Serving “amazing food and drink” is the stated mission of CD Pub Co, which operates three gastropubs – the Stag at Offchurch and the Moorings at Myton, both near Leamington Spa, and the Chequers at Crowle, near Worcester.
Menus are built around freshly-cooked food, and include popular dishes such as pies, game, vegetarian choice, a market fish special and a dedicated steak menu.
The group began working with Lynx Purchasing in 2018, and has gradually increased the range of products and services it buys, all from leading hospitality industry suppliers, at prices negotiated by Lynx.
For CD Pub Co director Charles Harris, keeping the focus of the business on delivering a great customer experience left little time to manage purchasing. “Our market is very tough; staff costs have increased, rates have gone up, but we probably haven’t changed the menu price of a fishcake in 10 years, because the customer won’t pay more. We were constantly getting squeezed on price, and to be honest, I was a bit out of my depth on the purchasing side.”
Knowing that Lynx Purchasing had worked with other pub groups, Charles contacted the company. “My biggest problem with suppliers was that I’d get what I thought was the best prices, but they weren’t maintained. When I first sat down with Sandra Woosnam from Lynx to analyse our invoices and spending, it scared me just how much prices had jumped.”
Charles admits to having concerns initially. “A purchasing company has to make money, so I wasn’t sure we’d get better prices. I also didn’t want to be pushed into using different suppliers where we were happy – for example, we’ve used our butcher for 10 years.”
Having reassured Charles that the group could continue working with suppliers such as its butcher, Lynx business development manager Sandra analysed the company’s invoices, and was able to deliver immediate savings in areas including fresh produce and cleaning chemicals.
As the relationship has grown, Lynx has been able to expand the range of products and services the company buys though its recommended suppliers. “Lynx now negotiate prices for us on a range of fresh food. For example, our old fish supplier changed prices every week, which was nightmare because we change our menus quarterly. Sandra now fixes our prices for the quarter.
“They also do many of our consumables, which are the areas where the costs across three sites can really add up. For example, they’re currently looking at a supplier for light bulbs for us.”
Lynx Purchasing now holds regular meetings with the senior team at CD Pub Co, and has produced supplier contact lists, pricing and order sheets, and buying lists for each pub. Chefs and GMs are able access support via phone, email and text, and also receive regular updates on best value products.
Charles says: “Sandra is now our go-to; we don’t approach suppliers directly, we just go to Lynx. One if the things that is really important to me is that I have a point of contact who’s always there. I’ve worked with many suppliers where the key personnel constantly change, which makes it impossible to build a relationship. Sandra knows our business and exactly what our standards are.”
Like all Lynx Purchasing customers, CD Pub Co pays no fees and has no contractual commitments. “That’s all very refreshing. I was concerned that we wouldn’t get the best prices, or would be pushed towards certain suppliers, but that’s not the case at all.