Types of Vendors
A bar and restaurant will have many different types of vendors. Weekly deliveries, daily deliveries – you name it. It all depends on what kind of food and beverages they offer. Brand new bartenders should have a general idea of how all of this works.
Why is this important? Well, it’s not, really – if you have some experience in the food and beverage industry. However, I know that there are many of you taking this course who are walking into that job interview “cold.” You have no experience of any kind.
You may be behind the bar in your very first week, and someone comes up to you and asks, “Where do you want me to drop this stuff off?” Well, what do you tell them? Knowing the general procedures of your bar’s operations will help you answer this question quickly and correctly so you can move on to taking care of your customers.
Below is a general list of what kind of deliveries a bar and/or restaurant can expect throughout the week.
The bar will have one main vendor for most of their food, dry goods, and supplies. And frozen foods. Fresh produce, bread, liquor/beer/wine and some other food supplies will be delivered more frequently – by different vendors.
Many of your “chain” restaurants and bars have what some would call a “commissary.” It’s simply a vendor that all of the chain’s bars will use to make their products – thus providing a nice discount. This “Commissary” will then distribute all of the food and supplies to the chain’s individual restaurants and bars.
Canned goods, sauces, condiments, spices, juices, etc. This same vendor will probably also deliver many of the “supplies” that a bar uses – napkins, straws, glassware, etc.
Food deliveries are usually twice per week, and may be done automatically through the house’s computer system. Or, Mom and Pop places have a more basic, manual system.
The bar will have a designated produce vendor. All fresh fruits and vegetables will usually come from the same vendor.
Deliveries are at least twice per week, but may be more frequent. Usually a local company – depending on where the bar is located.
The bar will have a vendor for baked goods. Bread must be fresh! Usually always local, and deliveries are at least 2-3 times per week.
Most frozen goods will come in with the main “food” delivery vendor – or the chain’s “commissary.” Meats, juices, etc.
Again, the main food vendor will supply almost all of the dry goods.
The bar will have one main liquor distributor. Some distributor’s may dabble in wine and beer – but they’re usually separate.
Once per week deliveries – sometimes more on the keg beer.
Wine may be delivered by the liquor or beer distributor – it all depends. Many bars have local specialty wines, so you never know.
Deliveries are usually just once per week.
The beer distributor will deliver both draft and bottled beer. There may be a couple of different beer distributors. And, there’s always some local breweries who may sell some of their products at the bar.
Beer deliveries are usually twice per week. Again, it all depends. Like any of the bar’s vendors, a quick call from management can usually get anything delivered within a few hours.
The bar probably has a company that supplies all of their video games, pinball machines, pool table, jukeboxes, etc. They usually have an employee on call in case one of their machines breaks down. You’ll be making those calls.
They’ll stop by a couple of times per week, grab the cash, and give the “house” their split. Usually around 50%.
Most of the janitorial/maintenance supplies will be delivered by the main supplier listed above; however, some bars may have very specific supplies they use and have a completely different vendor altogether.
The main food/dry goods supplier may provide all of these items, but sometimes they’ll use the local restaurant and supply warehouse.
Probably coming from the main food/dry goods company, but a local restaurant supply warehouse may supply all of these items.
The bar will probably retain an upholstery repair company. And, they’ll buy new tables and chairs from a company of their choice.
Dishes, glassware, silverware, etc. All of these supplies will probably be coming from the main food/dry goods supplier.
That’s it – just a simple list to give you an idea of what’s going to be delivered while you’re working your shift. Most supplies will always be delivered during the day, so if you have that shift – pay attention and check in orders properly.
If you’re following along in the Basic Bartending Course:
Next Lesson: Bar Owners and Profit and Loss
Previous Lesson: How to Set bar Drink Prices
Back to the Course Start Page: Basic Bartending Course