Category: Blog

Solutions to Get Ahead of Cold and Flu Season

In partnership with Georgia Pacific

When you aren’t sanitizing your operation properly, there’s no point in having guests dine at your restaurant. Why would they choose your operation over your competitors who use high-quality products and solutions to clean their restaurant?

Ensuring the ultimate surface sanitation demonstrates your commitment to the safety of your staff and guests. Your customers will notice the steps you are taking to provide a clean environment. Remember, the level of effort you put into your sanitation is a direct reflection of your business.

Let’s take a look at two solutions from Georgia Pacific that can help you maximize sanitation and get ahead of cold and flu season.

Dixie Ultra™ Service System

Is your operation using the old “rag and bucket” cleaning system to sanitize tables and clean high touch point surfaces? If they are, did you know that you could be decreasing the sanitizer strength by 50%-70%? At this point, you really aren’t sanitizing your operation because you’re leaving behind germs and noroviruses. Time to enter a new era of surface sanitizing with the Dixie Ultra™ Service System. With a tight fitting dispenser lid, you can virtually eliminate the risk of spills, splashes, sprays, and vapors common with that open bucket and spray bottle your staff is currently using. Even better is their one-at-a-time dispensing mechanism that helps conserve wipes, allowing sanitizer concentration to last longer and less frequent solution changes.

Dixie Ultra SmartStock® Tri-Tower Cutlery System

Are your customers taking handfuls of utensils? Is your staff having to clean up un-used and now contaminated cutlery because customers over-grabbed? Your self-service station can be a common ground for germs. When you don’t have automatic dispensers for your cutlery, you risk customers touching more than just their own fork and knife.

Take control of your cutlery and help prevent the spread of germs with the Dixie Ultra SmartStock® Tri-Tower Cutlery System. Not only does it improve hygiene with its touchless automatic dispensing, it reduces load time too. With a fully enclosed dispenser, stocking up utensils is hygienic and easier than ever. The SmartStock® Tri-Tower dispenser holds up to 390 utensils so restocking happens less frequently.

No buttons or levers to push, Dixie Ultra SmartStock® Tri-Tower Cutlery System helps prevent contamination as patrons only touch the utensils they need.

Save on Sanitation Solutions as a Consolidated Concepts Member

As a member of Consolidated Concepts, you get access to exclusive savings and discounts on high-quality products and solutions to ensure your operation is a clean and safe environment. Our 350+ contracts offer pricing and rebates combined with our innovative technology to optimize savings and profitability for our clients. Our rebate and cost contracts are geared toward the products and deals that are most important to multi-unit operators.

Not a Consolidated Concepts member? No problem! Contact our experts today to start saving!

What Are Rebates and Deviations?

Are you taking advantage of rebates and deviations?

Making a profit is not always the main motive for opening a restaurant. It’s also about having a true passion for cooking and hospitality. Usually, the latter is behind the drive and motivation to open a restaurant.

But when you’re running a multi-unit chain operation, making a profit moves to the top of the list.

Restaurants are already running on thin margins.

Anywhere you can save money is vital to your bottom line. As a multi-unit restaurant operator, taking advantage of rebates and deviations should be a no brainer.

What are manufacturer rebates?

Rebates are marketing funds used by manufacturers as an incentive to build customer loyalty and improve sales.

Rebates are earned by the operator based on their purchases of the manufacturer’s products. 

Manufacturer rebates are dollars paid out quarterly to customers based on their purchases.

Any purchase on an item that is covered on a Consolidated Concepts contract, our team will track and pay back to operators.

What are deviations?

Deviations are off-invoice savings on items you are already buying.

Consolidated Concepts is able to leverage the spend of all our customers and offer competitive pricing on food and nonfood items from our partner manufacturers.

Our team will always do a deep dive into your current spend to make contract recommendations based on your current data, with the end goal of lowering your off invoice spend.

Why should I care about manufacturer rebates?

These rebates are provided on items you are already purchasing, so, it’s simply extra money in your account without any extra work.

You can use these funds in any way to help your operation– staff training, marketing dollars, employee incentives.

This means you can focus on your COP and contracted items– and you can still earn dollars back on everything else through our program without changing products.

