At Precinct Pizza, we have a solid relationship with
our food vendor. For many years, we purchased about
80% of our food from that one vendor, while still going
to other vendors to get a better deal on this or that item.
We thought that approach saved us money, and it did,
but placing orders with all of these different vendors also
created more work; some of them didn’t offer delivery,
so we had to go out and pick up those items ourselves.
Although we were saving money, it was time-consuming.
About a year ago, I decided this was not the way to run a
pizzeria, especially with my goals for expansion. I went to
my main food vendor with a list of all the items I was get-
ting elsewhere and said, “If you want to continue to receive
my business, you must get these items for me at nearly
the same price I’m paying your competitors.” Because we
were ordering about $15,000 to $20,000 a week from that
vendor at the time, the company was willing to come to
the table and work with me. It agreed to carry almost all
of the items I needed, although some had to be specially
ordered, and the vendor had to cultivate new relationships
with suppliers to get other items. Currently, my vendor
carries about three dozen items that are proprietary to
Once these items were in place, I made sure the pricing
was reasonable for all parties. Remember that your food
vendor is entitled to make a profit, and also keep in mind
that smaller vendors will feel the pinch of a recession
more than the larger food purveyors. Whatever you do,
never go into negotiations and demand to be offered all
items at cost.
Finally, I also negotiated a rebate on all purchases we
made. So, even if I had to pay a little more for some items,
the rebate percentage would more than cover it, essentially reducing the overall costs of my orders and saving
me money in the end. Now, if there is another economic
downturn, I know my relationship with my food vendor
is stronger than ever and, hopefully, I’ve got the plans in
place to keep my costs down!
Rick Drury is owner of Precinct Pizza in Tampa, Florida.
Rick Drury was an emergency responder in New York before moving south and founding his law enforcement-themed pizzeria.
“Remember that your food vendor is entitled to make a profit,
and keep in mind that smaller vendors will feel the pinch of
a recession more than the larger food purveyors.”
—RICK DRURY, PRECINCT PIZZA