Category: Uncategorized

Freshly Picked, July 27, 2021

Alerts & What’s Trending

Produce

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Large issues persist in all parts of the industry, including a shortage of steady labor and high freight prices, posing challenges in the supply chain flow from harvest to shipping to reception.

Grains

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Last week, all vegetable oil kinds rose in price. As soybean crops in the United States are stressed, the main cause is very hot and dry weather. Canola is growing more challenging by the day, and this crop will suffer some losses. Soybean oil-based products, Canola, and palm oil are all expected to rise in price.

Dairy

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The cheese markets flattened week over week, barely going up with flat demand. The Butter market decreased by $0.011/lb week over week on weak  demand. There are no current changes to the Shell Egg market this week, all sizes remain unchanged.

Beef

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Due to exports, most packers were unable to supply Chucks. Rounds continued to weaken, but interest served to keep the decrease at bay for the time being. Ribs appear to have reached a plateau, while strips and tenders continue to fall. Thin meats such as tritips, sirloin flaps, and chuck flaps continue to be underpriced. Demand for grind and trim has slowed, causing cost and demand to fall.

Pork

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After a few brief harvest weeks, hog futures have stabilized. Butts are easing slightly heading into next week as demand continues to fall. Spareribs are also expected to fall off next week, with the market trading sideways as August approaches. Fresh bellies continue to have a stable demand and limited supply due to the lack of cold storage. Trim is rising once more.

Poultry

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Labor shortages persist across the business, but availability for some commodities is improving. Jumbo wings and tenders are expensive, and the product is hard to get by. The breast market is flat, and there is plenty of supply in a variety of sizes. Portion control breasts are stable, but supply are limited due to labor.

Seafood

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Warm-water lobsters are in short supply, and there are few options to replace them. The first cargo left Nicaragua last week, but the product will take longer than projected to reach the warehouses due to transportation and container constraints. Suppliers of North Atlantic Lobster are striving to refill warehouses.

Freshly Picked, July 20, 2021

Alerts & What’s Trending

Produce

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Challenges remain industry‐wide with lack of labor, pallets and freight in all segments of the business, making for challenges in the executions of the supply chain flow from harvest to shipping to receiving.

Grains

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The grain futures market dropped a bit last week. This was in response to very needed rain in some very dry areas. Corn is most vulnerable due to its life cycle.

Dairy

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Supply of cheese tightens as the markets increase. The butter market saw a decrease in $0.043/lb week over week with abundant supply. Jumbo, extra large, and large shell eggs increased week over week with increased demand.

Beef

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Price reductions slowed and continues to be in correction mode. Chucks and rounds are having larger corrections than ribs and strips, with support of trim & grind market slowing and exports not pulling at same rates as prior. Thin meats: tri tips, ball tips, sirloin flap, chuck flap continue to show weakness in pricing.  Grind and trim slowed in pricing and demand.

Pork

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Hog futures are still showing weakness in the market. Bone‐in and boneless butts are still trending down as domestic and export demand has softened up. Loins have leveled off and trading sideways as retail as pulled back on this cut. Spareribs are coming down more next week and backribs are relatively flat. Fresh bellies are seeing an increase going into next week.

Poultry

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Labor is still constrained across the industry, but supply is improving on some items. Jumbo wings and tenders are at premium pricing and product is difficult to find. The breast market is lower, and supply of random sizes are more available. Portion control breasts are steady with tight supplies due to labor.

Seafood

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Due to the covid outbreak, the seafood flow in Vietnam and Indonesia has been disrupted. Items such as shrimp and pangasius will be affected. As for shrimp, certain sizes and forms are unavailable as demand is higher than production.

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!

References

  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.

4 Ways Restaurants Can Reduce Costs in 2021

2020 will be known as the year restaurants lost unfathomable amounts of revenue. Even worse, many were forced to close permanently.

It may be argued that restaurants that closed were running rather inefficient operations and were not focused on utilizing best practices on both the revenue and cost side in order to drive profitability.

One of the most important lessons that restaurants did learn this year is they need to use all the resources that are available to them to drive their own success.

Much attention has been paid in the media, on webinars, and among the public audience, to the creative ways in which restaurants are attracting new customers and meeting the shift in customer demands. That same creativity needs to be applied to the cost side of the profitability equation.

Here are some impactful ways that restaurants can reduce costs in 2021.

Sku Rationalization Can Reduce Costs

Deciding whether a product should be kept or discontinued can reduce inventory costs and cut down the complexities in procurement, production and distribution.

Spend time looking at your menu item performance and food cost metrics. Walk through each menu item and the ingredients they use. Ensuring that ingredients are being cross utilized is paramount in driving profitability at your restaurant and is helpful to the front line operation.