How do I track manufacturer rebates?

Every quarter, Consolidated Concepts will provide operators with “proof of purchase” to the manufacturer and collect the rebates earned by the operator.

Every quarter, we will provide a breakdown of your manufacturer rebate check to you.

Partner with Consolidated Concepts

Consolidated Concepts has rebate and deviation contracts with over 350 manufacturers on over 165,000 line items that cover every category imaginable.

From canned tomatoes and frozen chicken breasts to garbage bags and plastic forks – you name it, we have it covered.

Contact us today to learn more!

Streamline Contract Management with the Help of Technology

When you own more than one restaurant location, you’re bound to wear more than one hat. Think of all the contracts that go along with managing each of those locations. From Master Distribution Agreements and Manufacturer Contracts – the art of negotiating and managing these documents is truly one in its own.

It’s 2021 and its time to welcome a new player to your team – technology.

This team player is great at multitasking. They don’t complain, they don’t require a weekly paycheck, and they don’t need hand holding or constant reminders about what they’re supposed to be doing. Their results are instant, actionable and profitable.

No More Doing it the Hard Way

By using technology for things like contract approval workflows, edits, audits and signatures, implementation becomes easier and less time consuming. Businesses who adopt contract management technology are able to streamline the contract lifecycle into an automated workflow minimizing errors and maximizing profits.

Having to manually manage each contract step by step leaves room for errors or inaccuracies. Using technology ensures contracts are routed to the correct person and increases visibility and accountability. Contract management technology allows stakeholders more insight into the performance of a contract so they can make quicker more accurate business decisions.  

Secure Your Contracts in One Centralized Location

No more filing cabinets organized alphabetically. This isn’t the library, and you don’t have the time to go searching A through Z. Having your contracts securely centralized in one location helps you stay in control of contract chaos and allows for a more efficient contract management process.

The goal is to stay in control of each of your locations bottom line. Technology allows you to store all you contracts safely in one place and minimizes risk that goes along with contract management.

Contract Management Technology Solutions

At Consolidated Concepts, we can help multi-unit restaurants like yours save money on your contracts such as your MDA – your most important contract. We have former Presidents from distribution houses on our staff who lend their expertise to analyze your contracts, find areas where there may be new places for savings and help renegotiate your contract with your distributors. We do everything we can to make your contracts work in your favor.

It’s time to optimize your savings and limit the amount of increases in costs and changes in structure which ultimately result in more profitability for your business. You can even put our experts to the test by sending over your current contracts and having them analyzed.

Ready to streamline the contract management process and go from manual to automated? Contact us today!

Full-Service Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is more than a one-person job. Especially for operators with multiple locations, doing it all manually can be stressful and time-consuming.

These days, restaurants are looking to run lean and reduce their overhead amidst a nation-wide staffing crisis. Others may be having trouble staffing full departments. How can an operator manage their supply chain projects without the staff to support them?

More and more operators are turning to full-service supply chain management solutions to minimize their costs and maximize their profits.

At Consolidated Concepts, our service offerings are fully customizable to provide the appropriate level of consultation and support required by each client.

Let’s look at three areas where we offer expertise to help you streamline your supply chain management and meet your resource needs:

Spend Intelligence and Insights into Your Business

Our data and technology are designed to identify areas where emerging, growing, and established restaurants can unlock additional opportunities to save money and boost profitability.

Consolidated Concepts’ clients have access to the most advanced food procurement and spend management tools in the industry. Client dashboards provide in-depth information into purchasing trends, commodity pricing, category-level breakdowns, rebate management, overcharges, location-level spending and more.

Contract Management

Technology has become a convenient way to automate your contract management and ensure price corrections are quickly resolved. By utilizing technology to manage your contracts, you get access to key  agreement insights that improve business decisions and ensure maximizes value.

Our technology monitors every line item that our clients purchase for contract compliance. Through digital reports to distributors and electronic invoice auditing, credits and price corrections are quickly resolved to fully maximize the value of all your negotiated contracts.

Produce Management

Produce management programs offer a wide variety of benefits to multi-unit restaurants. One major benefit for operators is full visibility throughout the produce process. Knowing the answer to questions such as where did the produce you purchased come from, who handled the produce, what safety measures were taken during the handling, and what route did the produce travel to get to your operation, are all vital for the protection of both your customers and your operation.

