Beating the Battle of Rising Food Costs

The rising cost of food and the fuel that is required to transport it has had a big impact on restaurateurs around the country. Everyone is looking for ways to buckle down and trim back without sacrificing the quality of goods and services that is offered. It’s a tricky balance. Fortunately, there are several easy things you can do to help beat the battle of rising food and fuel costs. Here are a few examples:

Use a Purchasing Consultant to Get the Best Vendor Price

With the economy being the way that it is, it only makes sense to shop around for the best deal you can get from vendors. Unfortunately, this task can be quite time consuming. You can spend hours browsing around for the right deal and the task gets more complicated because you still have to keep a hawk’s eye out for hidden price increases from your existing vendors.

Many businesses have found that it is often more cost effective simply to hire a purchasing consultant to do comparison shopping for all controllable costs – everything from your dry goods and china to the food itself. It’s often better to hire a consultant instead of designating a staff member for this task as well, because consultants usually operate on a fixed cost monthly retainer.

Reduce Fuel Surcharges by Storing more Goods

In an effort to combat their own rising costs, many vendors have started adding a fuel charge to delivery orders – usually in the ballpark of $2-$4 per delivery. Over the course of any given year, this can amount to $1000’s of extra dollars. One method of dealing with this is to simply combine your delivery orders into one shipment, so you only pay one fee.

Another method is to create a larger storage space so that you don’t have to order new shipments as often. Of course, you can also always designate a runner to pick up the orders in-house – although that option still has you paying fuel.

Further Reduce Fuel Costs and Pay Less Money to Boot

Another smart strategy that many restaurant owners have begun to employ is to get their goods from local vendors. In many instances, a local vendor will actually be able to provide lower prices – especially if you are able to pay them sooner rather than later. Many vendors operate on a 90 day payment policy. Local vendors will often jump at an offer to receive payment in say…14 days in exchange for giving you a better price on the goods. Plus, the fact that the vendors are nearby often further reduces or even eliminates fuel-related delivery fees and has the added bonus of supporting your local economy, which is good for everyone.

These are just a few of several creative strategies restaurant owners are employing to combat the battle of rising food and fuel costs. There are, of course, many more options that will help you achieve the same goal. The key is to look for creative solutions, reduce, reuse, and to keep a sharp eye on what is working and what needs improvement.

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