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Important Supply Chain Update

Dear H&H Members,

 

We wanted to share some important updates as you prepare for the summer.  Over the past week, many of our major food distributors and manufacturers have reported that they are encountering increased issues with their operations.   While the Supply Chain continues to recover, the additional issues of a reduced labor force (warehouse workers, drivers, customer service) coupled with a faster than expected “reopening” of businesses has created many problems.  Additionally, many of the major food manufacturers are producing limited product SKUs and are trying to increase production based on the new demand.

What does this mean to H&H Purchasing members?

DO NOT PANIC!  H&H Purchasing is working hard with our vendors so that we can help you maneuver through these challenges.  The good news is, there will be food at camp this summer!

 

 

What can you do to prepare?

H&H Purchasing suggests the following plan as you prepare for the summer food and supply purchases:

 

  • Opening Orders – H&H Purchasing has been asked by all of our major distributors to have large opening orders submitted at least 1-2 weeks prior to delivery. By doing this, it helps the vendors to forecast inventory and work with their buyers in sourcing large quantities of product.
  • Order Early – H&H Purchasing suggests having your orders in as early as possible. While you can add-on to orders as the deadlines approach, best practice is to have the bulk of the orders submitted 2-3 days ahead of the delivery day, so that the distributors can review and plan accordingly.
  • Stay Ahead – H&H Purchasing has historically suggested staying at least 3 days ahead of your menu. This summer, we suggest increasing that to 5-7 days.  This means orders coming in on Mon/Tue would be for use on Sat/Sun, with the exception of fresh produce/dairy.
  • Forecast Orders – In an effort to assist the vendors, H&H Purchasing suggests you order your “center of the plate” items now through midway into the summer. For example, if you serve pizza 1x week, H&H suggests placing orders based on expected usage for the first 4 weeks of the summer.  Orders can be placed ahead for each week i.e., June 14, June 21, June 28, July 5.  As you approach the dates, you can increase or decrease the items as needed by contacting H&H, as long as the items are not Special Order. 
  • Extra Storage – If you have not done so already, we highly suggest purchasing or renting extra storage i.e., shipping containers for dry storage or renting a cooler/freezer for cold storage. Additional storage will allow your kitchen staff to maintain a larger inventory that can be reduced as the summer goes on. Pay attention to electrical requirements when renting refrigeration.

How will this affect your vendors?

Our vendor network has gone through many changes over the course of the pandemic.  As the summer of approaches, you may see some of the following:

  • Vendor Changes – Many of our members have been notified of changes in their vendor network. Some vendors have ceased operations, while others have been forced to limit their services. 
  • Delivery Days – Similar to the challenges that many of our members are having with hiring staff, so are the vendors. The already small pool of truck drivers has been reduced again as well as large reductions of warehouse workers who are opting to “stay at home” vs. reentering the workforce.
  • Payment Terms – Due to the lack of revenue over the past year, many vendors have tightened up their payment terms. Additionally, many of the Finance Departments have been completely overhauled with new staff and/or in some cases been moved to centralized locations.  This means that the previous “understandings” and “relationships” may no longer apply.  Vendors have advised us that all customers are being asked to pay within their terms.

How will all of this affect your food costs?

H&H Purchasing is advising our members to be prepared for a minimum of an 8-10% increase in food costs.  If you are planning to do a 4th meal for staff, individual snacks, closed campus, serving in new ways,  this can cause increases in your food costs.   We are seeing large increases in many categories when comparing pricing on popular items from 2019 to 2021.  Additionally, with the planned “bubble” models that many of our members will be adhering to within their camp community, there will be a need for additional meals and snacks. 

 

What can our members do to ensure a successful summer in their kitchen?

Summer 2021 is going to be about FLEXIBLITY.  Understand that many issues that may occur will be unavoidable.  Your staff will need to have a backup plan for meals and understand that with limited products, meals may need to be adjusted.  Due to the ongoing issues, their may also be a lack of product consistency i.e., you may have to use a different chicken tender every time you serve it due to inventory issues.

 

We believe it will be essential from day one of orientation to explain this to your entire staff, perhaps with a focus on adult staff, so that they are supportive of your kitchen staff as well as understanding why your menu may be limited at times.  Additionally, many of the Covid protocols may limit items you normally serve i.e., salad bars, etc.  It is important that they understand the challenges your staff are dealing with and that these changes are not because of the desire to reduce food costs and cutback spending.

 

Now, more than ever, we are your partner in getting through this summer together!