Working with produce experts ensures each item that comes through your doors meets the exact needs of your operation. Our expertly Managed Produce Program focuses on improving clients’ food programs’ quality, safety, and traceability.

Operators can fully outsource their sourcing and supply chain projects to our team of experts who can perform various functions such as product sourcing, contract negotiation, managing overcharges, managing inventory, looking for new distributor contracts and product specs, and more.

Talk to our experts about what sourcing projects you’re working on now and let’s find out how we can add our value and our expertise to your team.

Save Staff Time and Keep Guests Safe with Tork Xpressnap Fit

In partnership with Tork

Reopening your operation these days is more than just ordering fresh inventory and investing in an Open sign. Now, you must take into consideration things like having less staff on hand, guest hygiene expectations and maintaining cleaner workstations.

As more people begin eating away from home in restaurants and at work, arm your operation with cost-effective safe solutions for your guests.

Let’s take a look at how using Tork Xpressnap Fit® napkin dispensers can reduce labor, save on space, promote a safe environment, and cut unused napkins thrown away by more than 50%*.

So Many Napkins, Too Many Hands!

With 67% of customers at a full-service restaurant preferring to receive their napkins via an enclosed dispenser on the table vs. restaurant staff bringing napkins to the table**, having the option for one-at-a-time dispensing can make or break a successful dining experience.

By using solutions like Tork Xpressnap, napkins are hygienically protected within a dispenser, providing a dry environment which is unsuitable for viral survival. So, napkins provided in dispensers should not give rise to concern regarding germ transmission. Even better, guests only touch the napkin they take.

You’re probably wondering what about before they make it into the dispenser? How are they kept safe and secure from germs? Fortunately, Tork is one step ahead. Xpressnap napkin bundles are individually wrapped for protection for improved hygiene and handling.

Less Staff? Reduce Labor!

No more wasted napkins. Is your staff spending too much time cleaning up unused napkins at your self-service station? Do customers grab a bunch of napkins at once time leaving a trail of unused ones along the way? Using one-at-a-time dispensers such as Tork Xpressnap can save time and reduce maintenance.

No more running out of napkins during peak business hours. Xpressnap Fit uses compressed napkin refills enabling the dispenser to hold more napkins and reducing storage requirements.. Each dispenser includes a level indicator that shows your staff when it’s time to refill so your guests always have access to the napkins they need. Even better? Each dispenser serves almost 2 times as many guests between those refills*.

Limited Space? No problem!

Are your current napkin dispensers taking up too much space in your operation? They can be such an eye sore. The Tork Xpressnap compact napkin dispensers for both tabletops and countertops is the perfect fit. They even cut napkin storage by up to 50%*. Their space saving fold serves a full-size napkin in a small footprint dispenser. Talk about good things coming in small packages.

More Brand Awareness? Promote Your Business!

The Tork Xpressnap customized display windows can be used as a promotional tool for your operation and increases your brand awareness. Thank your customers, add a QR code for your menu, share your hygiene protocols, feature carry-out and delivery options and highlight new menu items. Use the display panels on your new dispensers to boost your business.

Tork Has the Solution for You With Tork Xpressnap!

Ideal for limited-service restaurants that offer napkins at a table or a central location and for outdoor seating, Tork Xpressnap dispensers improve hygiene, reduce napkin consumption, and save on space.

Even better? Consolidated Concepts members get exclusive savings and discounts on this safe and secure solution.  Contact us today to learn more!

Interested in learning more? Submit the form below and a member of our team will reach out.

Securing Good Hygiene in Every Area of Your Operation

In partnership with Essity

Whether you offer takeout, delivery, or drive thru, securing good hygiene at every stage from kitchen to customer is now more important than ever. In fact, a recent survey from Essity found 60% of consumers have higher expectations of restaurant hygiene1.

With the right tips and solutions, you can implement best practices in all areas of your operation to show your commitment to good hygiene.

From the pick-up window to the drive thru, supply your staff and stock up your high touch point restaurant areas with safe appropriate hygiene products.

