El Pelon opened shop in 1998 when owner, Jim Hoben, decided to introduce his take on Mexican cuisine to the Boston food scene. The first location opened near iconic Fenway Park. In 2010 a second location was added on Commonwealth Avenue, near Boston College. Jim Hoben is no rookie to the restaurant business. Understanding that running a successful restaurant requires the need to be organized and efficient in all areas of the business. One of his biggest challenges was controlling food cost.
When it came to food purchasing Jim knew there was opportunity for improvement. “In the beginning, our sales reps would come by once a week to take our orders.” He found this to be a total waste of time. “All vendors say they have the lowest prices, and they may on a few items, but at the same time they may not have the cheapest prices for the total order.”
Jim looked at improving the ordering process, “I’ve wanted to move toward online purchasing with our vendors for a while, and most have online ordering available, but having to log into each suppliers’ website was very tedious and inefficient.” Complacency was also a problem. “The issue we found with ordering through multiple systems was they were never truly transparent, at the outset our purchasing cost started off okay, but we found after a while we ended up gravitating to one vendor, for the sake of convenience, and the food cost would eventually go up.”
In September 2015, Jim was introduced to Sarbari Technologies. Sarbari offered the MyOrderPlacer application as a solution for his challenges. “What I like most about the MyOrderPlacer application is that it’s my system. We can add or remove any supplier we choose, and their prices are always current. All we need to do is build our order and the software shops for the best deal and sends the order to the appropriate suppliers automatically.”
“My staff loves the software. We’ve saved a lot of time placing orders and I have watched our food cost come down dramatically… While costs are always rising I have noticed that the food cost has remained very stable and allows us to continue to offer very reasonable prices to our guests and stay within our margins.”
“The on-boarding was super easy and my customer service contact, Nicolo, is always quick to get back to me whether we have a question or want to add a vendor… We have been in business for a long time now and have seen a lot of purchasing systems come and go. The fact that we pay a small subscription for our software gives us a peace of mind and proves to us that we are the clients and there won’t be some hidden exchange that happens behind the scenes as with other systems.”
“My goals for the future are pretty simple but meaningful. I want to be able to continue doing what we have been from the start, which is working with great staff, customers, and vendors to continue our success. I am also looking forward to getting both my kids through college; one has already started and other is up next. Lastly, I would like to learn how to play tennis. Right now, I play like I’m wrestling a grizzly bear… It’s ugly to watch and I always lose in the end.”