Award winning pub group Peach Pub Company works with Lynx Purchasing to buy the majority of the food served by its acclaimed pubs, as well as to obtain the best prices on cleaning products and other business essentials.
Serial entrepreneur Hamish Stoddart and talented restaurateur Lee Cash created Peach in 2002. Their first business, the Rose & Crown in Warwick, was transformed from a down-at-heel boozer into an award-winning business renowned for the highest quality food and drink.
Peach has since opened fourteen more pubs and restaurants, in the process picking up several trophy cabinets’ worth of awards. These include being named Best Place To Work In Hospitality, the Publican Award for Multiple Operator of the Year, and Best Retail Customer Service Team of the Year in the National Customer Service Awards.
The heart of Peach’s approach lies in its innovative partnership model. Peach works with owner-operators and joint venture partners to give them a share in their business and a genuine stake in its success. This has singled out the company as a genuine game-changer in the pub and restaurant sector, but the model also brings its own challenges.
Maintaining robust purchasing controls is one of the biggest challenges facing an expanding business such as Peach. Stoddart says: “The nature of great chefs is that they want to specify their own produce, such as cuts of meat, and to use their own suppliers. For the business as a whole, maintaining central control of purchasing costs is essential.”
Peach has adopted a compromise approach in keeping with the philosophy of the business. Chefs at individual pubs have freedom with carefully agreed parameters to buy local produce or deal directly with local suppliers. These local specialities enhance the menu and specials boards and are a showcase for each pub.
In other product areas, suppliers and prices are carefully negotiated for Peach by Rachel Dobson, a director of Lynx Purchasing. Lynx has worked with Peach since the very earliest days of the business. Stoddart’s background, having worked in his family wholesaling business Cearns and Brown after qualifying as an accountant, made him aware of the potential benefits for the new business of disciplined buying.
“I know how much money I made out of small groups and independents when I was in wholesaling. The basic business model is to push up the margin you make on a customer year by year. Lynx’s senior team also has a background in wholesaling, and a poacher-turned-gamekeeper is the very best kind of buyer for a restaurateur, and that’s what we get by working with Lynx.”
Stoddart estimates that Peach buys around 80 per cent of its food through prices negotiated by Lynx and around 90 per cent of products, other than the drinks range, overall. This includes staples such as dry goods and hygiene products, as well as fresh produce such as meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. “I’d say that Lynx save us an average of at least 3 to 5 per cent over the best prices we could negotiate ourselves. At the beginning, this was even more“
Across the business, that adds up to a substantial saving. “Working with Lynx is more cost effective than it would be for us to employ an in-house purchasing manager, and in Rachel at Lynx, I have someone who I know is a better negotiator than I am, and who is resolute in getting us the best prices. Lynx is out there trying for us every day, and it has been a genuine partnership since day one. We share the pain and we share the gain.”
The partnership continues to pay dividends as Peach expands. Stoddart says: “Meat prices rose very dramatically in the weeks before the peak Christmas season in 2011. We had printed our Christmas menus and taken bookings, and were then faced with price rises from our suppliers on a scale which would have caused us significant problems.
“Thanks to some hard bargaining by Rachel at Lynx, and support from our meat supplier, we managed to negotiate prices that - quite literally – saved our bacon.
“Having worked with Lynx for some time now, I can say I wholly trust them and their method of charging for their services is not only fair, but the best way for a growing business to have its own Purchasing Manager”