One of the investments you may be considering for your restaurant business is a procurement company – and procurement software. A procurement company will help you make sure you are getting the best deals, save you huge amounts of time in tenders, price comparisons, pricing updates and can help you ensure you are getting great service. However, there are still mixed views about procurement companies within the hospitality – and indeed other – sectors. They can sometimes be viewed as disempowering for restaurant owners and chefs, and make you feel like you are losing control of your business. On the contrary, a good procurement company should help you feel like your business is ever more in your control. Let’s look at some of the common issues raised around procurement companies, and why these aren’t in fact issues at all…
It will end up costing me more
On the contrary. Procurement companies have significant purchasing power from their accumulated contracts, so can often negotiate far better prices than any one restaurant or group of restaurants could do. They also usually run regular tenders, to make sure that you are continuously getting the best deal and don’t get stung by prices creeping up.
I will lose my supplier relationships
You won’t. You will just lose the bits you don’t want to do. There is nothing to stop you or your chef calling up the supplier on a daily basis to discuss produce, prices, deliveries etc. But a procurement company can take some of the hassle away – they can help with delivery feedback, generating credit notes, getting replacements – and will even hunt around for alternative products if your baker has failed you on the burger bun delivery!
I will have to change suppliers
A procurement company works for you, not the other way around. If you don’t want to change suppliers, they can’t make you. They will just present the various offers on the table, and leave you to make the final call.
I won’t hear about new products or specials
As long as your supplier knows how to reach you to talk about new products and specials, there is no reason you shouldn’t hear about them! They are still your suppliers, and you are their client. The procurement company helpfully sits in the middle and deals with the of tendering, pricing and the nuts and bolts needed to make things work smoothly.
They will make me use a clunky system
Systems are the future, and hospitality and many other businesses are being more and more automated. This leaves you and your chefs time and headspace to focus on the more interesting and fun aspects of your business. So yes, a procurement company might encourage you to use a system. But it shouldn’t be a clunky one, and once you have got used to it, you will wonder how you ever lived without!
Procurement companies can save you time, money and energy. They will work with you to achieve your goals, be they margin focused, sustainability led, or focused on local supply. Like all good things, they can take some time to set up and bed in, but you should start reaping the rewards pretty quickly!