By focusing on sku rationalization, you can help ensure that your restaurant chain is maximizing on profitability while also avoiding potential risk of spoilage. Finding high quality and cost-efficient solutions to replace ingredients you aren’t using or selling as much can minimize SKUs while maximizing taste and profit.

Assess Utilities and Fixed Costs

Every penny counts these days. Often, operators don’t realize how much utilities costs can play a huge factor in monthly operational costs. Try switching the type of light bulbs you are using, upgrading your HVAC system or adding window tint.

By making changes and improvements such as these to your operation, you can reduce recurring expenses, save money and increase your bottom line.

Monitoring Inventory and Costs of Goods Sold

Using technology to track your inventory and recipe costing can show an operation their true costs of goods sold. If you are taking inventory once a month or even once a quarter, you could be losing money and not even know it. By conducting stock management checks on a daily or weekly basis, you can keep up to date on the latest price changes and what’s selling and not selling (which can also assist you with your sku rationalization!).

Keeping track of your inventory can also help with maximizing promotions and menu innovation using the products that sell the most – and even products that are set to expire soon so you don’t waste them.

Partner with a GPO to Reduce Costs

Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO’s) can leverage the buying power and purchasing data from all their operators to offer the best pricing on contracts, data services, and expertise across all foodservice segments. Partnering with a GPO brings instant savings to your operation in areas like produce management, staff uniforms, sanitation and inventory costs.

All these are just a few ways in which restaurants can see significant savings to their operation and maximize the margins that they earn from the revenue they bring in. By choosing a GPO like Consolidated Concepts you get access to a fully customizable service that brings you instant savings on thousands of items. Contact us to learn how we can bring you buying power, category specialists and broadline/negotiation expertise to your multi-unit operation. Utilize our contracts, partners, experts and technology to reduce costs, improve quality, streamline the supply chain and gain valuable business insights.

How to Maintain Labor Efficiency in Slower Months

Now, with restaurants experiencing an unprecedented slowdown and even shutdowns in the face of a virus that has been declared a pandemic, operators are wondering not only how to keep the doors open, but also how to protect their staff and keep them employed until the public returns.

We couldn’t think of a better time to address the subject of how to maintain labor efficiency in slower months.

In addition to the unusual circumstances that surround us now, many restaurants experience offseason months. One of the biggest challenges these establishments face is how to keep their primary staff employed, retain a profitable business, and alter their budget in order to stay afloat until the busy summer or winter months descend.

In essence, there are two considerations: Controlling costs and increasing business. Let’s take a look at two factors that can ensure continued, profitable operations, even in the offseason.

Labor Controls

As with any business, putting labor controls and procedures in place is mandatory. In our current environment of labor pool shortage and minimum wage hikes, the average labor cost comes in at around 34 percent. Note the word, average. As we know, unlike multi-unit mega chains, independent owners operate restaurants that are very unique and are anything but average.

One benchmark that is a better target to aim for is your prime cost which equals your total cost of goods sold plus your total labor costs. This represents two of your biggest expenses, and controlling this number is one of the keys in maintaining restaurant health. Dividing your prime cost by your total sales reveals your prime cost as a percentage of sales, with a general target being anywhere from 55 percent for quick service restaurants to 65 percent for fine dining, full service establishments.

The benefit of this number is that you have two controls: food and beverage costs as well as labor costs. Controlling inventory, minimizing food waste, optimizing menu engineering, monitoring vendor pricing, and smart scheduling based on forecasts are all procedures available for optimizing control. Controlling food costs by working with an established GPO is one of your best solutions.

When sales are slow, the cost of labor will undoubtedly be higher. Manager’s salaries are maintained, leaving hourly employees the ones that bear the brunt of reducing labor costs. Minimum staffing levels, however, can ultimately impact customer service and lead to less brand loyal guests that will greatly affect a restaurant’s profitability in the long run.

It’s important to keep in mind that this number will change dramatically when the busy season erupts. In fact, labor can come in at close to 40 percent during the slow months and fall down to less than 20 percent during peak months. Developing a target for each month is the best approach to long-term success.

Keep these numbers in mind as we explore labor controls.

Over Managed

While good management is the key to successful operations, over-management can be a road to low profitability. How many times have you walked into a restaurant and seen management performing tasks that hourly employees are quite capable of?

Overtime

Overtime is one of the biggest contributors to high labor costs. If you find it difficult to manage labor so that this number is kept to a minimum, consider integrating an employee scheduling software system that takes into account forecasted sales. A popular brand among restaurants is 7Shifts.

Seasonal Employees

Consider maintaining your core yearly staff and hire for the peak seasons. Coolworks is a well-known site for hiring seasonal staff. You’ll want to start the process well before your season begins.

