The Joys of Small Suppliers

My meat supplier, a small foodservice vendor, is an obese, cigar-chomping man with an unpronounceable name and a staff of maybe 6 guys.

His favorite hobbies include eating meat, talking about meat, and yelling at me about the Yankees, all of which he does without the cigar ever leaving his mouth.

He doesn’t have a website, a secretary, or an accounts receivable department and his office is basically a broom closet.

Sure, he doesn’t do much butchering himself anymore but he knows everything about every cut he sells and I bet he could still break down a side of beef faster than I can make a béchamel.

This guy is easily my favorite supplier.

I called him yesterday with a question about the size of the fat cap on their beef brisket and he went into the storeroom himself to check the product and get me an answer.

There’s none of this “please hold while I transfer you to some guy in the warehouse who also doesn’t know the answer,” no best guesses from uninformed sales reps, and no wondering if the full order is going to show up.

He stands behind his product and his service, and it shows.

This is why I (and plenty of other restaurants in this town) are happy to pay his slightly higher prices instead of working with the bigger, cheaper meat companies.

The quality of his product is also the best, but that’s to be expected from a guy like him.