The problem with today’s major wholesale food distributors is their monopolistic power – and small restaurants’ lack thereof. Often, that power is being abused to squeeze restaurants dry.
Finding an honest wholesale supplier in this environment has become a challenge, especially for small to medium restaurants.
In today’s digital age, companies like Cheetah offer a wide range of items and same-day deliveries, making inventory management that much easier for restaurant operators. More than that, the tech world has ushered in the age of transparency, increased competition and unprecedented access to market data.
With many offering similar services, transparency and quality of service are now the best parameters to judge an honest wholesale supplier.
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The Problem with Major Wholesale Distributors
Big distributors often sell to small restaurants at much higher prices than to large chains. They might also agree to an initial low price just to win your business but then jack up the cost over time – counting on busy restaurant managers not noticing or not having the energy to argue.
This may be driven by a greater bargaining power that large restaurant chains have. But it just may be part of the supplier’s business tactic. What we’ve seen and heard, across the board, is that many major wholesale distributors have a partnership model set up to exploit small restaurants’ lack of resources. This means time, money and information.
The operator of a mom-and-pop restaurant doesn’t always have the purchasing power to negotiate better prices or demand better service. They don’t have time to compare, ask for discounts or continuously make sure that the price has remained competitive, as promised by the sales rep. They definitely do not have the resources to follow up on every invoice, making sure it stays true to the original deal.
Big food distributor broadliners never make their prices public. Small restaurants have limited access to information and they don’t have the time nor the resources to perform market research on every inventory item. Big distributors know this and can unfortunately take advantage.
An Antiquated System in a Modern World
Until Cheetah came to market, the entire wholesale distribution system was still operating on archaic rules, based on an antiquated relationship between restaurant operators and vendors, with constant haggling and stressful negotiations.
The sales reps of big suppliers are specifically hired for their people skills. They are also exceptional salespeople. But they are rewarded for building trust and personal relationships with restaurant management so that when a blind eye is turned, the distributor can overcharge.
As private consumers, we’ve come to expect pristine clarity about pricing and demand a high level of service. We want an enjoyable and smooth purchasing experience, everywhere. And when we encounter service that doesn’t meet our standards, we can simply choose not to be a client of that business.
So why don’t restaurant owners choose more honest wholesale suppliers?
Switching suppliers can be a difficult change, even if it’s for something better. Restaurant operators might be wasting hours wandering around huge food warehouses and scurrying between separate speciality stores. It might be hard for them to believe there’s an easy, transparent and honest alternative.
What an Honest Wholesale Supplier Can Do for Your Business
The most important thing an honest wholesale supplier offers small operators is respect. The foodservice industry needs to recognize that mom-and-pop restaurants constitute the bulk of food businesses and they cannot be exploited anymore.
If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us it’s that family-owned restaurants are the soul of our communities. And for them, having honest business relationships with their supplier is paramount for the success of their restaurant.
For the last 6 years, Cheetah has made customer-centric operational excellence our focus. Being an ethical business isn’t just some lofty value, it is our whole business model. We are The Honest Wholesale Supplier of the Bay Area, which means transparency and quality of service are the cornerstones of everything we do.
Save Time and Money
Thousands of restaurants in the Bay Area are saving hours every week by using the goCheetah app to schedule next-day deliveries from a huge catalog of items. The prices on the app are transparently shown at all times and reflect real market prices – not an arbitrary attempt to increase profit margins. And, of course, we never jack up prices after an order is made.
Cheetah’s Just-In-Time service also saves hours of prep-time ultimately impacting payroll. Restaurants get freshly cut produce and ready to cook seafood, direct from the source, all prepared to the restaurant’s specs. No time wasted on peeling and chopping, no scaling, gutting or filleting.
Notifying You about Price Changes (and Telling You Why!)
As the honest wholesale supplier, we offer a bi-weekly Market Watch program to all Cheetah customers. In it is all the insight you need to make smart decisions based on competitive intelligence, news, and information.
Food prices are in constant inflation, influenced by weather, oil prices and more. This affects your margins but you don’t have time to investigate these constantly changing trends.
Market Watch gives you that information when you need it so you can balance costs and menu prices and make informed decisions for your business.