Enforce Good Staff Hygiene

As an operator, your goal is to create a safe environment for everyone who walks through your doors. Consider your kitchen staff to be front line workers. A kitchen needs to be clean and organized in terms of placement, traceability, and people – not only to ensure sanitary demands but also to create a good workflow.

Enforcing hand hygiene routines, investing in handwashing stations, and making sure your staff cleans systematically can help secure employee hygiene standards. Your staff should have a clear understanding of how and when to wash their hands to reduce interruptions in serving customers and ensure compliance. Utilize posters to remind them of handwashing best practices and equip their workspace with the right hygiene solutions.

Secure Takeout Bags and Pick-Up Areas

Handling take-out packages with care, providing guests hygiene products with their to-go order, adding a personalized note letting them know you’re taking every precaution for their safety, and using tamper-proof packaging are all ways you can safely secure your takeout and to-go bags.

According to Datassential, 60% of consumers would feel comfortable if offered disinfectant wipers or sanitizer to use themselves. Arming your takeout bags with napkins, wipes, and other appropriate hygiene products is important – especially for drive thru orders and diners on the go.

Pick-up areas attract a lot of traffic with several high-touch points. Not only should you include appropriate hygiene products in takeout bags, but you should also be visibly wiping down high-touch areas where food is handed over. This shows guests they are in a safe hygienic environment.

Arm Delivery Staff with the Right Tools

Using tamper-proof packaging is key in delivery services. Providing that extra step in safety gives customers the confidence that their food went straight from the kitchen to their house.

It’s not only about the packaging. Make sure your delivery staff practices good hygiene at every step until the delivery is complete by offering deliver drivers sanitizers, wipes, and facemasks.

Posters in key areas with instructions on how staff should wash their hands, encouraging employees to practice good hygiene, and separating takeout zones from pick-up zones all reassure guests that you take hygiene seriously and are practice social distancing.

Tork Has Solutions to Help

Tork understands the challenges of securing off-premise hygiene and can help restaurants to keep it top of mind.

From soaps, sanitizers, and touch-free napkin and towel dispensers to surface wiping solutions – Tork offers products and expertise that can support restaurants in their drive to improve off-premise hygiene, ensuring a safer guest experience.

Highly visible hygiene products reassure guests that their safety is paramount, while custom print items such as Tork paper napkins can help keep a brand top-of-mind.

Best-in-class hygiene, with well-placed hand hygiene and surface cleaning products, can also contribute to better organized kitchens, more motivated staff, and improved workflow.

As a Consolidated Concepts client, you can get access to savings on Tork products and solutions like these every day! Contact us today!


  1. Essity 2020-2021 Essentials initiative survey on Covid-19

Interested in learning more? Submit the form below and a member of our team will reach out.

Reduce Food Costs and Increase Orders with Potatoes

Foodservice operators are looking for quick cost-effective solutions to support takeout and delivery and reduce food costs. Potatoes are versatile and can be used in many ways. They can complement breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and keep customers coming back for more. No matter if your customers are meat eaters or plant-based only, the potato can be the answer to your menu prayers.

Here are some key insights into the potato, ways operators can incorporate them into their menus to reduce food costs and stay relevant with potato trends.

Reduce Food Costs With These Potato Trends

According to Technomic, 45% of overall consumers prefer vegetable-based meals as their protein substitute. With potatoes being a vegetable, they make for a great protein replacement in recipes. A medium 5.3 oz potato with skin provides 3 grams of plant-based protein – which exceeds that of all other commonly consumed vegetables, except dried beans.

The foodservice industry has been moving toward new varieties of potatoes for several years. Potato trends like small reds and yellows have been gracing menus as side dish options. Sweet potatoes can also be a fun choice to incorporate into your recipes. They are adaptable to any restaurant menu, nutrient dense and very affordable. Try using them in dishes such as wraps, pizza crust, “toast” and butter. Stand out from your competition by creating your own signature potato chip by using different varieties of potatoes.

