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Q: Menu Covers / Pouches ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Menu Covers / Pouches
Category: Business and Money > Small Businesses
Asked by: jamiedolan-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 18 Nov 2003 22:52 PST
Expires: 18 Dec 2003 22:52 PST
Question ID: 278128
I am looking for a recomendation on between 3 and 5 suppliers of
various kinds of menu covers.  I am not looking for custom manufactors
of covers.  I am looking for some companies that stock a good
selcetion of covers, that I can choose from and buy.  I would perfer
some companies that sell wholesale.  I perfer us based companies.  The
menu covers I refer to could be a si mple as what you find at Perkins
or as nice as the wine list at Olive Garden.  It is not necessary that
they carry really top end covers.  There covers should be in a price
range of 3-20$per cover for quanities below 50 covers.  No custom
imporiting is required.

Thank You
Subject: Re: Menu Covers / Pouches
Answered By: digsalot-ga on 19 Nov 2003 05:20 PST
Hello there

We can begin here:

6501 Creedmoor Road
Suite 204
Raleigh, NC 27613

e-mail: - - Toll free 1-800-391-0801 - - - Phone
919-844-0801 - - - Fax  919-844-0802

Their online catalog displays a wide range of menu cover options with
many within the price range you are looking for. - JR sales online catalog of menu
covers both ready made and custom

Next, we have:

4 Twiggs Lane
Savannah, GA 31411 

e-mail at: - - - phone at: 1-888-222-7796 - - -
fax at: 1-888-220-6604

Their own words: - - "We offer sewn edge menu jackets with: your
choice of 10 gauge, semi-rigid, scratch resistant, clear pvc vinyl
panels, with either polished or non-glare matte finish your choice of
either leatherette embossed vinyl binding with scrim backing or
thicker, woven fabric binding. The edges of either material has folded
under to make a finished edge, then DOUBLE ROW STITCHED to the clear
menu panels."

A nice online display page and priced within your range: ready or custom

Now look at: (A Division of N.J. Distributing)

260 Creekside Drive
Suite 200
Amherst, NY 14228
Phone: 585-419-8488 - - - Fax: 585-385-2716 - - - Email:
Here I found many elegant items, custom and not, and within your
range.  Many are pouched and pocketed.  A great online catalog to
browse through.

From the west coast we have:

Big Tray located in San Francisco

1-800-BIG-TRAY or 

They have a collection of clear single and multi pouch menu covers
priced "per piece."  You will find the online catalog with
click-to-enlarge images, pricing and shipping information.

Now, a couple of hundred miles to the east:

King Menus
125 W. Taylor
Meridian, ID 83642

 (800) 888-6368 or (208) 888-4688.

From what I can find, top of the line menu covers exceed your price
limit by 46 cents each but at 50 the price drops to $19.08.  However,
they do have other attractive lines available at lower cost. - you will find links to their menu
cover lines at the upper left side of the page.

All five of the companies listed are in the US.

Search - google

Terms - menu covers, restaurant supplies

If I may clarify anything, please ask.


Request for Answer Clarification by jamiedolan-ga on 19 Nov 2003 22:36 PST
HI,  Thanks for your help.  I am wondering if you were able to find
any referance to these or any suppliers offering wholesale discounts? 
Some of the places you listed seem to have prices in line with what
restraunts are paying retail for the covers.  I am looking to find
someone where I can make maybe 20-30% on the covers.  Any ideas?

Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 19 Nov 2003 23:19 PST
Thanks for the clarification.  That narrows things down a bit as to
what to look for.  One of the first things I will do is email the
companies listed above and see if they have any kind of a 'wholesale'
program in quantities you want.  As part of that request, since you
seem to be in the US, may I also include the information that you
have, or will be getting, a tax resale number?  That may make a
difference in their willingness to negotiate prices and help
demonstrate that future business may be at stake instead of just a
single order.

I will also search for additional manufacturers who might in reality
be supplying these guys with materials that they are simply
customizing and reselling on their own.  I will try and keep the
"style" variety fairly wide in order to give you some choices.

