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Four Ways a GPO Can Help You Prep for 2022

With a busy holiday season ahead of us, many caterers are starting to plan for next year before the many office parties and family celebrations start to pick up. Thanks to the reopening of restaurants and the return of the events industry, 2021 turned out to be a much stronger year than 2020 for most caterers. Delivery services remained popular, but a resurgence of in-person business has been a welcome change to the market.

Regardless of performance this year, most foodservice providers are on the same page for 2022: Let’s build back stronger than before. Many lessons have been learned throughout the pandemic and it’s time to begin applying them. 

From streamlining SOPs and training staff for versatility to trimming costs and operating in a leaner fashion, now is the time to position your business for a profitable year in 2022.

One way to check off many of these boxes at once is by joining a group purchasing organization (GPO). GPOs leverage the power of collective purchasing to maximize efficiency and get better pricing. When companies join together to buy ingredients and supplies, they can take advantage of bulk rates, discounts, and more.

If you’re wondering whether GPO membership is for you, consider these four benefits.

You’ll save money. 

You might have your own penny-pinching strategies while shopping for inventory, but they can’t beat the savings associated with group purchasing. A GPO accounts for your needs and combines them with other businesses to secure highly competitive bulk rates for items you wouldn’t normally need in bulk. The shipping and delivery process is more efficient and sustainable for the supplier, and you get a lower cost per item without having to worry about over-purchasing ingredients or supplies.

You’ll spend less time shopping.

Scouring the marketplace for specific brands and great deals is a time-consuming endeavor that simply doesn’t need to be on your plate. Instead, let an expert GPO manager handle the heavy lifting! They combine their extensive knowledge of the catering industry, strong negotiation skills, and wide network of food suppliers to make sure you get what you need. Now, imagine what you could accomplish with all of that extra time in your schedule!

You’ll have access to more options.

Whether you have a go-to distributor or you’ve purchased from a handful of suppliers, your options are limited. That’s because food providers often partner with certain brands, so you only get to shop from the inventory they offer. In some cases, this means adjusting tried-and-true recipes to accommodate slight changes in flavor and texture. It may also mean you’re unable to get the best deals on products you love. With a GPO, you gain access to top food suppliers, providing you with more options (and better rates) when sourcing inventory.

You’ll get additional support.

A great GPO provides its members with education, information, and support for their growing businesses. Beyond the purchasing service provided, GPO members can tap into the knowledge base of foodservice experts who are ready to help. From menu development and contract negotiations to equipment purchases and maintenance solutions, your GPO managers can serve as a guide as you develop a successful catering business. 

All of these perks are invaluable when looking to scale your business—and, when you consider that GPO memberships are no-fee, it becomes an easy decision. Reputable GPOs will not lock you into any purchasing requirements, so it’s a risk-free strategy that will open your catering business up to new opportunities and more cost savings. 


Clint Elkins

Clint Elkins is the VP Sales for SB Value located in Charlotte, NC. Clint, a former professional race car driver, was one of the top motorsports promoters in the country by the age of 35. Clint used that experience and passion for business to launch his second career in a sales and marketing. Outside of work Clint enjoys spending time on his family farm and coaching his two daughters softball teams. Clint is also an avid cook and self proclaimed badminton superstar.