Even as restaurants continue to welcome customers back into their dining rooms, strict capacity guidelines and limited seating are ensuring that delivery and takeout options remain high priority. As such, operators are looking for ingredients that help them to get orders out quickly without sacrificing quality or freshness. By using products such as fresh-dried Idahoan mashed potatoes, hash browns or appetizers, operators can create new and unique dishes  that taste great and travel well, allowing them to deliver what customers are craving without any added hiccups.

Brands such as Idahoan give customers that homemade potato taste they are looking for. Today’s diners want food that’s as good for the planet as it is for their health—with clean ingredients, sustainable origins, and, of course, amazing flavor. As kitchens pivot to meet rising expectations, many are realizing that Idahoan fresh-dried potatoes are as sustainable as they are delicious—and they have been all along.

When is the best time of year to purchase potatoes?

Given the vast number of varieties and growing regions, there are good supplies of potatoes all year, but some months are better than others for specific varieties. You can feature potatoes all year long and take advantage of featuring specific varieties when they are at their peak of health and availability. July and early-August can be challenging for the Russets as they typically are showing their age and when combined with summer heat and humidity they tend to breakdown easy.

Are there different types of potatoes?

There are over 200 varieties sold in the United States alone!  

What is the best temperature or best practice for storing potatoes?

In general, a cool area of dry storage with low humidity and good ventilation is best. Best temperature to store potatoes is 44 to 47 degrees. Colder temperatures will cause the potatoes to lose significant starch and will affect the cooking quality. Also, keep potatoes away from the lights. Keeping potatoes in the dark can help prevent greening and sprouting.

Does the pricing of potatoes change with the different seasons?

Potato prices change weekly. If you are not contracted on a product then you’re subject to the market on any given week. Varieties of potatoes change throughout the year as well. For example, Norkotah’s don’t store as long as Burbank’s so during harvest in October and November you may see both for sale. After January, supplies will move to mostly Norkotah’s. Then in May, Burbanks shift back to Burbank’s for the latter part of the season to finish up.

Potato prices appear to be trending low for the remaining year, according to produce program experts at Fresh Concepts. You can keep costs low and sales high by utilizing potatoes throughout your menu.

Where are potatoes grown?

Different varieties grow in each state. Leading US commercial production states are Idaho, Washington, Wisconsin, Oregon, Colorado, North Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota, Maine, California, and Florida as well as many others to a lesser extent. Prince Edward Island is the largest producer of potatoes in Canada, followed by Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Alberta.

Mashed, crushed, baked, or speed-scratched, potatoes are a flexible ingredient and are a great addition to any menu. Looking to add potatoes to your menu? Contact Consolidated Concepts today and find out how your operation can save on potatoes!

Interested in learning more? Submit the form below and a member of our team will reach out.

Anonymous Objections to GPO’s

Not only is the purpose of a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) to provide operators with access to pre-negotiated contracts designed to save them time and money, but also to streamline operations and optimize sourcing strategies.

Too good to be true? It’s true!

We hear objections and questions about GPOs all the time and love to dispel rumors about what it is that a GPO like Consolidated Concepts is really capable of. 

Let’s review some common objections about GPO’s and how we usually set them straight:

GPO Programs Rarely Return Increased Profitability

One objection to joining a GPO is that the program rarely returns increased profitability because it’s assumed a GPO only focuses on purchase based management of a restaurants cash flow. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

A Group Purchasing Organization, such as Consolidated Concepts, encourages restaurants to utilize programs throughout a suite of services that help them get a handle on areas such as food cost management, cost of goods sold, master distribution agreements, inventory management practices, sku rationalization, menu engineering, portioning, fixed cost reduction, and more.

The easiest place for most restaurants to start is with a cash back GPO program that helps reduce their spend and put some money back into their bottom line. From there, GPO’s can help their clients dig into their purchasing data and address some of the more nuanced factors that contribute to their profitability.

You Have to Sacrifice Quality for Price

Another objection about joining a GPO is that operators must sacrifice the quality of their menu items or products to decrease their spend. Just because something is less expensive, or you get a better deal on it doesn’t mean the quality is any less.

It’s never encouraged to sacrifice quality for the sake of price. Contracts through GPO’s like Consolidated Concepts cover over 165k items ranging from premium to value options. So many restaurants are rightly focused on driving sales and top line revenue; a GPO seeks to help them grow more successful by taking a closer look at the cost side of the equation. For example, joining a produce management program can help operators improve the quality, safety and traceability of their food programs.