Because of the email (or even phone) factor), please give me at least
a day or so for information requests to be returned.  It is amazing
just how slow some companies can be in responding.


Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 20 Nov 2003 10:16 PST
Hello again

Here are a few things I have found while waiting for responses.

This company claims wholesale prices but seem to offer only two
varieties of clear covers.

Kelco Industries -

544 Lewelling Blvd. San Leandro, CA 94579

Fax - 510-483-7766
Phone 510-483-7765

e-mail: -

I am also researching manufacturers as well as resellers and am
finding there is little or no difference between them.  The
manufacturers are also going directly after the individual food
service trade.  I have recieved one response.  The company does not
want me to identify them in any answer and according to the rules
under which I work, I must honor that.

What I was told is that the prices listed 'are' the wholesale prices. 
They say they do not "retail" to restaurants since restaurant owners
already have their wholesale tax identifications or re-sell numbers. 
I was also told that I would find that to be true from any
manufacturing or distribution company I contacted.  The way to lower
the price is to increase the quantity.  Lots of 50 or less will
represent the highest or close to the highest price range from any

Here is a manfacturer:

Jordan Specialty Co.,

140 58th Street - Brooklyn, NY 11220

Toll Free: 1-877-JORDAN5     Twenty Four Hour FAX: 718-238-3221

You will find that are doing exactly what the response told me they
are doing.  Even though they are the manufacturer, they are going
directly to the restaurant trade without going through a wholesaler

HOWEVER - In spite of the fact that they are going directly to the
restaurant owners, they do have a blurb in their website which says:
Authorized Dealers
Please Call for pricing

So it sounds as though they may be willing to work with you.  You
would have to make the call since I don't have all the detailed
specifications as to what you would be looking for.

That's why, even though I passed along to you the message sent me by
the company I contacted, their statement could be no more than an
attempt to keep business from drifting away.  The Jordan company I
have just listed already seems to be an "exception" to that rule.  It
just takes a little digging.

More later


Request for Answer Clarification by jamiedolan-ga on 20 Nov 2003 17:16 PST
For the comapny that you are not able to mention, did they seem to
have better prices?  Can you tell me the most exact google search
terms that I can use to help me locate companies of that nature or to
locate the company that you delt with?

We are a wisconsin based s corp.  We have all approiate documentation
for purchasing wholesale.

My guess is that some of the people who go out to every door in town
and are selling menus are NOT:
A. Only Manfucatures
B. Not marking up there menus at all.

The prices that you sites show for the most part and about the same as
what restraunts are paying.  I am quite sure that someone is making
some money between the manfucatures and the end user.  I just want to
make enough money on these to make it worth handeling them.  They dont
have to make me rich, so if I can even get 15-20%, it would be worth

Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 20 Nov 2003 19:18 PST
While I'm waiting for at least another response, At one time I worked
as a print broker.  It is not really something related to what you are
doing but it does give some insight into how arrangements can be made.
 I'm wondering if perhaps those who are going to the restaurants are
selling menus on behalf of a particular manufacturer or distributer
and their profit is in the form of a commission?  They could even be
licensed as independent business, have their own tax permits, and
still have a contractural arrangement with a supplier??

Because of the pricing structure I'm running into, it would seem there
is some padding in there for that purpose.

There is also the possibility that they are NOT marking up the menu
cover prices but using them as a 'loss leader' for the purpose of
opening the door for more profitable products?  We used to have people
who did that with very nice schoolbook covers, customized with the
logo and colors of the school.  We often sold them for less than what
it cost to produce them.  But it opened the door for other paper
products which carried a good profit margin.  Each of these people
were independent business people, fully licensed, and associated with
us as independent contractors.  As far as the various schools were
concerned, they were local suppliers and local businesses.

Are those who are selling the menu covers also involved in selling
other items such as check presentation covers, menu holders, or even
menu printing itself?