Train

A well-trained team not only ensures a high-quality product and exceptional service, it is also proven to increase your bottom line. Well-informed, incentivized servers are proven game-changers by increasing sales and enhancing customer experience. Employee recommendations can result in conversions 54 percent of the time. Unfortunately, only 5 percent of your staff is usually making these recommendations. Tipzyy, a mobile software platform, educates servers in areas such as pairings, upselling beverages, and more, and also rewards and recognizes your top performers.

Controlling Food & Beverage Costs

 While there are multiple procedures designed to control this all-important cost, working with a GPO year-round can help you weather the inconsistencies associated with offseason. Many can also help with offseason menu planning that minimizes food and beverage costs during the slow season while still maintaining the quality your customers have come to expect.

The Importance of Restaurants Assessing Master Distribution Agreements (MDAs) in Order to Reduce Costs and Improve Quality

Master Distribution Agreements are the cornerstone for most successful operations in the hospitality industry, at least in terms of optimum pricing and maintaining a solid and reliable supply chain. For restaurants, they provide a strategic and steady cost-saving agreement with their main broadline distributor. Or, at least, that’s what they are designed to do.

Once established, many restaurants maintain the same MDA for years, relying on what has developed into a comfortable relationship with their distributor. Yet this day in, day out, consistent steadiness can, like any relationship that has become somewhat stagnant, end up paralyzing a company’s forward movement and cost operators a percentage of their profits. Experts in procurement, and supply chain analysts, all agree that regular audits and assessments are key to long-term financial health and increased margins.

Here are a few key elements in MDAs that operators should pay attention to:

Contract Timeline

Many MDAs will contain an automatic renewal clause that allows distributors to renew a contract for a year, if they are not notified by the operator within 180 days of the contract termination. Know when your contract ends and take advantage of this opportunity to renegotiate. In addition, contracts that automatically renew often have a clause that allows for cost-of-living increases resulting in increased fees that many operators are unaware of.

When negotiating an MDA, ensure that there is a “no cause exit clause” which allows operators to terminate the agreement with a 60 or 90-day notice.

Auditing

Some contracts will limit the timeframe that a MDA can be audited. It’s important that you maintain the right to audit cost and obtain the actual manufacturer’s paid invoice. Allowances and product discounts should be included in your price. Keep in mind that auditing line-by-line can be extremely time-consuming. A third-party firm, such as Consolidated Concepts, has the software capabilities that make this act effortless, processing and organizing the needed data to accomplish an expert audit readily in real-time.

Drop Incentives

The bigger a load, the better pricing a distributor can normally provide. Make sure that your MDA contains this type of agreement. In essence, it states that as drop sizes increase, your product mark-up decreases. To take advantage of this, consider increasing your size while decreasing your frequency of deliveries with certain types of products.

GPOs

When assessing your MDA, check that it allows you to release data to a third party or Group Purchasing Organization. GPOs give restaurants the combined purchasing power of all of their members and can reduce restaurant costs by up to 30 percent. Dining Alliance is the largest GPO in the industry with a purchasing power of over $10 billion. They also offer a broadline program that includes fixed mark-ups, electronic weekly auditing, and over 350 manufacturer deviations and rebates

MDA Negotiation White Papers

Comparing MDAs

According to Barry Friends, a food industry consultant who spent over 20 years as an executive at three of the top five U.S. foodservice distributors, one of the biggest challenges facing restaurants in relation to MDAs is the lack of supply chain personnel as well as the disruption that can occur when sourcing food and operating supplies from just one broadline distributor. As he describes it, “No matter how much you (the operator) know, the distributors know more; they have all the power, and they are excellent at making their customers feel like they have a great deal.” This “great deal” may be far less than what they can actually offer. While costs are driven by the market, there are options that can be included in a MDA that can help reduce price volatility. What is the distributor’s base price, margin, and backend markup and service costs?

Leveraging an organization that works with hundreds of distributors across the nation, including specialized and smaller organizations, allows experts in the field to compare distribution agreements—an ability that makes a tremendous difference when optimizing a MDA.

As is evident, it takes years of experience in the procurement field to be able to address these types of issues with confidence. Consolidated Concepts helps restaurants by leveraging their expertise in supply chain management, operations, distribution, product management, and spend management, ultimately reducing costs while improving quality. As your business grows so too does the ability to negotiate better pricing. Remaining vigilant when it comes to the agreement with your broadline distributor can dramatically affect product costs.

For more information on this important topic, take a look at Consolidated Concept’s,  A Complete Guide to Your Master Distribution Agreement.