Today’s consumer, when choosing to spend dollars on foodservice, will not sacrifice their expectations of high quality. And they shouldn’t have to.

GPO’s Only Care About Costs Not Operational Behaviors

True sustainable growth does not only come from how much you save. 

It doesn’t matter if you are paying less for your supplies. If you are not aware of over portioning and are poorly prepared you cannot run a successful operation. The right GPO helps you focus on all these areas of your operation including inventory, food waste, portioning, plate costing and above all, top line sales management.

All these areas can be more profitable behaviors along with staff training, guest management, menu flow and mix and projected food cost expectations for what is being sold.

Group Purchasing Organizations such as Consolidated Concepts, do just that. By becoming a Consolidated Concepts member, restaurant operators earn cash back for free on rebate line items their restaurant purchases every day and gets access to resources that streamline their operation.

Contact Consolidated Concepts today to start leveraging our buying power, category specialists and broadline/negotiation expertise. Utilize our contracts, partners, experts and technology to reduce costs, improve quality, streamline the supply chain and gain valuable business insights.

Solutions for Restaurant Disposables

It’s normally business in the front and party in the back when it comes to a haircut. But this isn’t a mullet and a pandemic is not a party we want to attend ever again. Nowadays, it’s more like business in the back-of-house while customers party at home. And the quality of your restaurant disposables can mean the difference of your customers enjoying that party at home or not.

Takeout and delivery are front and center for everyone in the restaurant industry right now – including customers. The food delivery services market was already growing prior to the pandemic. According to Hoffmaster, in 2019 the market was measured at $107.44 billion dollars and by 2023 it is expected to skyrocket to $154.34 billion dollars. It’s only accelerating and clearly not going away.

While 76% of consumers say a restaurants cleanliness and food safety will matter more after COVID-19, 75% of consumers say they would never visit or return to a restaurant that has been involved in a food safety incident.

With fewer touch points in the dining experience, orders are now handed through a window, dropped on a doorstep or picked up by a customer. Food is now going from the kitchen to the customer. Fewer touch points mean less contamination – which makes customers feel safer which is pretty important right now.

Let’s look at some solutions in the restaurant disosables category that are perfect for operators focused on take-out and delivery.

Convenience is a Big Factor

You get great quality food in the company of your own home. Consumers are looking for more takeout experiences right now that are safe and level up to more of a dine-in experience. Because less customers are coming into your operation, you need them to take that order home and feel like they are still getting some of the perks and fun experiences that they get when they dine-in. You want to send them home with a full experience – not just a meal.

Durable Packaging is Necessary

Customers don’t want to get a steak in a Styrofoam package. That does not send a good message. As an operator, you must think about other areas such as is your customer going to be reheating the meal when they get home? Will the food arrive fresh? You want a more higher end premium container that can be microwaved. You need packaging that holds well, doesn’t crack, and can make it through the reheating process. Products such as Hoffmaster’s Earthwise Takeout Containers, are durable, microwavable, and highly renewable. They are derived from Bagasse, the byproduct of sugarcane production. Talk about eco-friendly!

Safety is Key

More and more customers are using third party delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats. By using tamper-resistant products, you can provide a sense of relief to your hungry customers. It can be as simple as using Hoffmaster’s Peel and Seal Band. Customers feel safe because they can see the Peel and Seal Band is not torn and they know it went straight from the kitchen to their house and they can eat their food and feel confident that they’re safe.

Tamper-proof doesn’t only refer to containers. You can’t eat most food without a fork, knife or a spoon. A lot of times in the past, restaurant staff would just throw cutlery into the bag. It’s time to up the experience and think about the contamination factor there now with the pandemic. Customers want to know that their cutlery was thought of. Using Individually Wrapped Caterwrap cutlery sets can help the customer feel like they are eating at your restaurant and provides an extra layer of reassurance. Not only do you have a napkin wrapped around the cutlery, but you also have the plastic wrap.

From restaurants to healthcare facilities and schools, Hoffmaster’s broad product portfolio is found across a multitude of industries. Complete restaurant disposables foodservice leader in the industry, Hoffmaster products support many different occasions in the industry from in-house dining, eating, catering and to-go.

