Case Study

Foxwoods Resort Casino Wins Big With Provista Hospitality Contracts

March 5, 2020
Foxwoods Resort Casino Hotel and Pool

Saving money while delivering excellent guest experiences is one of the many reasons Foxwoods Resort Casino, a sprawling resort enterprise owned by the Mashantucket  Pequot Tribal Nation in Mashantucket, Connecticut, began partnering with Provista, a group purchasing organization.

The Tribe has operated the resort casino property since its opening in 1992. Six years ago, Foxwoods started taking advantage of the Provista Hospitality Program. The relationship has continually evolved, with Foxwoods increasingly turning to Provista contracts for various aspects of the business.

As a full-service resort, Foxwoods operates many restaurants, retail outlets, theaters and other entertainment venues. Foxwoods faces many unique challenges:

  • Finding the right suppliers to serve each line of business.
  • Identifying quality food items that taste great and are priced right.
  • Streamlining operations across the entire business, from inventory to staff servicing guests.
  • Discovering new cost-savings opportunities.

In addition, because the resort was built in 10 phases over 15 years, Foxwoods leverages more than 20,000 maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) items. 
Phil Minichino, chief procurement officer for Foxwoods, oversees everything from purchasing slot machines for the casinos to buying dump trucks for tribal public works projects. He’s always looking for ways to save money, simplify operations and deliver excellent guest experiences.

LEVERAGING THE PROVISTA HOSPITALITY PORTFOLIO

Provista offers a vast portfolio of products and services specifically designed for hospitality. Foxwoods utilizes many of them, including contracts for employee uniforms. With approximately 5,000 employees getting uniforms annually, moving away from custom attire significantly reduces costs. 

“Foxwoods is looking to consolidate to a single uniform vendor,” Minichino explains. “We’ll be able to reduce costs by simplifying and getting away from custom uniforms. Custom uniforms are very expensive. With one vendor, our goal is to go to just-in-time inventory where employees will order new uniforms, then get them delivered and therefore not going into inventory.”

Likewise, with Foxwoods’ large facility, environmental service contracts from Provista can enable huge savings.

“When you clean 9 million square feet, there’s a lot of chemicals involved,” Minichino notes. “Costs add up. We recently bid chemicals and ended up converting multiple items to the Provista contracts.”

Having a single trusted courier is also essential. That’s why Foxwoods consolidated its delivery services to Provista’s FedEx contract for both resort and tribal business.

“We have a lot of variances in the way we do things between the resort casino operation and the tribal government operation,” Minichino says. “What we’ve done with FedEx is consolidate. Accounts payable is very happy because we’re now paying invoices from a single delivery service company.”

BRINGING NEW FOODS AND OPPORTUNITIES TO THE TABLE

To help Foxwoods stay current with food trends and new offerings, Provista sets up customized food tastings between suppliers and Foxwoods. This lets the Foxwoods  culinary team sample foods before agreeing to contracts. For example, Legal Sea Foods brought samples to one of Foxwood’s banquet kitchens so the executive chef and his assistants could taste the products. This led to Foxwoods buying quality foods in the price range per item it needed, allowing new additions to the buffet without negatively impacting costs.

“In coordination with Provista, our executive chef actually created items with Legal Sea Foods, and we think it will be very beneficial and positive for customers,” Minichino adds. “You’re getting a Legal Sea Foods-quality product in a casino buffet.”

Delivering unique culinary experiences is an ongoing challenge. Foxwoods recently opened a new buffet and wanted to make it special for its customers. One difficulty was finding quality bakery and Asian food products, which few suppliers offer. Bakery items are unique because executive pastry chefs are demanding and proud of their products. As a result, they typically don’t like to use premade items. A Provista supplier offered a solution.
 
“Through the Provista Hospitality Program, we worked with National Food Group to find premade quality products that can be used in the buffet instead of needing the labor to make them,” Minichino says. 
 

“Provista provides the leadership that helps us make sure we’re getting not only the best price, but we’re expanding the partnership, growing and finding areas where we can save more.”

SOLVING PROBLEMS AND PROVIDING SOLUTIONS

Provista helped Foxwoods solve some of its most difficult challenges, including:

  • Organizing and streamlining suppliers.
  • Uncovering value beyond cost savings.
  • Locking in pricing to protect against unstable market fluctuations.
  • Consolidating MRO.

As with any company, Foxwoods expects business partners to deliver value beyond low prices.

“Provista provides leadership that helps us make sure we’re getting not only the best price, but we’re expanding the partnership, growing and finding areas where we can save more,” Minichino says, noting that Provista’s ability to provide stable pricing is also crucial. “Price protections are very important to us, especially in this volatile economic environment. From a budgeting standpoint, we want to know what our cost is going to be. We don’t have to worry about swings in the market. Based on what we’ve seen, when the consumer price index increases, we’ve not always seen the same increases. We’ve actually seen some decreases.”

For example, by working with Provista supplier W. W. Grainger, Foxwoods simplified its broad list of MRO items. “With Grainger, we’re consolidating MRO so we can create an item master and work with a punchout list that’s easier for not only operations while they’re ordering, but all the way from procurement to accounts payable and ordering,” Minichino says.

Streamlining suppliers across the business has resulted in company-wide benefits. For example, deliveries were reduced by up to 10 trucks per day.
“We’ve consolidated staffing levels, reducing full-time employee hours,” Minichino states. “We’ve cut our staff probably 20% over the past three years by becoming more efficient in how we operate. This includes using fewer vendors.”

He values the contracts and expertise Provista offers. “Provista has been amazing to work with. Not only have they saved us money with their contracts, they’ve been a true partner,” he says. “Provista helps guide us in the right direction. Provista is like having another group of buyers on staff.”

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