Buying Ingredients Wholesale.

Business By supakiki Updated 12 Oct 2010 , 11:04pm by pattycakesnj

supakiki Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 11:59pm
post #1 of 15

Do you feel like you save money doing this? I'm sure it's so nice to buy in huge quantities, but I'm sure it costs a lot too. Just wondering if you're getting just more food for more money, or maybe a little more food for a little less money. Like as compared to sales at grocery stores. I can usually buy butter for $2.oo on sale, but it's been tough latley, and Walmart's price just went from $2.12 to $2.78. I'm scared! icon_smile.gif

Thanks for any input!

14 replies
jason_kraft Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 12:22am
post #2 of 15

There's always a tradeoff between convenience and cost. Restaurant supply stores typically have the lowest prices on bulk products, we buy things like flour (50 lb for $14) and shortening (50 lb of Sweetex for $60) in bulk, but we buy powdered sugar in 4 lb packages since they are convenient when making small batches of frosting.

If you use specialty flours, the savings at the restaurant supply stores can be insane...we buy 50 lbs of rice flour (from General Mills) for ~$20. Buying the same amount in the supermarket would be more than five times more expensive.

There's no question that buying in bulk is significantly cheaper in the long run, as long as you can use the ingredients before they go bad and you have enough space to store them. Then again, looking at the total cost structure of your products, the cost of ingredients should be a relatively small percentage.

sunlover00 Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 12:29am
post #3 of 15

I'm curious; which supply stores do you use? Do have to be licensed to buy items there?

jason_kraft Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 12:33am
post #4 of 15

We do most of our shopping at Restaurant Depot ( ), they do require a business license. For hard-to-find items we buy directly from BakeMark, a regional distributor. We also shop at local Cash & Carry stores, Costco, and Smart & Final.

indydebi Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 1:43am
post #5 of 15

You also have to measure just how much you use. It's not a cost savings if you end up throwing half of it out because it got too old to use.

Here's an example. I used mini M&M's in my cookies and I bought them by the regular bag at Walmart. My Sysco sales rep gave me a price for them and I did the math. (Debi Does Data!! icon_biggrin.gif )

If I bought thru Sysco, I'd have to buy a 25-lb bag. holy crap, do you know how long that would last me? That was concern #1 ..... space to store it and making sure it got used before they got too old.

but when I ran the numbers, if I bought 25 lbs in the small bags from Walmart, it would be $12 cheaper than buying in bulk in the 25 lb bag from Sysco. Not only did I save money, but I also saved storage space and helped cash flow. (I know, it's only $12 but whether it's $12 or $1200, the concept and convenience/cost factor argument is the same.)

be sure to do the math. Sometimes buying in bulk can bite you in the behind!.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 1:59am
post #6 of 15

We haven't done much buying in bulk yet, but I have been wondering about this too. Thanks for the advice Debi, that's good to know!

jason_kraft Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 2:40am
post #7 of 15

I don't recall ever seeing any of our regular ingredients at a grocery store or Walmart for less than our restaurant supply store...ironically, the regional distributor we use for hard-to-find items (BakeMark) is sometimes more expensive than local bulk retailers.

Items that double as impulse consumer purchases (like the M&Ms in Debi's example) will sometimes be cheaper at smaller retailers if they are heavily discounted or being run as loss leaders. Most ingredients do not fit into this category.

It's still a valid point though, before you commit to a bulk purchase make sure you've done your research on the price points available at other retailers. Don't forget online retailers, Amazon's grocery section is the cheapest provider for quite a few of our ingredients.

supakiki Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 3:37am
post #8 of 15

Thank you so much for all the replies! Can't believe how much I learn here on Cake Central! Thanks Debi! I always hope I'lll be lucky enough that you'll reply to one of my threads!

indydebi Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 3:41am
post #9 of 15

jasonkraft you are so correct that these M&M's were the exception to bulk buying, but it's a good example of why we still ahve to do the math.

I did forget to add that if I DID use M&M's in that kind of qty, it would have been WELL worht the extra twelve bucks to have 25 lbs delivered to me in one shot as opposed to me carrying 25 lbs worth out of walmart! icon_biggrin.gif

What I unsuccessfully meant to say in the earlier post was that while price is our main concern, we also need to be aware of potential waste, storage costs (square footage is money!), and convenience factors when determining what our "best" price is with a vendor. thumbs_up.gif

kimmerly1966 Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 5:10pm
post #10 of 15

Does anyone ever buy baked cakes? I have not but i know someone that does and she is honest about it, she buys them frozen, by the case. she makes her own fillings etc, but how do you do that and where? she is in a different state, I'm in CA and I do not know that any where really sells frozen layer cakes do they? I might do this in a pinch if i had to!

CWR41 Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 7:02pm
post #11 of 15
Originally Posted by kimmerly1966

she buys them frozen, by the case.
I might do this in a pinch if i had to!

It would probably be easier to bake them yourself in a pinch, or find a grocery store that would sell what you need unfinished. Your friend buys them by the case because she's able to meet the minimum order requirement to purchase wholesale. Do you have a walk-in freezer with space for 40 or so cases? (if so, there are cake wholesalers in CA.)

sari66 Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 10:14pm
post #12 of 15

@kimmerly I know that the Sams club here on the east coast sells frozen cake layers by the case, but only in chocolate, white and marble

pattycakesnj Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 10:40pm
post #13 of 15

I too shop at Restuarant Depot but you have to know your prices. Flour is cheaper there but butter(which has gone thru the roof lately) is cheaper at my local Costco. You can shop at RD with a social security number if you don't have a tax id number (think sole propertiership)

Skirt Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 10:41pm
post #14 of 15
Originally Posted by supakiki

I can usually buy butter for $2.oo on sale, but it's been tough latley, and Walmart's price just went from $2.12 to $2.78.

Here in California, you can buy 4 lbs of butter for less than $8.00 at Costco icon_surprised.gif

pattycakesnj Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 11:04pm
post #15 of 15

2 weeks ago, 4 lb of butter at Costco was $6.79. Not anymore, it is over $8

Quote by @%username% on %date%