I'm not presenting this to you as any kind of final answer but just
kicking some ideas around as to 'how' the money is possibly being made
between the manufacturer and the end user.

As I mentioned in my previous clarification, the Jordan company does
invite dealer inquiries and prices obtained through such contact are
not published on the website.  They in fact state that they are not.

I'm sure you have also researched this question.  We may in fact be
duplicating efforts which is no gain for either of us.  If you could
give me some idea of what you have already looked at or websites you
have visited, it means I could be looking in a fresh direction.

As for the response I have already received, the company deals with
clear single and multi-pouch menu covers.

The search terms I have been using are menu covers - restaurant
supplies -  wholesale menu covers - menu cover manufacturers -
restaurant specialty manufacturers

One last thing to consider is that the people who are going to the
restaurants and selling direct are not marketing American made menu
covers but imports which have a lower cost to begin with.  Are you
locked in to using only an American made product?

I'm still looking for more responses from the companies contacted.  A
second day response seems fairly normal from past experience.  I will
also be looking online again later this evening.


Request for Answer Clarification by jamiedolan-ga on 20 Nov 2003 22:05 PST
They dont have to be american made, I just made that comment because I
thought it might be eaiser to work with someone us based for the
smaller orders as oposed to try and have small orders come in from
over seas.  But whatever works is fine with me.

I understand that there is the posbility that I may not be able to
make any profit on the menu covers and that I will have to use it as a
loss leader, but I only want to do that if I have to.   It is possible
that the sales people are private and that they are geting a heafty
commision from the manufactuer.

In terms of what I looked at:  I called about 5 people in thomas
register, all of them were manufactures, and they prices were really
really high on smaller quanities.

I have not dont a lot of other searching.  I have been posting stuff
like this online to help me get caught up.  Just too much going on

Thanks again for your help!


Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 20 Nov 2003 22:27 PST
Will have something for you sometime tomorrow then.  Your response has
given me some new directions in which to go.


Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 22 Nov 2003 00:33 PST
Technically, all the sites I have found, including those in the
original part of the answer, are wholesalers.  As for the additional
15 - 20% markup you want, you may have to create your own "value
added" aspect when you are pitching the covers to the restaurant
owners or buyers.  It is part of the selling process as well as simply
having product available.

That last bit about having product available can be a very important
part of your presentation and can account very well for your
percentage mark up. - - - - - - - - "convenience" - - - in this case
it would be an important part of your sales presentation and certainly
is used by your comptitors.  I doubt if any of them walk in the door
and simply lay samples down for the customer to look at unless the
customer is already a well established client. - - "creating value" is
an important part of selling any product.

1 - The restaurant owner does not have to go "shopping" for what you
offer - - - "convenience" and a time saver which has a monetary value.
2 - You can provide instant delivery from supplies you have in stock. 
The restaurant owner does not have to wait for an order to be
processed and shipped across country - - - - once again a monetary
value for time saved, plus a monetary value for convenience.
3 - The buyer can see what the product actually looks like rather than
relying on a catalog picture which often makes a product look better
than what it really is.  Confidence in the product through direct
observation is superior to a secondhand description from a catalog. -
- - "convenience" again - a marketable concept with monetary value.
4 - Related to the previous - - variety - - your customer can once
again eyeball the various products and have the guesswork removed as
to what the final product looks like, feels like and overall handles
like. - - a "convenience" that has monetary value.
5 - Saving on shipping cost.  Since you would be purchasing in fairly
small quantities, it would seem that the customer you are selling to
would also be in the habit of purchasing in small quantities.  Now if
you were only buying one style of menu cover from a supplier in small
quantities, you will probably be paying shipping costs also.  But
since you will probably be wanting to offer more than one style, your
aggregate order from your suppliers should take you above the point
where there is no additional shipping charge.  You do not have to tell
your customer this, though in the back of his mind he is probably
already aware of it.  So, right there you can add a few percentage
points to your price, make sure that the percentage you add comes in
just under what the regular shipping price would be and pitch savings.
 After all, if a customer becomes a repeat order for you, a few cents
here and there can add up the savings with time.
6 - "ALWAYS LOAD" - I'm yelling that because it is something so many
people selling products forget to do.  Too many "salesmen" are glad to
get the initial sale and become timid at adding something else. 
"Always load" means that once you have sold your first product, in
this case the menu covers, always have a second or third product to
offer, such as check covers, menu holders, or whatever tabletop items
you may want to carry.  When the customer takes your menu covers,
assume that he/she is in a buying mood, and "load" another product
onto your first order through a special offer or other come-on. - - -
A good way to do this is to "create urgency." - - "If you buy now, I
can offer...but if you wait, I'm afraid the product will have to be at
full price."

