Food Service Equipment & Supplies/Questions - Food Distributor


Hi there:

I am in the process of identifying a supplier (vegetables) and would like help putting together a list of questions.  Here's what I have thus far:

Turn around time; delivery?
What are your terms/conditions/payment?
What is the minimum order? What is the max order?
What is the lead time for placing an order?
Will you call in advance to let me know if your are out of a product?  If so, how far in advance?
What safety guidelines do you follow? HACCP? GCFI?
Type of storage?
Do you honor competition pricing?
What the return policies are for damaged product?
Wholesale price, per pound?  Seasonal pricing?  

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.  

Thanks much,

Hi Jasmine:
You've covered the bases pretty well but here are a couple more questions you can ask:

1. Discount for prompt pay (usually a 2% additional discount if paid within 10 days)
2. Do you have a "hot shot" truck that can deliver in emergencies?
3. Do you have on-line order capabilities?
4. Do you have an outward bound sales force that can consult/show me new products/take an order?

Other than that I think you're on the right track!

Good luck,

Food Service Equipment & Supplies

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


BML Consulting


I have 30 years within the foodservice industry as an equipment, supplies and fine dining consultant. I have worked for foodservice distributors and more than 50 equipment, supplies and top-of-the-table manufacturers within the Southern California marketplace. I have extensive experience and knowledge in the areas of heavy cooking equipment, front-of-the-house, fine dining, wine and tablewares. I am interested in giving back to the community that has assisted in my success and I am happy to offer my unbiased expertise to those in need of objective answers. I am also certified as a CFSP professional (Certified Food Service Professional) as a member of NAFEM.


Began career in 1979 at one of the nation's most prestigious distributors, RW Smith & Co. Recipient of Three "Top Gun" awards as the best salesman in the company.
Too many awards to list from manafacturers but among those: largest sale in three years for Ventmaster ventilation systems (more than 368 lineal feet of exhaust ventilation)for the Neveda Culinary Arts Academy; "Rising Star" for greatest sales growth in one year for all territories in the US on behalf of Service Ideas; Largest increase in territory sales for Franklin Machine Products for signing two restaurant chains to a corporate program. The list goes on...


BA, Clinical Psychology
MBA, Negotiation & Arbitration

Awards and Honors
Rising Star, Service Ideas
"Top Gun" (3 years) RW Smith

©2016 All rights reserved.