How To Select Talent From a (Rapidly) Growing Talent Pool

About Kickfin: Restaurants use Kickfin to instantly deposit tips into employees’ bank accounts the second their shift ends, 24/7/365. We eliminate the hassle, hidden costs, and health hazards of cash tips outs, so your people stay safe while still receiving their tips in real time. 

Kickfin can help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and ensure the financial security of your employees with contactless tip outs. Because of this, we feel we have an ethical responsibility to make Kickfin available to new and existing customers free of charge through the months of April and May. Contact us to learn more.

Unemployment is one of the most painful byproducts of this unstable, uncertain market. It’s impacting every industry, of course, but hospitality has taken one of the biggest hits.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been cut — in fact, restaurants and bars account for 60% of the losses. While some are (hopefully) temporary, other jobs have been permanently lost, as many restaurants have little hope of weathering this storm.

It’s a cruel twist of fate: for years, hospitality employers have battled against one another in a highly competitive labor market. Now, though, there’s willing, able and experienced talent everywhere you look. 

Who’s hiring at a time like this? 

You’d be surprised. With off-premise sales spiking, delivery restaurants and chains are in need of extra hands. Pizza Hut, for example, indicated they’re hiring for 30,000 permanent positions. Other restaurants who have pivoted in this market are hiring in anticipation of the virus striking their team and taking out part of their workforce. 

If you’re in the hiring boat, you might be wondering: How should my recruiting practices change in light of this burgeoning labor market? (And how should they stay the same?) 

We’ve got 3 tips for restaurateurs who are hiring during this crazy time.

  1. Don’t lower your standards.

If you’re in a bind and in need of help ASAP, you may be tempted to make a hasty decision, setting aside your typical hiring process

That’s understandable: in the current environment, survival depends on your ability to be nimble and move fast. But when it comes to bringing new people on board, moving too fast could backfire.

Right now, restaurant patrons are anxious. People need to eat, of course, and many genuinely wish to support the restaurants they love — but they’re worried about their safety, and rightfully so. Plus: federal, state and local guidelines for essential businesses are constantly evolving, and in general, health hazards are high.

Taking all of that into account: seek out employees who are reliable, experienced, and have a can-do attitude. Before you make new hires, ask yourself: will they be considerate of and accommodating toward anxious patrons? Will they follow new, extensive sanitation and safety guidelines? And can they adapt to a role that may include changing responsibilities, as your business shifts to respond to the market?

Pro tip: Don’t skip references. Now more than ever, it’s important to require references for candidates — and don’t neglect to actually reach out to those references. Aside from confirming previous employment, questions you may want to ask include:

  • What were the candidate’s key responsibilities?
  • Where did the candidate excel? What were his/her key strengths?
  • Did you ever experience any performance issues with the candidate?
  • Is there anything else I should know?
  1. Broaden your horizons.

If you’ve just pivoted to curbside or delivery service, you may need to look for a different kind of background than you’re used to hiring for. Seek out people with skills or experience that are directly applicable to the roles you need to fill.

That may seem obvious — but many restaurateurs are used to only hiring either front-of-house and back-of-house staff. Now, they’re suddenly looking for drivers. While you shouldn’t lower your standards (see above), you may need to shift required qualifications and experience.

A few key considerations if you’re hiring drivers:

  • Do they have solid driving credentials?
  • Will they be using a company car? If not, do they own or reliably have access to a vehicle?
  • How will they be compensated? Will they make tips? Will they receive a stipend for gas and wear and tear on their car?
  • Will they be an employee or an independent contractor? If it’s the latter, are you in compliance with state and federal labor laws?

Pro tip: If you’re hiring for a different kind of role than you’re used to, talk to other restaurateurs who have experience with this model to get an understanding of what kinds of qualities and qualifications you should focus on. 

  1. Think long-term

We can all agree that this is a strange and difficult time. But good news: it’s not forever.

It may not be weeks or even months, but at some point, we’ll return to some semblance of normalcy. And while everyone in hospitality is trying to be nimble and pivot fast, savvy restaurateurs are making strategic shifts — not band-aid solutions. 

So wherever possible, think ahead: are the changes you’re making going to benefit your business now and in the long term? 

This is especially important when it comes to your people. Every employee you onboard right now is still going to require some level of ramp time, which means you should hire the right person for the role and the team, so you can ultimately minimize turnover

Pro tip: Don’t neglect your restaurant’s culture. Think about what new hires are going to bring to your team: how will they fit in? And will they want to stick around, even after things go back to a (new) normal?

Bottom line: if you’re hiring in hospitality right now, you’re in a fairly unique position. You have a wealth of talent at your fingertips that, just weeks ago, was next-to-impossible to find. And more importantly, you can help workers who have lost their livelihoods and are desperate for gainful employment. Remain committed to smart, strategic hiring practices, and your business, your employees and your new hires all stand to benefit.