  • Caterwrap
  • Placemats
  • Napkins
  • Eco products
  • Bakery
  • Cutlery
  • Table Covers
  • Paper straws

To learn how your operation can save on restaurant disposables brands such as Hoffmaster, contact Consolidated Concepts today!

Interested in learning more? Submit the form below and a member of our team will reach out.

What Operators Need to Know About Their Master Distribution Agreement

A food and beverage procurement strategy usually centers around a Master Distribution Agreement (MDA). These contracts are central to managing costs and quality and enable the operator to focus on running the restaurant rather than tracking price fluctuations and bidding products.

What Is a Master Distribution Agreement?

As a one-stop-shop for restaurants, broadline distributors offer thousands of products, sometimes as many as 15,000. The immense size of their sales and volume of goods means that they can offer their clients volume discounts and pricing incentives.

Specialty suppliers, on the other hand, represent a limited number of product lines and operate within a particular industry niche. They often specialize in hard-to-find items or locally sourced products.

So, where does the Master Distribution Agreement fit into this distribution scheme?

A Master Distribution Agreement (MDA) is an agreement between an operator and their main broadline distributor. These broadline distributors function as the go-between for foodservice operatorsand the food manufacturers. A typical MDA requires at least 80% of a restaurant’s purchases to be made from the broadline distributor.

Without this important contract, operators are missing out on locking in pricing terms and avoiding extreme cost swings.

How Do Operators Get the Most Out of a MDA?

Like any contract, details found within these agreements can weigh in favor of the distributor or the operator. Operators should pay attention to the following points to ensure the agreement is fair and works to their benefit.

  • Does your MDA allow for termination for cause and termination for convenience? In order to keep out of courts and arbitration, this clause is vital. Should an operator decide the partnership is not working out, this condition allows them to serve a 60-day notice of termination.
  • Does your MDA contain fuel surcharges? Fuel surcharges allow distributors to increase prices based on fuel costs. If diesel raises to a certain strike point, the distributor then raises the price on a per-case basis or on the total invoice. These surcharges should be removed or raised to such a point that they will not be implemented.
  • Does your MDA contain an automatic renewal clause? An automatic renewal clause means that, if a distributor is not notified 180 days before the yearly termination of the contract, the MDA is automatically renewed. The operator misses out on the opportunity to renegotiate and may accrue increased fees they are unaware of.
  • Does your contract stipulate when the MDA may be audited, or does it carry an open audit clause? Retaining your rights to regularly audit costs and obtain manufacturer’s paid invoices keeps a distributor “honest.” It’s also important to ensure that these audits may be performed by either an outside party or the operator. Don’t lose this right in your MDA.
  • Does your MDA contain a drop incentive agreement? It is more efficient and less costly for a distributor to drop a larger load than a smaller one. Your costs should go down as well. Make sure your MDA contains an agreement that your product mark-up goes down as drop sizes increase.
  • Does your MDA allow you to release data to a third party or group purchasing organization (GPO)? By releasing data to a GPO, operators receive manufacturer volume allowance funds.

Why Should Restaurant Operators Pay Attention to Their Master Distribution Agreement?

Remaining aware of the many facets of your MDA can greatly affect product costs and limit supply chain disruptions. With regular audits and price comparisons, an operator can stay on top of market fluctuations and ensure their distributor is doing the same. Options included in an MDA can significantly help reduce price volatility. Do you know your distributor’s margin, base price, and backend markup and service costs?

While large leveraged operators may have developed the internal structure to negotiate with broadline distributors, smaller foodservice operators do not carry that same advantage.

Negotiating a proper MDA can require months of complex negotiations. Consolidated Concepts, the leading purchasing partner in the U.S. for restaurants, works with hundreds of brands which allows them to benchmark and compare MDAs. Their software and electronic invoice auditing capabilities as well as their expertise save operators time, money, and potential legal issues.

For more information on this cost-saving strategy, take a look at Consolidated Concept’s Complete Guide to Your Master Distribution Agreement.  

Interested in learning more? Submit the form below and a member of our team will reach out.