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Dining Alliance Buying Group Expands to Baltimore and Washington

The 11-year-old organization works on behalf of its members to negotiate pricing contracts with local suppliers that allow small and medium independent and chain restaurant operators to enjoy the same aggressive pricing levels as larger, major chains. Further, the company monitors its members’ cost-plus pricing weekly to audit for pricing errors and to claim nationally available manufacturer's product rebates. If errors or rebates are found, Dining Alliance completes a claim on behalf of the member and issues a check.

“Typically, participating members can save between 15 percent and 25 percent on their food and supplies purchases, in many cases without breaking relationships or sacrificing quality," says John Davie, president of Dining Alliance. "Members are often surprised when they come on board and receive a rebate check out of the blue a few months later. Members never question the power of the group after that first check," he adds.

As part of its business model, Dining Alliance forms a local Advisory Board of seasoned operators in each market who are charged with contract negotiation and quality control on behalf of the overall members within the community. This way, Dining Alliance is able to review several vendor bids and ultimately vote for the best candidate suppliers in a given product category. The local Advisory Board in Baltimore-Washington is formed of operators from a variety of hospitality backgrounds, including specialty independents, private golf club operators and established caterers.

"Dining Alliance is really a great thing for small and medium sized operators,” said Monroe Zeffert of Zeffert & Gold Catering, a founding member of the Alliance and a board member. “The benefits and savings are endless and only expanding. We are very, very optimistic about the future." Zeffert anticipates he will save more than $50,000 this year based on the Dining Alliance volume prices on meats, seafood, produce and even paper goods and smallwares.

Dining Alliance has member service personnel throughout upstate New York and in the Boston, Baltimore/Washington, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Phoenix markets. Membership is free and the group also provides negotiated savings with suppliers of virtually everything from rubbish removal to payroll processing on a local and national level, extending many benefits to those operators who businesses fall outside the major metropolitan service areas.

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