Supply and Demand: Choosing the Right Suppliers for Your Restaurant

choosing the right supplier

Are you looking for the best suppliers for your restaurant business?

Knowing how to choose the right suppliers for your restaurant is essential for success.

44% of restaurateurs report high costs of supplies as major challenges to business. How do you stand out without compromising food quality?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of selecting the right suppliers. We’ll also look at the various factors to consider when choosing a supplier which include quality, reliability, price, and sustainability.

By the end of this post, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to choose the right suppliers for your restaurant business.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in!


The Importance Of Selecting The Right Suppliers For Restaurants

As a restaurateur, several factors contribute to your success. Your menu has to be delicious and innovative; your staff has to be well-trained and friendly, and your customer always has to be happy. One thing many restaurateurs overlook is how important it is to choose the right suppliers for their business.

When choosing suppliers for your restaurant, don’t see them as just product sellers – they are also your business partners.

Choosing the right suppliers for restaurants is a process that can be both time-consuming and frustrating. The good news is that there are measures to help you determine if a vendor is right for your restaurant.


What To Look For In A Supplier For A Restaurant

Here are four key items to consider when looking for suppliers:


1.Quality of Products

When looking for suppliers, it is crucial to look for suppliers with high-quality ingredients.

Does this sound familiar as the long-term goal of your restaurant business?

“To keep customers coming!”

The quality of the meals served in your restaurant is the most contributing factor to having repeat customers. Some diners can cope with average customer service, crappy furniture, or moderately expensive dishes. As soon as the meals served are no longer of the best quality, diners will begin to try other restaurants.

Here are some tips to help you ensure a supplier offers the best quality products:

  • Read reviews of the supplier from other restaurant businesses: a good supplier might have few reviews because of their small customer base. Be sure these reviews are positive and high-quality reviews. If reviews are not available on their website, you can reach out to one or more of their customers via a phone call. 
  • Inspect every batch of supplies you receive: the delivery truck working with a good supplier will be patient enough for inspection. Ensure the ingredients are in satisfactory condition before the truck drives away. 
  • Visit the suppliers’ farm or processing facilities: a good supplier is not hideous, you can schedule a visit to their facility whenever you desire for a physical inspection. During this inspection, you can see how products are prepared, stored, and processed. You could also ask questions about the storage time at the facility before distribution to restaurants.


2. Reliability and Delivery

When looking for suppliers, you should consider those that are reliable and timely with deliveries. 

Picture this; Valentine’s Day is approaching and you’ve advertised specials for the love season. A supplier then calls you on February 12th that their delivery vehicles are undergoing repairs until February 17th. A major defeat for your Valentine’s specials. 

To avoid disappointments like this and other frequent delays, you should prioritize vendors with facilities that are not too far from your restaurant. This gives you the option to pick up your supplies with third-party logistics companies.

Here are some tips to ensure a supplier is reliable and delivers timely:

  • Check the supplier references: you can check a supplier’s references by asking questions like – Who are they affiliated with? Are they part of a union that promotes responsibility at service? How many trucks are in their fleet? Do they work with third-party logistics companies?
  • Review their delivery record: ask about their delivery records from other restaurants that partner with them for supplies.


3. Pricing and Cost Savings

If you’re like most restaurateurs, you are not bothered about small-scale suppliers with cheap prices or renowned suppliers with over-the-market prices. You just want a fair deal for what you’re ordering. 

The cost of your ingredients will influence the price of your dishes. And you want to avoid selling too high or too low – customers are always aware of the price of similar dishes elsewhere. Thus, it’s important to look for suppliers that offer competitive pricing for their products.

Here are some tips to help you get the best deal from a supplier:

  • Compare prices: so you’ve got the quote from a supplier, and it seems fair enough and within your budget? Before confirming the order, reach out to other suppliers of the same products to compare the price.
  • Negotiate the terms: Some factors such as express delivery drives up the price of supplies. You can ask to get your ingredients a little later if you are not totally out of stock. 
  • Ask for discounts: Are you planning a seasonal special and about to order a higher volume of supplies? Provide your supplier with this information beforehand and ask for volume discounts.


4. Sustainability and Food Safety

Everybody wants to eat healthily these days. Diners are now concerned more than ever about the healthiness of a restaurant, the source of its raw materials, and its sustainability efforts.

It is not enough to get health and food safety certifications for your restaurant only. Ensure your partners (suppliers) are offering you safe ingredients and also practicing sustainability.

Here are some tips to help you choose a supplier that sustainably offers safe ingredients:

  • Research the suppliers’ certifications: to research the supplier’s certifications you can ask questions like – are they certified by recognized bodies e.g FDA, FSSC 22000. When was their most recent assessment? Are their certifications available for public viewing?
  • Review their food safety practices: You can get credible information about this from their website or a physical inspection. Some questions to help you evaluate a supplier’s food safety includes: Are their tools and equipment cleaned and sanitized before and after use? Do they kill animals in a proper slaughterhouse? Are eggs stored at the correct temperature? How do they keep vegetables fresh? What do they use in preserving fruits?
  • Review their sustainability practices: Prioritize suppliers that encourage the use of technology to enhance their processing. For example, using modern spiral ovens consumes less energy compared to older batch ovens. Some other questions to ask a supplier include: Do they promote recycling? What steps are taken to reduce food waste during processing?


Your Sourcing Requests, Contracts, And Vendors, All In One Place

Suppliers are a massive aspect of running a successful and profitable restaurant business. You can only serve high-quality dishes if you have the right ingredients.

The food industry is based on supply and demand. With over a million restaurants scattered all over the US, you must ensure you can always meet your customers’ needs.

The factors discussed above can help you evaluate a supplier. Once you know their capabilities, you can choose the supplier that’s going to make your restaurant business a success.

Procoto is a creative solution that helps you manage all supplier information like sourcing, vetting, and contracts in a single dashboard. 

Try Procoto today and start getting suppliers ready to partner with you for a successful restaurant business.