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Finding the lowest catering supplies & equipment prices - Chefswarehouse tips June 2023

Posted by Peter Domanski on

More than ever, UK businesses face enormous economic challenges so keeping our input costs down is of the highest priority. Finding the best prices and reliable suppliers is time consuming and can be misleading so here we have summarised a more tips to help minimise your costs and save you time.

Use Product Codes in your searches: Just about every product sold online has a product code or 'unique identifier' and many UK catering equipment suppliers sell the same products and use the same product codes (including Chefswarehouse) - even though the product descriptions may vary.  So, when you have identified the product you want to buy, - perhaps by key word or description, note its product code and then repeat your search including the product code.
Use Google Shopping: Although other search engines are available Google is the most commonly used (and generally most useful) tool. For product / price comparisons, use Googles's Shopping category option. Most suppliers submit their product listings to Google so it's the fastest way of finding best prices.
  • From a general search or a supplier site that you are familiar with, Identify the product code for the item you are looking for - say from Nisbets or Chefswarehouse websites
  • Enter the product code into the google search box with a brand name or product name (e.g 'S088 Hygiplas')
  • If displayed, click on the Google Shopping tab option (rather than 'All')
  • View the response (e.g. below). Note, that Google presents a comparison table link (circled in red on picture below) 
  • The Shopping feature will show a number of suppliers for the product and their current prices
    Google shopping search
    It pays to look down the listings: Whether using the standard 'All' search option or 'Shopping', you will usually see the big name suppliers' prices at the top of the search results as they generally 'bid' the highest advertising fee to be in pole position. Although many searchers rarely look at more than page 1 or 2 of results, it does pay to look down the listings. Suppliers who have not bid so high for marketing positions - often with lower operating costs, spend less on marketing so can offer keener prices (such as Chefswarehouse) but obtain and deliver goods from the same importer / suppliers. 
    VAT included or not?: Check whether VAT has been included in the prices quoted, annoyingly it is not always clear and makes comparison more time consuming as you have to do the maths and / or check out a site. The Google shopping comparisons should include VAT in prices quoted, but unfortunately, this is not always the case.
    Delivery Charges?: The price quoted through the google (and other) shopping channel generally include the delivery charge, if there is one. When you click on a link, check the supplier's minimum order for free delivery. For catering equipment & supplies It varies from £50 to over £200. It’s not always clearly stated (until checkout!) but can make a significant difference to your total invoice bill - and the unit price of goods ordered. So, when comparing prices online, just because the price is lowest on Google Shopping, doesn't always mean that it's the best deal when you are buying in quantity.
    Delivery Options: Check delivery charges and when you expect to receive your order. Generally, products held in stock should be delivered next (working) day to UK Mainland postcodes.
    • Is Next Day Delivery offered as standard or is it 4-7 days?
    • Does Next Day cost you extra?
    • Does your postcode put your delivery charge up?
    • Is there a weight limit on your  Free Delivery?
    • What time is cut-off for next day delivery?

    Items In Stock?: Check that your order items really are in stock as not all suppliers have proper inventory control. A “sorry this item is out of stock” email after you’ve paid up-front, is not only extremely annoying but has wasted your time. For more expensive & urgent items just confirm stock is present with the vendor and when you can expect to receive it  (e.g. through the instant chat line) - before paying at the checkout.

    Use a benchmark supplier for comparisons: E.g. Chefswarehouse (our prices are consistently low across all product ranges and brands. Delivery options are upfront - so we make a good benchmark.)

    Price Matching: If your order basket adds up to a sizable amount, try asking for a price match or additional discount -  With a highly competitive market for your custom, its very likely that you will succeed in getting a bit extra off the bill. If you 'abandon' your basket, its is quite common to receive an automatic offer an hour or so later anyway!

    Happy Shopping from - do let us know if you have any more tips to share.

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