For procurement and supply chain leader Provista, creating a true community of customers is the secret to their success
In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to the guests.” For procurement and supply chain management solution innovator Provista, a member of the Vizient Family of Companies, the First Lady’s quote isn’t a mere nicety – it’s the heart and soul behind every commitment they make to their customers.
Provista is a group purchasing organization (GPO), the company’s expansive culinary division is a community connecting all stakeholders across the supply chain, including suppliers and manufacturers, aggregating customer purchasing spend to negotiate low prices on the items they buy every day. Their customers represent a widely varied group that includes casinos, boutique hotels and resorts, entertainment and sporting venues, theme parks, zoos, and much more.
Provista’s broad and diverse food portfolio consists of 60,000 SKUs across more than 310 national agreements, offering their customers access to everything they need for the kitchen to beyond the plate. Their industry-leading contracts for food, beverages, and ingredients range from customer favorites to specialty imported foods. Aside from alcohol, Provista connects customers with everything needed, from food to beyond the plate.
The company also helps customers source and purchase capital equipment for their kitchens, as well as everything needed wherever and however people dine. If it goes on the table, Provista has rapid access to it. From linens and fine silverware for the white tablecloth dining experience, placemats for casual dining, disposables for fast meals, and everything in between, they offer it all – even a vast range of cleaning products that include environmentally friendly options.
Significant buying power can save their customers as much as 18% on their purchases. There are customer benefits in other areas as well, such as waste reduction, and optimizing the labor needed in a kitchen. The cost savings advisors from the Provista Culinary Solutions Group identify the best contracts and find new ways for customers to save. Manufacturer agreements have negotiated, locked-in prices and caps on price increases to better cushion against sudden price surges.
David Richard, Associate Principal of Culinary Strategy and Solutions for the GPO, oversees the culinary initiatives and national strategies for Provista’s hospitality, food distribution, and senior living programs. In his role, Richard crafts go-to-market plans, defines the program vision, and ensures ongoing market competitiveness and successful execution for the company’s culinary programs, customer delivery, and the highly skilled team of industry experts at the Culinary Solutions Group.
He also leads Provista’s Hospitality Advisory Council, which provides the organization with strategic market insights that are extremely valuable in their ongoing development of contracts and solutions for their hospitality customers.
“This is very special year for our organization and very personal to me. We’re celebrating our nine-year anniversary in hospitality, which marks a significant milestone in our diversification journey,” he said. “The decision to expand into the hospitality market wasn't merely a strategic move; it’s a story of our evolution.”
In its initial years, Provista established itself as a powerhouse in providing innovative solutions for procurement, supply chain management, and operational efficiency across various sectors. The company's success in optimizing processes and driving cost savings for its customers laid a solid foundation for future growth into new markets. “One trend that stood out for us was the changing landscape of the hospitality industry,” he noted. “The global shift in consumer preferences, fueled by a demand for unique experiences and personalized services, presented an opportunity for us to expand.”
Recognizing the untapped potential in the hospitality sector, a comprehensive market analysis revealed a growing need for streamlined procurement processes, cost-effective supply chain solutions, and sustainable operational practices within hotels, resorts, casinos, and many other types of hospitality companies.
The ultimate decision to expand into the market was driven by the founding customer of the Provista Hospitality Program, Foxwoods Resort Casino. “Together with Foxwoods we created a strategic response to the evolving needs of an industry in a transformative phase. By aligning with their unique challenges, we aimed to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of this dynamic sector, and created our program,” Richard said. “To this day, we're extremely close to Foxwoods. They are part of our Hospitality Council, and I feel like they are a family member.”
A customer-centric culture
“Everything that we do has the customer in mind,” Richard said. “This is vital to Provista’s success, but it’s also very important to be able to deliver the right solutions to our customers. We have to constantly listen to the customer and constantly change our solutions, our program, and our portfolio to meet their needs as they serve their consumers, who are also constantly changing.”
Their program and solutions help their customers adapt to changing consumer expectations, navigate supply chain complexities, achieve sustainable growth, and drive out costs. Understanding the industry and consumer trends that spur those changes is crucial to the advancement of the services and solutions they provide. One such trend is sustainability and ethical sourcing.
“More and more hotels and resorts are looking at sustainability this year, and they're looking to Provista to be a resource to help them with their sustainability efforts,” Richard said. “Consumers are demanding sustainable practices, from eco-friendly hotel designs to responsibly sourced food and beverage options.”
Richard pointed to the desire for diverse cultural culinary and authentic experiences as another big trend, which is bringing more local community businesses to the mix. Showcasing regional and local flavors has been a focus for hospitality, but connecting that sense of originality through sourcing and procurement to community businesses is relatively new. “We have a program in place that reaches out to local communities and business owners so that we can try and get those businesses in front of our customers,” he said. “Our customers are happy to support the community. It’s something that we need to be proactive about and it's not something we need to wait for our customers to ask for. We must bring this to our customers today.”
A significant differentiator for Provista is a culture rooted in the genuine care they have for their customers, caring deeply about them as individuals, their teams, and their overall business success. The GPO creates connections with their customers far beyond transactional relationships to understanding their unique needs, challenges, and aspirations. This personalized approach enables them to tailor their culinary solutions to exceed expectations.
“This culture of genuine care and passion has been ingrained in Provista from the beginning. We take pride in the fact that our customers, even if they move from place to place, find themselves drawn back to us. It's not just about the services we provide; it's about the relationships we cultivate and the trust we build.” A 35-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Richard speaks of his time at Provista as his favorite.
The loyalty of their customers speaks volumes about the lasting impact of that culture. “We believe that by fostering a workplace where passion, care, and dedication thrive, we create an environment that resonates with our customers. Whether it's in the consistency of our services or the depth of our relationships, our culture becomes a magnetic force that brings customers back, time and time again,” he stressed. “We’re not just proud of the solutions we deliver; we are immensely proud of the culture we've cultivated that transforms customers into an integral part of our extended family.”
Provista’s hospitality portfolio has seen exponential growth since Foxwoods Resort Casino first signed on. From 2016-23, sales in the hospitality segment increased over 1300%, and in 2023 alone, food spend increased over $120 million. Hospitality customers started at only six in 2016 and have grown to well over 20,000 today.
As David and the Provista team look ahead, they continue to let customers lead with their needs and will focus on expanding the food portfolio to more specialty imports, seafood, caviar, and center of the plate proteins.
Provista, a leader in group purchasing, applies the collective buying power of customers to deliver best-in-class sourcing and analytic services across multiple industries.
250 E. John Carpenter Fwy
Irving, TX 75062
Phone Number: 888.538.4662
Homepage Link: https://www.provista.com/
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