Dec 12, 2017
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Step 2 – Procurement and Receiving


A well planned menu and standardized recipes provide the basis for food purchasing.  However careful planning is also necessary to ensure the needed food items are available and in the appropriate quantity for food production. Remember the goal is to purchase “the right product, at the right time, in the right quantity, from the right supplier and at the right price.” Too little food may lead to resident dissatisfaction, while too much food often leads to overproduction and excess cost. Remember to consider service and quality when selecting a vendor, not just price. Purchase food from safe and approved suppliers, suppliers that have been inspected and in compliance with regulatory requirements.  Check references concerning their service and reliability.  Questions to ask when selecting a vendor include:

  • Are you inspected by an independent source to insure food safety?
  • Is written proof of government-inspected meats available?
  • Will I be allowed to set the day and time of delivery?
  • Are delivery trucks clean and well-maintained?
  • Do your delivery trucks have refrigerated and/or have separate freezer sections?
  • May I contact some of your current clients in regards to the quality of foods and type of service you provide?
  • Do the driver’s schedules allow the facility staff sufficient time to inspect foods before they leave?
  • What is your return policy on damaged or questionable products due to food safety concerns?
  • When may I inspect your warehouse?
  • What are the terms of payment?

For efficient, cost effective purchasing develop product specifications for the food items you use.  The benefits for writing product specifications include: easier menu writing, eliminating misunderstandings with purveyors, true competitive bidding, improved work efficiency, and product standards for when receiving goods. Also try to limit the number of vendors used.  Limiting the number of vendors simplifies the ordering process, avoids delivery minimums and/or excess ordering, takes advantage of volume pricing, and allows more effective working relationships with the supplier.  Other purchasing tips include:

  • Limit the responsibility of ordering to one or two people, preferably a manager or supervisor. This will help keep costs under control, while maintaining the quality of food purchased.
  • Develop and maintain an Ordering and Receiving Schedule that includes:
    • suppliers and the general category of products you order from them,
    • the day orders are to be placed,
    • the days orders are received, and the
    • vendor contact person and phone number.
  • Develop and use order guides.  The order guide should include a list of items regularly ordered, their unit of measure, inventory on hand, and then the amount to order.
  • Product may be ordered as:
    • Par Stock = an established maximum quantity that should be on hand at any given time, i.e. spices, flour, sugar.
    • As Needed = quantity needed – quantity on hand = quantity to purchase, i.e. menu items.


Receiving is essential in the flow of food to control food cost. Effective receiving procedures assure the quality of food is maintained and that the product ordered was delivered and available for production.  The receiver must be well trained, competent, and honest. In addition, management should periodically monitor receiving practices to assure that that the specified food quality, quantity, and price are met.  Proper receiving procedures reduce items being shorted by either count or weight, paying for product that was not delivered, and theft.

Receiving practices should minimally include:

  • Verify that the quantity, quality, and price for each item match the purchase order.
  • Keep the receiving area clean and uncluttered.
  • Limit access to food personnel.
  • Establish and enforce delivery times during off-peak hours. Check for weight, number, price, temperature, condition, expiration dates.etc.
    • Refrigerated foods are received at 41°F or below and frozen foods at 0°F or below.
    • Frozen foods are solid and show no signs of thawing and refreezing, such as the presence of large ice crystals or liquids on the bottom of the carton.
    • Integrity of food packaging is intact
    • Product  expiration dates are appropriate
    • Inspection stamps and date codes are present where appropriate.
    • Verify freshness by color, odor, touch, and package conditions
    • Cases are whole with no dented or rusty cans or broken seals
    • Crates and shipping container are clean
  • Verify shipping/receiving documentation is accurate and complete.
  • Driver to remain on premise while order is checked for completeness, quality and accuracy.
  • Return/credit policy is in effect
  • Inspect deliveries immediately and put items away as quickly as possible.
    • Both refrigerated and frozen items need to be moved to refrigerator and freezer immediately.

To maintain the quality of the goods received immediately begin the process of moving the product from receiving to the appropriate storage, and don’t’ forget to always forward the paperwork to the proper personnel for processing and payment.

Continue with the next step in the process Step 3 – Storage & Issuing as we follow the flow of food to control food cost.

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