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Top 10 Mistakes Restaurants Make in Their Purchasing Process

    1. Failing to Receive/Request Quotes ahead of the purchase.
    2. One of the simplest questions you can ever ask your supplier is “can you do better?”. Get a price for items you’re buying, and always ask them to do better. You would be surprise on how powerful this one question can be. 
2. Poor Organization and Planning: Set par levels to maximize delivery size and negotiate lower prices.
Waiting until the last minute is never a good idea, especially in a commercial kitchen. Some business are highly seasonal and can change on a dime, but most of us work in fairly stable environments where we can project the use of staple items. No matter what your environment, identify the order cycle for each item in days. Then determine the max and min quantity you would use during that period. Make sure you stay inside of those numbers every time you order. 

3. Failing to establish a daily Budget by estimating sales (note the weather) and keep a log. 
Once you have figured out what your food, beverage, and supply costs should be, it’s a matter of controlling those numbers day in and day out. Keep a log of your sales, separated by food and beverage, and always note conditions that dictate changes in those numbers. Weather, day of the week, holidays, sporting events, etc. Keep it on a calendar and watch the numbers closely. If you are managing a weekly food cost, take a hard look at where you are in the middle of the week so you can adjust as needed.  

4. Misunderstanding your vendor’s Deadlines & Minimums and order accordingly. 

No one likes to miss a deadline. If you do, it often means spending more money that you need to. Set reminders for key deadlines and order ahead as much as possible to avoid this problem.
5. Not using common Measurable Units when comparing prices. 

It seems obvious, but not all cases are the same size and so when comparing prices for like items, be sure to account for the difference in pack size. Find the common denominator for each of the products you are comparing, find the cost for each, then compare. 

6. Failing to consider ALL Costs of an item when comparing. (freight and delivery fees) 

Freight, handling charge, delivery, fuel charge, rental fees, restocking fees, set in place, curb delivery, even Tax. Be sure that you have asked your suppliers for every associated cost when collecting bids, so that you can compare the bottom line. 
7. Failing to Receive Properly; Check products when they arrive (weight, quality, temps, use by/sell by dates). 

One of the most important jobs in any restaurant is proper receiving. A lot can be lost in this process if not done correctly. Everyone makes mistakes, and if orders are not checked in at the time of delivery, there can be a lot of money lost down the drain. You probably spend a good amount of time selecting great companies and managing that relationship. Always do your best to check in the products thoroughly. 

8. Failing to Sign for only what you receive. Best practice is to only sign for what you receive. Perhaps the driver promises to come back later but then get’s rerouted to another location. Be smart and wait until you have it before putting your name on it. 

9. Forgetting to Check Prices against bids. 

A lot of time and effort goes into working out programs for your business. Keep a simply log book and check everything against that log when it is delivered. 


10 Failing to Maintain the cold chain and Rotate. Always check temperatures and put away products quickly

Perishable product can degrade quickly when exposed to extreme heat or cold, even for short periods of time. Be sure to move product quickly through your facility to ensure that temperatures stay where they need to be at all times. 

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