A simple buying strategy for smaller restaurants and wine retailers

Smaller restaurants and smaller wine retailers start off at a competitive disadvantage compared to their larger competitors.

They don’t have the buying power, name recognition, attention, press, coverage, and influence of their bigger cousins.

But that’s only if you look at the dollars, and especially if you look at the dollars of value per vendor.

Want to know how to win the game, or at least get a bit more leverage? Look at the percentage of business you do with each vendor, and use that percentage number as your measuring stick.

In other words, the goal is to becomeĀ a big fish in a small pond.

  1. Reduce your vendor load to just a handful of trusted partners. Make everybody else earn their way into your business through a long process of vetting and relationship building.
  2. Buy deep with those trusted partners, increasing your influence within their business. They will then need you, not the other way around.
  3. Watch as other cool, hip, modern thinking, and very good vendors come knocking on your door.

This plan achieves two main things. First, your relationships strengthen with those you choose to work with, allowing you to get “preferred status” in their eyes (whatever that ends up meaning). Second, you become a hot commodity. If you buy a little bit of wine from almost everybody, then nobody thinks you’re worthwhile to sell to. But if you buy deep with just a few, then everybody wants to sell to you.

And that’s when some magic can happen.