A survey of 73 food-service purchasing agents, representing several segments of the food-service industry, was jointly conducted by The Center for Hospitality Research and Richmond Events. The study found that trust and communication are key elements in developing a strong partnership between purchasers and suppliers. Partnerships have come to be viewed as a competitive advantage for food and beverage purchasers who are looking for long-term economic success. The food-service purchasers agreed that the most essential characteristic for establishing a strong relationship was trust. Trusted suppliers were described as communicating effectively, listening well, and demonstrating a willingness to work collaboratively to anticipate and solve problems. Also important to purchasers is the supplier's willingness to help solve the purchaser's problems in a timely and proactive manner. Communication is another important factor. Suppliers who communicate clearly and directly, and who listen well, are judged to be more effective than their peers. One intriguing finding is that personal connections with the supplier's representative remains an important element of the purchasersupplier relationship despite the increasing use of electronic communications of all kinds. Due to the importance of these personal relationships, turnover in supplier representatives continues to be one of the most troublesome challenges that purchasers face in cementing partnerships.
Brownell, J., & Reynolds, D. (2002). Strengthening the purchaser-supplier partnership [Electronic article]. Cornell Hospitality Report, 2, 4-28.