What would we do without Rob?
Rob, my HDVR co host has got another great suggestion, plus a set of videos for learning safe food handling. First let's share that add-on for your cart. Makes life so much easier and helps you serve faster. Attach it to your cart quickly and easily and then load it with your most used condiments. Thanks Rob!
Whether or not your state requires that you take a food safety course, taking one can make the difference in a clean, safe environment and a law suit. If you aren't required the course, do yourself a favor and watch these.
Actually, it's pretty tough for a small guy to deal with the big suppliers for a few reasons. First, is the drop size (actual dollar amount of the order). You have to remember there's a lot of expense for the trucks, drivers, pickers (the people who pull the items at the warehouse), internal costs, etc, etc, etc, on and on, so a small order can actually be an expense to the company rather than a profitable sale.
Secondly, is the salesperson. They're paid on a sliding scale based on a grid. The grid has drop size (from small to large) up one side and GP (gross profit) across the bottom. Where the two intersect, determines the amount of commission which is based on a percentage of the GP for that particular order. The higher the drop size and GP, the higher the percentage. No two orders pay the same percentage of commission. With me so far? No? okay.
Until the order reaches minimums on both drop size and GP, there's no commission paid to the salesperson. Zero. The salesperson has two options in this case: bump the price to increase GP in order to get paid or drop the customer altogether. There's no price set in stone by the company. The salesperson controls it.
I had a customer in the mountains I was going to drop because I used up about a half-hour each week and seldom got paid. I hated to because they were really nice people. After struggling with it for a while, it occurred to me the half-hour was a nice break in my day and the customer would tell me where the fish were biting and we'd have a good visit. I decided that was my payment and kept him on.
Just about the only way the little guy is going to get decent pricing is to order way ahead to increase drop size (several weeks worth) or have a buddy in the restaurant biz order supplies for him.
Sad but true, Broham. Shopping the retail stores will most likely yield better pricing for the weekend warrior.