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May 4, 2002 9:59 AM quote 
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 Sysco or U.S. Foods ?
I would like to have opinions on who is better to use and why: Sysco or U.S. Foods
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May 4, 2002 10:02 AM quote 
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US Foods is definately better, at least in the souteast. Sysco is over priced and has poor quality on everything I have ever bought from them except of course Major Gray's Mango Chutney, can't ever go wrong there.
May 4, 2002 10:12 AM quote 
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I guess it all depends on what type of Contract you have
I like Sysco because My Rep was great
if I ran out of asomething or needed something in a rush
He would simply toss it in his car and bring it personally over to me
As far as Pricing was concerned We got incredible deep discounts
usually 15% off their sale Prices
I guess when you spend over 5 Million a year with a supplier
they give you preferential treatment
Ciao
Murray
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May 4, 2002 10:15 AM quote 
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Yeah I guess locking in on a contract with US was good too since Sysco didn't want to handle our big accounts. I have always had attitude problems from Sysco salespeople but i guess everyone is different
May 4, 2002 2:22 PM quote 
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Hi Rosario,

Welcome to the forum. I won't give you a clear answer because only you know what you want/need/like. I'm in NY and both my Sysco and US reps are both great guys and have bent over backwards for me on a number of occasions. They have different products, some of which are exclusive to each company, and those products which they share, it's a coin toss. Some items are more expensive, some are less. What I like about US is their extensive equipment catalog. While the prices aren't bargain basement, they aren't outrageous either. What I like about Sysco is that they buy small, local, quality producers and keep on the owners as management to ensure the same good qualities. Where I'm at, Sysco bought an herb farm that has really great herbs. The herb farm still sells to the public and to restaurants, but I get them cheaper through Sysco. According to my sales rep, Sysco has done the same with a lot of other products. The biggest problem I have with both companies is quasi-specialty products. Things that I think are pretty mundane, like black sesame seeds, have to be mailed to me. So I have a specialty provider for things like that. If you are large enough to get locked in prices, you can pretty much expect the customer service to just disappear, trading very good prices for pretty poor customer service.

If prices are a really big issue, and your place is big enough to use both companies, why not do that? You can get computer software for placing orders on the internet from both companies and you can get daily price updates for comparison shopping.

According to both sales reps, every "house" is different with what products they carry and the prices they charge. So my "house" here in upstate NY could be very different from the "house" serving NYC.

Are there any other options for you? Maybe a smaller, independent broad line distributor?

What's your opinion about those 2 companies?

Hope this helps.

Ciao for now,
May 5, 2002 2:17 PM quote 
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It depends where you are.

I've used Sysco in three different regions, and have success stories in all three. What's different, is that some of the salespeople were less knowledgable than others. Which in turn, led me to showing them the way through their laptops to find products I needed.

There's tons of smaller guys out there too who can work up some great deals. I never buy Sysco produce for that matter, nor do I touch their seafood.

One successful strategy is to list everything you have, and cost it out with several different suppliers. Believe me, investing the time into this will pay for itself in weeks. (If not sooner).

Good luck to you!

Eric in Michigan
May 6, 2002 2:01 PM quote 
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gbs hit the nail right on the head.

I've always had at least two vendors lined up for all my products. I'm very upfront from the start with them. I let them know that will order from both of them regularly and that it is not a ploy to squeze bigger discounts. I know I can get bigger discounts if I really hammered them but when the discount goes up, their margin goes down and the profit has to come from somewhere. It usually comes from a decrease in customer service, which makes the additional discount a bad value. I even have roughly six produce companies per store lined up to ensure freshness and variety.

Take your misc products list and split it up between the two vendors and continue to work with both guys, you'll have to get used to the ordering process but it's worth it. Also, I use Menulink Inventory Software and it generate order sheets and sugested orders automatically based on what I sold. In the beginning I had to remember who I ordered what from but now I don't have to. I can even shop the two vendors current price list to get lower prices on identicle items. System wide I probably shave .75 to 1.5% off my food cost monthly buy using two vendors and getting the best value I can.

While I'm at it, I'll throw in a little pearl of wisdom about vendors. Remember that vendors are people just like us doing a job for a living. We are to them what the people at our tables are to us, customers. Treat them with respect, patience and understand that they don't make their company policies. They have husbands, wives, kids, moms and lives too. Don't call one at 7PM on Friday because you forgot to order something and say I need it tonight. If they can swing it they will. These guys and gals are working hard to take care of you and, they also are potential customers. When they come in on their day off, don't talk business with them. If they start it, say "I'll talk to you about it when you're not trying to enjoy yourself" or "Call me tomorrow and we'll talk, enjoy you meal tonight". Buy them a beer or desert, what ever you do to show your apreciation to a good customer, do it. They may make a difference someday in an emergency and they'll probably volunteer to help.

"Good vendor relations is good business"

Big D

May 7, 2002 12:07 AM quote 
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<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-disgusted.gif" border="0"> Don't like either of them!!
I used to deal with Sysco until I found the rep recruiting from my
KITCHEN!!! Lost a good sous and a kitchen mngr to the low life.
Sudenly I was short handed and no place to order from.
I use local people. The service is better the prices are competative
I can call them any time and get anything from them at a moments notice.I'm loyal to them and they are greatful for the buisiness.
Look around you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Manny
May 10, 2002 6:06 PM quote 
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The biggest problem I have had with SYSCO is they have a way of increasing the prices on you just when they think you are not paying attention! Since the sales reps work on commission, the more they sale the more they make. As far as US Foods, I have never used them, but maybe now is the time for me to check them out since I am so disgusted with the ole bait and switch from SYSCO.
May 10, 2002 6:12 PM quote 
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This is actually something we hear about quite often. Price creep and the old bait and switch....most often to their private label products. From what I understand, most broadliners do this.

DS
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