I'm sure you will be doing all or most of the above anyway.  But all
of these things you do are "value added" features whereby you can
justify the extra percentage points and still sell your product at the
profit margin you are looking for.

With the exception of Jordan, the other dealers simply post their
wholesale prices and the cost remains the same whether they are
selling directly to a restaurant or to a middle man.  And it could be
that even Jordan requires large quantity purchases to justify any
price break.

I received two more responses and the only price breaks they offer is
based on quantity.  Whether the buyer is a restaurant or a re-seller,
makes no difference to them.  Based on quantity, their bottom line
remains the same either way and there is no real incentive to cut a
special deal on small orders.

In looking for foreign sources, these products are still being sold
domestically through the same wholesale restaurant supply houses as
American made and the price ranges are the same.  I have also found
that "manufacturers" websites are no cheaper than other wholesale
sites.  The reason being that manufacturer's sites are largely
promoting a 'custom' product and their regular product line is already
being offered elsewhere, though you can buy them from the manufacturer
at the same prices listed elsewhere based on quantity.  Price
differentials between the two sources don't really come into play till
the quantities go up.

Since from the question, your main concern is the profit margin, and
it is surprisingly small at that, you can already justify it through
"convenience" as a value added feature and I would bet dollars to
lollipops that is exactly what the others are doing.  If they are
buying in small quantities as you wish to do, there is really little

If you want, I will be more than happy to add some additional
suppliers to the list, but I'm sure you will find the same situation
with all of them.


Request for Answer Clarification by jamiedolan-ga on 22 Nov 2003 15:51 PST
Well it sounds like all of these places are selling just about the
same item at competitive prices.  It also sounds like I may just have
to mark up these covers to cover my costs.  I really don't care if I
make much on the covers, because I will make money printing the menus,
placemats, etc.
I also offer marketing and PR services, and these services can make me
far more money than selling menus covers ever will.  I just hate
having something that I "just break even" on, but I need to handle it
to be a complete solutions provider...

If you know of some more places that I should check out, please let me
know, otherwise, I will just have to choose from the places that there
are, mark up the covers to handle our cost.

thanks again

Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 23 Nov 2003 09:32 PST
I have searched through dozens of links and find that there is little
diference between market pricing per grade of product offered.  There
are some which seem very high at the upper end luxury lines.  I also
never knew before people collect menu covers as a hobby.  When I got
to that point on my searches, I figure I had passed through most of
the bulk and wholesale suppliers.

The companies in the intitial answer are still among the best.  The
reason being is that was what I was looking for when I posted the

I even checked the lists at E-bay.  Yep, they've got over 30 pages on
menu covers.  Some seem reasonable and are offered in quantity such as
packages of 10 or 12 and many are high end one-of-a-kind collector
pieces.  Just in case??

I'm sorry that when it comes to wholesale pricing, I can't seem to
come up with any that "wholesale to the wholesaler," in any way other
than larger quantities.   It is largely the quantities you are looking
to purchase that create the limitations.

I'm continually stumbling over things by accident while looking for
something else.  If I run into anything that may seem be of interest,
I will post to you in comments.

Thanks for all your patience while I've tried various things to get
past the small quantity barrier but it seems to be a very high wall.

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