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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 01-09-2011, 10:58 PM   #1
mmmmeat
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Default meat supplier

the wife and i are seriously lookin into gettin into the bizniz, i want to start up a catering rig that can transition into a small comfy joint and we're figuring out little details...

this is a big one, MEAT... what is the norm for suppliers? i dont know the rules and regs for where i get meat from but obviously i wont be able to rely on a grocery store to keep me stocked, so i guess my question forms as follows.

WHO???

WHERE?? websites, phone numbers etc

im in arizona... so the farms arent as abundant as back east for meat animals so that being the case does any one use local farmers to get your meat fresh from??

any and all help will be appreciated and this will go into my note book of ideas for the business

thanks brethren
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Unread 01-10-2011, 05:56 AM   #2
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I use Restaurant Depot www. restaurantdepot.com Check to see who the local schools are using and contact their supplier. It may be someone like UniPro foodservices. You might check local hospital and use their supplier just dont do to your meat what they do to theirs.
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Unread 01-10-2011, 05:31 PM   #3
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Cupcake, you should casually check with restaurateurs in the area. Many of them will share who they are buying from. I think Restaurant Depot and Costco will show up as well as Sysco. Also, do you want to provide local and fresh? Several of my friends out here tried to go that route, only one is sticking with it, and only for certain cuts. It is a higher price to go and delivery can be difficult. We are fortunate here that there are several small packing houses that specialize in small orders for wholesale. There may be a packer near you that you have no idea exists.
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Unread 01-10-2011, 06:28 PM   #4
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Kevin, I go through a local supplier for ribs, Sam's for briskie and butts, and another supplier for other items. Starting out, use RD or Costco accounts to get what you need. Once you establish what kind of volume you dealing with, you can shop prices between suppliers or staying with warehouse stores. To work with suppliers, you will most likely need a tax ID number to get the wholesale price.

Unfortunately, way lower prices mean a high volume. So, as mentioned before, find another reputable consumer and create a small buying group. I have developed a small one with a local tavern.

Just a small bit of advice, Kevin. Go out and cater first. You will get a better taste of what you have to go through to get ready without putting cash out on the table with no guarantee of return. Food biz is extremely hard work, but can also be very rewarding. It's all about what you want to put into it, and get out of it.

Good luck.
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Unread 01-10-2011, 07:36 PM   #5
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If you have an RD close they are great other than that I would use Sams Club until you get big enough to place some large orders.
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Unread 01-10-2011, 08:53 PM   #6
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Searched "Wholesale Meats:Tucson, AZ" on dexknows.com and came up with this...

http://www.dexknows.com/local/food_a...att/wholesale/

Another search led to this...
http://www.magicyellow.com/category/...-State_AZ.html

Start calling. The worst they can say is no.

Good luck,

Chris
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Unread 01-10-2011, 09:04 PM   #7
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I pretty much use the business Costco for all my catering meats...
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Unread 01-11-2011, 10:00 AM   #8
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whoever you use, I pray that God would bless you in your endeavors. Keep us posted.
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Unread 01-11-2011, 11:20 AM   #9
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If you want to make money, stay away from costco and other fake wholesale houses unless you are in a pinch. In my area at least costco is usually 40-50 cents more per pound at the minimum sometimes even more. They also do not always have what you are looking for. Restaurant Depot has good prices and also call around the different purveyors in the area will or at least should kill Costco and they should deliver to you. You must micromanage to stay in business. Every penny saved counts.
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Unread 01-11-2011, 05:51 PM   #10
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thanks for all of the advice, i will be callin and emailin up a bunch of these places within the next few days and see what i can come up with. and i think the sensible thing to do would be start out of a truck or trailer...

thanks to you too Dan for the blessing, if it's in His plan, it's in my plan!!
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Unread 01-12-2011, 09:32 PM   #11
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Good luck Kevin. Let me know if I can help ya out.
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Unread 01-13-2011, 05:56 AM   #12
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Jacked Up Do you have a secret for getting lower prices from restaurant supply places like Sysco? I have found when I tried to deal with 3 different companies in my area that they prices were actually higher than Sams and Costco. You do probably buy a lot more than I do though but I'm just starting out.
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Unread 01-13-2011, 01:59 PM   #13
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i use" US FOODS", sysco charges about 10% more than us foods because their sales reps work on commission. but i own a restaurant......
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Unread 01-14-2011, 12:25 AM   #14
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FSA,sysco,Sam's,US foods,butcher shop.Get to know the meat manager at your favorite grocery store he/she can get you some really good prices on cases half cases of meat if you go talk to them in person tell them what you do and how much you think you'll buy from them.I do and get prices almost as good as the Sam's of the world.
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Unread 01-14-2011, 11:02 AM   #15
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if your buying your meat at a "wholesale club" or a grocery store you are wasting money. restaurant depot has good prices but are hit or miss on quantity. every now and then they will be a little cheaper than my pork distributor but wont have anymore than a few cases of ribs or not have enough butts. if you hook up with a good distributor he'll probably deliver for free. my supplier is about 1 1/2 hours away and still brings it to me, FOR FREE. i have purchased from us foods and the prices were good but i didnt like the brand they carried. even if your buying small amounts sams club cant even come close and at the end of the year, which is all that matters, your going to be pissed on how much more you could have saved by staying away from those places.
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