How Restaurants Find Food Suppliers

Whether you’re starting a new bar or restaurant, or running an existing business, finding good, reliable suppliers like is a key factor in your business’s success. Where do you start? Begin by making a list of the supplies you need. That can include equipment (such as deep fryers or ovens), furnishings (tables, chairs, lighting), dinnerware (plates, silverware) on down to the details (napkins, coffee stirrers). Of course, you’ll also need ongoing food and beverage suppliers. Be as detailed as you can. The list may seem overwhelming when you find yourself getting down to nitty‐gritty items like “swizzle sticks” and “cocktail napkin holders,” but it’s important not to forget any crucial element. A comprehensive list will also help you determine your budget for each category, which is an essential step in your search. Making sure you make the right food list from will stand you in great stead.

Once you have your wish list and budget in hand, the next step is looking for supply sources. The best place to begin is with your industry association. Each state has its own restaurant association; the National Restaurant Association has a list of them. Also read trade publications like Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurant Business and Restaurants & Institutions. Bar and restaurant industry websites and trade publications will give you leads on suppliers in your area. If possible, seek referrals from other bar or restaurant owners in your area. When dealing with an vendor like you should make sure you ask all the right questions. The business’s website should list a physical address and phone number, and the company should request your tax ID number before doing business with you. Questions you’ll want to answer before dealing with a new supplier include:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Can you see samples of products before you buy?
  • What are their payment terms and return policy?
  • Is their online shopping cart simple to use?
  • What is the minimum order?
  • What discounts are available (volume, early payment, cash)?

At the same time you’re checking out suppliers, they’re also checking you out. They want to make sure you’re legitimate before doing business with you. If you’re a startup, be sure to have your business licenses, other necessary licenses and permits, and tax ID number in hand before you contact any suppliers. Good start is to define your priorities such as high specification goods, low prices or a specific delivery schedule. Get price lists from all suppliers (they will give them unwillingly ) with their proposed conditions for contract and compare. The key is to establish your preferred outcome. Before make a contract with food supplier, get your price list of item and calculate how much each product costs from each supplier individually. Consider what offer will make your supplier and how you will respond. Compare and you will get the opportunity to save the money at least for your next vacation. Even if you are supplier s main customer if you force to squeeze the price too low you could make your supplier to go out of business. That would not be good for your business and reputation. You should aim to strike a deal that both parties are happy with, especially if you want to do more business with the supplier in the future. If you are important customer of the supplier you could also ask for bulk discounts to get best possible deal.

If you’re a small supplier’s customer, your negotiating power is smaller. Supplier may try to to get rid of old stock through your business. Be careful, don t buy items which you don t need even at cheap price. Find out as much as you can about the state of its order book.

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