Choosing the right supplier for your restaurant
Choosing the right supplier for your restaurant
Choosing a supplier is no easy task, it's like buying a new car, or renting your first apartment. It requires plenty of research, reviews, and reaching out to people to get their opinion. For all 3 options, your decision will be based on quality, terms & conditions and price. Similarly, when picking out a supplier you need to go through the same process and be aware of all of those conditions.
Firstly, let’s look into the reasons for why you may want to look for a new supplier:
- You’re unhappy with the prices and/or payment terms of your current suppliers
- Unreliable delivery times and order accuracy
- Quality of products do not meet your expectations
- Product catalogs do not include what you’re looking for
- You want to ensure you’re getting the best supplies in the market
Optimizing your supplier selection can save you time (and money!) if done right. If you’re looking for new suppliers, or just trying to stay on-top of your game, these simple questions could help you quickly narrow down your search:
1. Credit Terms
Having the right payment plan that your business can support is crucial for the survival of your restaurant. That is why as a first step, make sure you are aligned on the credit terms and that the supplier is consistent with them. Whether you pay them by cash on delivery or after 30-90 days, you need to be aligned.
Setting those terms according to your business needs will ensure that you are not squeezed by the end of the month and that you have enough cash flow to run your day to day business.
2. Quality and Freshness
The quality of your ingredients plays a major role in the success of your restaurant and the safety of your food. If you’re ordering items with a short shelf life, you want to ensure that the quality of the products are consistent and can always be delivered on time, especially during peak times or emergencies.
When running your restaurant, suppliers will be the people you interact the most with after your staff. Building and establishing a strong foundation from the beginning will help you run your restaurant more smoothly.
So how do you do this? Well, you must ensure that you build trust, respect and are aligned on everything.
Trust should come from both ends and that can only be established with time. So be patient and evaluate whether you can rely on the supplier you have chosen, and if not, scout out for another one sooner than later.
Respect stems from treating your supplier the way you would want to be treated. Don't be rude, set your ego aside and treat everyone with respect and kindness.
Awareness and alignment arises from a constant flow of open communication between you and your supplier. Being on the same page and being aware, for example, of price changes before they are implemented, can take off a huge load off your back.
4. Product Catalog
Find a supplier that has an extensive catalogue that satisfies you in terms of quality, availability, and price. Most restaurants have one or two full-line supplier, and a few supplementary suppliers for seasonal, niche, or premium products.
As a first step, make sure you know what you are looking for. Write down all the items you might need to order and cross-check those items with the supplier’s catalogue and finally assess if they are the right match.
Note, the better you can limit the number of suppliers you have, the better you can manage your costs.
5. Customer Service
Customer service is important no matter which industry you are working in. How does your supplier handle delivery shipment, complaints about delays, or a bad quality product? Are they open in communicating with you overall and listening to your feedback?
Make sure you are in contact with a supplier that cares about your business and will ensure you receive the products you are looking for in a timely manner.
Packaging is crucial when having your ingredients delivered to you. You want to ensure the packaging preserves the quality of the ingredients. You can also look into whether the packaging is eco-friendly. If you plan to display any products to your customers in your restaurant, packaging plays a key role.
The F&B industry has a colossal impact on the environment. From food waste and single-use plastics, to packaging and non-food waste; it’s imperative to take accountability and action for our impact. You can start by looking for suppliers that sustainably source their ingredients and are mindful of their water usage and carbon footprint.
8. Maximum and Minimum Order Quantities
Checking a supplier’s minimum and maximum order quantity is crucial, especially if you are a smaller restaurant or just starting. While some suppliers have small or zero minimum to order quantities, others will. Discussing this before choosing a supplier can save you both time and money in the long run.
Now go out there and find the best supplier for you! Or if you need a simpler and faster way to find suppliers and place all your orders, give KASO a shot!
We’re helping restaurant owners, chefs and managers find the best suppliers on our marketplace, and save 2hrs daily by chatting directly with suppliers and placing orders on our platform. Best part? KASO is completely free!