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Key Idea: Demand Quality From Suppliers

The Soutos must buy their coffee beans on global commodity markets.  To avoid mistakes, they have internal controls because they know that  their supply chain is critical to their ability to deliver quality.

Key Question:


To insure that they are getting the best beans at the best price, Cafe Pilon has its own taster. The company doesn't depend upon the supplier to ship what it wants to ship.

Even if you are purchasing smaller quanities from your vendors than larger companies, you do not have to accept lesser quality. In addition to knowing what you want and specifiying this to your vendors, you can cement the relationship buy paying early or on time.

Chris Fortune is owner of Graber Products, a manufacturer of bicycle racks. He told us that he tries to limit his supplier list so that he has more influence with each of them. In turn, Chris treats suppliers like valuable partners and they value his loyalty to them.

Questions for this clip: 1 | 2

Think about it

Would it help you manage prices and quality if you reduced the number of suppliers with whom you work?  Do you have a quality control process to ensure that you are getting what you pay for from suppliers?  Do you treat your suppliers like partners?  What could you learn from a  top suppliers in your industry if you had a strong relationship with it?

Clip from: Cafe Pilon, Rowland Coffee & the Souto family

Meet the three Souto brothers; lovers of freedom.

Miami: In this episode, we open with pictures from 1961 just before Castro forced his ways into the homes and business of this family. And though he took over everything, he could not take over their spirit. This family left behind all their worldly possessions but came to the USA with their greatest possessions -- their integrity, their love of family and friends, their creativity, their love of Cuban espresso coffee, and the knowledge needed to rebuild their family business from scratch.

Meet the Souto family, owners of Rowland Coffee Roasters in Miami.  They started with a coffee delivery business, bought Rowland, then Cafe Pilon, then Cafe Bustelo,  Medaglia D'Oro Espresso, Java Cabana and more.

Go to all the key ideas and video of this episode...

In memory of José Angel ''Pepe'' Souto, the Patriarch of the family who died at the age of 91 on November 18, 2007.

Cafe Bustelo Inc.

Rowland Coffee Roasters, Inc.,

5605 NW 82nd Ave
Miami, FL 33166-4000

Visit our web site:

Toll Free: 800-990-9039

Business Classification:
Beverages: Coffee

Year Founded: 1962

Demand Quality From Suppliers

HATTIE: (Voiceover) The brothers make it seem so simple. Buy the right beans, roast, blend and grind them to perfection, then package the coffee to ensure freshness. Nothing seemed simple to me. I saw dozens of details in each step.

JOSE ALBERTO: Well, first of all, this is Fernando Chavez.


JOSE ALBERTO: He's a real coffee buyer. And this is room is so important because here's where the quality is maintained. He checks different types of coffee that we receive, samplers--you know, before we buy it. And then after, he checks it in as it comes in the warehouse.

(Voiceover) Promotion of coffee and roasting is an art. Same way as the wineries. They have a wine taster that takes all the different grapes. We do the same.

HATTIE: Well, so did you like that?

FERNANDO: Yeah, it's OK. It's OK for this time of year.

JOSE ALBERTO: Buying right, to me, means buying the right quality. Pricewise, of course, we always try to buy at the best price. But for me, if you say buying right, it means the quality and that's very important. That's the most important part of our business.

HATTIE: OK. And that's why Fernando is so critical.

JOSE ALBERTO: Fernando helps us tremendously in the sense of he's the one that maintains that the coffee that is coming in every day is the quality that we purchase.

FERNANDO: Well, we basically follow the fundamentals of the market, the supply and demand picture. We follow it all times. That's London, closed down about a half a cent.

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