per week where possible to help them save delivery/order handling costs. Since that time, they have come up products that we now buy from them by working with the brokers to get better pricing and we are both happy.

There are a lot of moving parts in the pricing of the things we buy. Pepperoni comes from a manfacurer, through a broker to the distributor before it comes to you. Each of those entities can change the price. There is a good chance the same pepperoni is available from more than one distributor and if, not another one just as good can be purchased. Tell them to sharpen the pencil!

If the vendor is providing you an extra service that is worth paying more for, so be it… but being nice to me, delivering what I order and solving the occasional problem is not an EXTRA service… it is just the bare minumum.

Yes, there will be a handful of items that you can not duplicate or replace, but they are surprisingly few. After all, onions are onions.

One of the keys to doing this is that you have to watch the prices every week. Just stay professional about it. Explain that your interests as a business person are to do as well as possible on your costs and that if a vendor has your best interests in mind (they LOVE to talk about partnership don’t they?) that they will help you do this.

If you really want to twist the food vendor’s head around when you talk to them about adding a second supplier and they start talking about loyalty, service and best price… tell them that:

Restaurants that manage food cost effectively by shopping price are better customers. The reason for this that by saving $$ on food they are more profitable. More profitable businesses have more resources for marketing to grow the business, are better credit risks and tend to stay in business longer. All good things from the point of view of the vendor. i.e. they should support this new direction. Now, if they want more business from you, they know what to do! Sharpen the pencil!

Hello everyone,

we currently go through two vendors (ROMA & SOFO). We try to price shop between the two but getting them to send weekly price sheets is next to impossible. Is that asking too much of them?

bodegahwy: do you have your suppliers send you weekly price sheets? How do you do your price shopping?


Steve, Having been large enough to be able to deal directly with other mfg’s and bypass distributors for 90% of our goods was a benefit. The other 10% was more like clean up your finger paints than sharpen your pencils! Even when dealing with these guys on a semi-load basis you still had to watch every single order. The one you just sign off on…there’s the price jump! They were also great at trying to “highlight” the great deal they just gave you on “xyz” while trying to hide the fact that “abc” just went up 50%! :shock:

I’ll echo Bodegahwy’s opinion. I heard Bill Marvin tout the prime vendor theory in Vegas and thought I’d give it a try. No way is it cost effective. We order Cheese and Produce from one local vendor, a small amount of items from US Foods, and weekly we fax in a pick-sheet to Restaurant Depot and pick it up.

When I went to US Foods to discuss prime vendor pricing, I took their best price and compared it to Restaurant Depot - 18% higher to go with US Foods. We drop 1000-1200 at RD every week so thats about $600 per month or more. There really is no “hassle” with restaurant depot. We fax the order, they pull it, they load it. We tip $10 and the entire process takes about an hour.

I wish they carried Grande - last week $93 a case!!!

I just don’t see how it makes sense to not shop around…

do you have your suppliers send you weekly price sheets? How do you do your price shopping?

We use two main suppliers and a third for only our pizza sausage, cheese, and our 7/11’s. The main suppliers both offer me real-time inventory and pricing online. I don’t know that I would use a supplier that hasn’t given me that ability.

Yes, we get a price list every week from our suppliers. Our reps email it to the manager on Sundays. When they don’t send it, we don’t order from them. They figured it out pretty quickly after that.

So Evco is trying to earn my business and I would LOVE to go to a single supplier if it made sense. But I just compared about 30% of my market basket evco v. Restaurant Depot. Here are the first 10 examples:

Evco/RD (I rounded for convenience of this forum)

Artichoke Hearts 64/49
togo Parm 23/13
Velveeta - 109/80
Olives - 43/29
Pie Filling 62/38
16" boxes 31/25
Franks Wing Sauce 59/40
Oregano 48/20
Crushed Red Pepper 24/13
Yeast 57/38

On some items I had to do conversions so if you have questions about package size, let me know.

I have yet to find any items where Evco is cheaper than RD (at least by more than a few cents) and on many items they are WAAAAY more expensive.

So for those who don’t shop around, think again. We are not saving pennies, we are saving substantially…


By all means shop around. We use mostly use GFS and Roma, as well as Crem Flora and Cheney Brothers, 2 different local produce companies, and a small distributor for fresh chicken and veal. It gets to be a hassle sometimes, but as soon as I see something go up I switch. Grande cheese is always cheapest from GFS for some reason…

EVCO is very regional and I think they focus more on schools and cafeterias. Their warehouse is 4 blocks from my store and I used them exclusively for a few months until the RD opened in your area. A case of mushrooms, a case of green peppers, a case of tomatoes and a pound of fresh basil covers the expense of driving there and back. Throw in paper goods, dry goods and a handfull of things from the Lenexa Sam’s and my 4 hour round trip every week saves me thousands every year.