Have you ever wondered where restaurants get their ingredients to make all the delicious food that they do? The simpler answer to it is the restaurant food supply! Every restaurant, small or big, has a food supplier to cover all of its various types of needs. A food supplier comes in different shapes and forms for a restaurant. Some suppliers send them the chickpeas which are used to make your favourite hummus, while some suppliers provide something as small as quality tissue paper!
Restaurant suppliers are vendors selling products directly to restaurants; they can be local farmers, wholesalers, or speciality suppliers (explained below).
If you are new to the restaurant business, you must have realized the challenges associated with restaurant food supply. Forget all your worries, as this blog explains everything necessary regarding restaurant food supply.
Know How Restaurant Food Supply Works!
A food supply chain is a process through which components produced on farms end up on our plates. A food supply chain goes through the primary four stages: production, processing, distribution, and consumption.
- As an owner, once you start your restaurant business, you’ll be looking for food suppliers. Restaurateurs generally find suppliers through their contacts, network, and the internet.
- Once restaurateurs have a list of vendors, they ask for quotations from these suppliers. Generally, restaurants receive multiple quotes, review them, and negotiate the prices (fixed pricing or based on daily fluctuations).
- As you onboard your suppliers, work out all the terms of the partnership with them, including delivery time & place, credit period, payment mode etc.
- After all the details are finalized and you start receiving deliveries, the next step is turning those raw materials into delicious food, and then
- get them to your tables!
Types of Restaurant Food Suppliers
A restaurant has multiple options available to choose from to get its food supply. Here are different types of restaurant food suppliers.
1. Wholesalers and Distributors
Wholesalers and distributors provide bulk and regular deliveries of restaurant food supplies. These are your large-scale one-stop supplier for all your needs, ranging from vegetables, fruits, dairy, meat, etc. Although you get consistency with these suppliers, your restaurant will not get special attention and may easily get overlooked.
2. Farmers and Local Suppliers
Another channel to get your raw material supply is directly from farmers and local suppliers. Farm-to-table restaurants are the new buzz. People are looking for more and more restaurants which locally source their food ingredients. You get fresher ingredients when you source locally, but it gets limited to available local ingredients, and you need to order from multiple sources.
3. Specialty Suppliers
Speciality suppliers will give you products you cannot find from a generic supplier, like meat suppliers, wine suppliers, or those specially made cakes your customers like!
How to Finalize Your Restaurant Food Supplier?
It can be arduous to finalize a restaurant food supplier, but we are here to make it easier for you! Follow these quick pointers to find suitable suppliers for your restaurant.
1. Price Range
Anytime you finalize a vendor, the first and one of the most crucial things you check is their prices.
- As restaurants need large quantities of ingredients, buying bulk and saving costs work for them.
- Compare prices offered by various suppliers to make sure you receive the best deal.
- The price of perishable vegetables keeps fluctuating. Therefore, we recommend you pay fixed rates for all your product needs.
- Products like milk, meat, fruits and vegetables have a small shelf life. Find a balance to avoid food wastage and keep your inventory fresh. Because a supplier sells you at a lower price, don’t stock perishables needlessly.
2. Great Quality
Along with offering food supply at lesser prices, it is equally vital they get your good quality products.
- The quality of your products should be of high priority.
- Take note- your products need to be fresh! Discuss the freshness and shelf life of ingredients with the supplier before placing a purchase order
- It is best to sample the products before you go ahead with the suppliers.
3. Multiple Food Suppliers
Is keeping one restaurant food supplier enough for all your needs?
- You may like the tomatoes one supplier gives, while the potatoes of another supplier. Multiple food suppliers will ensure wider variety. Also, this way you’d be well-updated with any and every price fluctuation in the market.
- You can segregate your supplier based on your overall requirements and hire speciality suppliers for specific needs.
- Stay moderate with the number of suppliers you keep, or it may get messy. You can keep one significant supplier and 2-3 smaller ones. Alternatively, you can save multiple suppliers for the same products to reduce dependency on one supplier.
4. Distance and Time
How long does it take for your products to reach you? And who will be bearing the transport cost?
- Ideally, the suppliers need to be located close to you so that fresh products can reach you on time regularly.
- Distance is hugely critical in cases of emergencies when you need your supplies quickly. If you run out of an ingredient during a busy day and cannot offer your bestselling dish, it can be a massive disappointment for your customers.
- The farther your supplier is from your restaurant, the more you will have to spend on logistics for the delivery, increasing your menu prices.
5. Check the Packaging
Packaging impacts a product’s shelf life. Scrutinize your vendor’s packaging.
- Feeble handling of food packaging can adversely affect the taste and quality of your ingredients. For instance, certain packaging materials like some types of plastic, polythenes, and styrofoam release toxins when they are heated, proving to be dangerous for consumers.
- Food needs to be appropriately packaged to maintain its freshness and avoid spoilage during shipping. Once the products have been delivered, ensure you have adequate food storage methods in place.
Keep In Mind!
- Keep reevaluating your vendors and agreements to get better deals and services. However, be careful when you decide to switch your vendors. Hold proper trials to ensure your products’ taste stays the same as the vendor changes.
- Document All Your Agreements! It is critical to maintain clarity and avoid any future disagreements.
- Maintain healthy relationships with your food suppliers as you interact with them daily.
There is no one type of restaurant supplier fitting every restaurant. Carefully evaluate your restaurant needs before finalizing the suppliers that work for you. Following the above steps can go a long way in effective restaurant food supply management and improve your overall operations.
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Key Features of using Suppliers Hub:
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- Unlimited FREE sampling requests
- Negotiate your own terms
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