Have you ever thought that you would like to open a restaurant? Who hasn’t! There is a certain romance inherent to the idea of making wonderful food and welcoming guests to your unique establishment, kind of like a permanent dinner party. If you haven’t got good suppliers, this dream can become a nightmare.
Here are some things to consider when choosing restaurant suppliers:
Price and Quality
You may be attracted by extremely low prices offered by one supplier, but if the quality of their product is low, you may find yourself with a lot of unsaleable product. Worse yet, you may do great damage to the reputation of your restaurant and not be able to overcome it. Conversely, a supplier may have fantastic product, but if there is no way your customer base will pay the required mark-up on it, then you will lose money with it. Know your customer and choose your supplier accordingly.
Minimum Order Requirements
When Bulk shopping first came out back in the day, didn’t everyone buy that super giant jar of mayonnaise – that sat in their fridge for a questionable number of months (or sometimes years) before someone finally got grossed out enough to throw the remainder away?
Some restaurant suppliers may have minimum order requirements that are too big for your business. In this case it is better to go with a slightly higher priced option that is more in line with what you can actually use in a reasonable period of time.
If you have no fresh product, you cannot operate your business. You need to make sure that your restaurant always has what it needs at the agreed upon times. If you choose a supplier who hasn’t been in business very long or who is undergoing a period of rapid growth or other change, you might need to have a backup supplier just in case they can’t deliver on time.
Many small business owners find themselves wearing all kinds of different hats. From restaurant manager to head chef to bookkeeper, you will have plenty to do all day. It will be very helpful if you do not have to rush off at awkward times to pick up supplies or spend inordinate amounts of time receiving deliveries. Choose a supplier with a delivery schedule that works for your business.
Many suppliers specialise in businesses just like yours and can offer you advice on the most efficient way to order and keep you informed of industry trends. They may offer financing programs or special customer loyalty programs to help your business.
Your suppliers are your partners in the restaurant business. They want you to succeed so that you (and they) will make money. Like any relationship, you must carefully choose the right one.
Image Courtesy of David Boyle in DC via Creative Commons License