How do I get a better deal with my supplier?

I have been with the same supplier for about 1 year now, and my sales have increased approximately 25% during the year. My orders have been increasing during the year. I am wondering what would be the best way to ask my sales rep if they can lock me in on certain prices. Or if I buy a certain amount of product can I receive a discount. If they say “NO”, or can’t work with me, it’s not a big deal. I feel it’s worth a try however. Any suggestions? How should I approach my sales representative?

I would start with cheese, as prices have been pretty volatile. You would not be locking in a price, but a price over the block market. It is pretty typical to include a lag, something like 23 cents over the block market weekly average price from the week before last. This would allow you to order knowing what cheese will cost you next week and you might decide to order extra if the price will be increasing or to order very tight if next weeks prices will be lower.

The best approach I’ve found is to use a number of different suppliers and let them know that you are pricing items before placing orders. Also, check in at Restaurant Depot if there is one within a reasonable distance.

Pizza 99 has it exactly right. We (single location indy’s) are all small potatoes to these suppliers. They will fill your ear with a lot of hot air about single source pricing. It is all BS. Open an account with another major full line supplier and shop the two of them every week. Don’t bother talking about it with your current supplier until you are up and running with the new one. Then tell them you will be ordering weekly from both and price is how you will decide what item comes from who.

The strategy I have used effectively is doing business with a smaller family owned supplier instead of trying to battle with the big boys. They take good care of us and are in the ballpark pricing wise. This pitting one against another is a waste of time if you can deal fairly with one supplier all the time.

^^ This. It’s amazing how much prices drop where there’s another supplier in the picture. I used to think being loyal to one vendor would reward me, but I was sorely mistaken. When I think of how long I had a single broadline vendor I want to throw up… tens of thousands of dollars flushed down the toilet.

I now shop mercilessly for everything, and I get food and supply items from a total of four vendors. I spend about 2-3 hours per week on procurement, including time spent picking stuff up from a cash and carry. It saves me about $600/wk versus if I bought everything from the mainline vendor.

I think it’s well worth an extra 2-3 hours per week to get a $30,000 raise.

The only problem with chasing the cheap, is that cheese isn’t cheese and mushrooms aren’t mushrooms. (Wow, that sounds totally incoherent) What I mean is the identical cheese, by another maker, can be unacceptable in quality when compared to the slightly higher priced stuff you are used to. If you can get the exact same stuff (maker, date, etc.) then by all means go for the cheaper of the two. But if you are changing brands weekly, chasing the cheap - well, Good Luck!

You have some how convince your supplier that you are loyal to them but are not going pay over market price. Make yourself an expert in pizza commodities. Cheese, Wheat, Pork, Chicken, and let them know you follow those markets. A good online resource to check to see if you are paying a fair price is They carry just about all the higher quality pizza products at a fair market price. If they don’t service you area you might have to fiddle with the zip code to get it to work for you.

Keep in mind that they need to make money too. We all know as pizza operators that there are customers out there that are only happy if we are losing money on their order. Don’t be one of those customers and you’ll get a lot more co-operation from your supplier.

Not sure if mushrooms are mushrooms… But onions are onions lol! Also, I can buy a lot of identical items from both of our suppliers and the prices are NOT the same from week to week. I am with Piper, I save thousands shopping between two suppliers. With regard to cheese, I have identified a product from each of them that I like and I buy from whoever has the price. The two companies react at different times to changes in the market so sometimes I have seen differences as high as 15 or even 20 cents a pound on cheese (usually they are within 5 cents of each other). No way I can afford to ignore those kinds of savings.