So you’ve opened your own restaurant for the very first time? Well, congratulations at first! It sure is a big achievement and a very wise decision too, considering that the food and beverage industry is one of the most rewarding businesses today. People are always on the lookout for newer tastes and better dining experience and any new entrant in the market is always welcome.
Yet, the task can be quite daunting as well, especially for first-timers. There’s lots to take care of – seating, décor, ambience, and of course the most important of them all, food! It’s the prime substance upon which your restaurant is going to thrive. Interestingly, it’s also one of the major cost-generators of your business because you’d always be in need of it.
And since you’ve opened new, you wouldn’t ever want to fall short of supplies lest turn customers away from your restaurant at any time. Now, with rising food costs, it’d only be wise to start thinking about stocking up food supplies at discounted rates to help cut down on costs. You’d need help in doing so and we’re here to help. Here’s a short guide on bulk restaurant food supply for your business.
Tips on Buying Bulk Food for Restaurants
The prime advantage of buying in bulk is that only when you manage to get a good price for your supplies can you afford to offer food to your customers at competitive rates. This in turn means more business for you in the long run. Here’s how you can intend to achieve this goal:
Consider opening an account with a trusted broadliner. They’re engaged in the business of restaurant food supply in large quantities. Opening an account with them would kick-off regular delivery of the required food items for your restaurant – everything from fresh produce, meat and seafood, to even pre-prepared items. You can choose the frequency of delivery – daily, weekly, or monthly – depending on your individual requirement.
You can find some of the best reliable broadliners in the area where you operate your business from leading restaurant magazines, professional associations, and trade shows. You might be required to submit proof of running an established restaurant and proof of enough funds to ensure timely payment of bills, for opening an account with a broadliner.
Become a member of a retail warehouse. The latter differs from conventional grocery stores or supermarkets such that they sell food in relatively higher quantities. Besides, any food service business, including restaurants, can make bulk purchases to meet their food requirements by becoming a member. It’s that simple.
This method is particularly helpful to new restaurants, some of which aren’t able to secure credit accounts with big broadliner groups. Retail warehouses enable these restaurant start-ups to buy food in bulk.
Contact local farmers and food manufacturers – they’re a vital component of the food supply chain too. You can get all your fresh produce, including fresh meat and dairy, from the farmers. Local manufacturers, such as bakeries, can help you with bulk supplies of breads, rolls, buns, and the like.
You can also consider making bulk purchases from food catalog firms, which act as middlemen between the farmers or manufacturers, buying supplies directly from them and supplying in bulk to wholesalers or retailers. Most catalog companies generally work with canned food distributors for supply of dry consumable items such as beans, nuts, or coffee, and usually offer discounts on large purchases.
If you like to keep your bulk shopping restricted to a single stop for ease of convenience, we recommend purchasing supplies from national wholesale food suppliers. They are truly your one-stop shop for everything you need – meat, fresh produce, dry consumables, dairy products, or desserts. These groups work in collaboration with a huge network of farmers to obtain a large variety of supplies for restaurants.
Organic suppliers are also worth considering, particularly in light of increasing awareness among consumers over the multiple health benefits of organic food. By serving food prepared from organic ingredients and supplies, you’d only be giving a boost to your restaurant business in no time. Organic suppliers can range from large national-level wholesalers to local farms too.
For your bulk fresh meat supplies, you might want to stick to collaborating with local butchers as well, just as you work with local farmers and local markets for fresh produce and dry goods, respectively. They can be your single source of purchase for fresh cuts and even guide you on where the meat’s coming from. Passing on this information to your consumers would speak a lot about your repute.
For supply of beverages like wine and beer, getting in touch with beer and wine suppliers is a good idea. Again, beer suppliers may vary in size – from nationally renowned brands to local craft breweries – and you might want to keep both the sources to offer variety to your customers. Besides, greater the variety, better the price discounts too.
Not to forget, a large number of bulk beer suppliers would happily provide free stuff for your restaurant too – from table tents and pint glasses to umbrellas, coasters, and menu boards – all branded with their logo for promotion but cost you nothing at all!
Similarly, for your wine supply, you may need to make a choice depending on your requirement. For instance, if your restaurant intends to sell more of wine, then you’d be better off working with a sommelier who’d already have established connections with several wine suppliers. Also consider the newer technology of serving wine on tap which is fast gaining popularity among customers and can also help you cut down on costs.
Restaurant business is a great idea provided you have the right connections with the right people who’re reliable to deliver on time, offer bulk supplies at discounted rates, ensure the best quality of produce, and are also able to provide the right guidance on newer products and varieties in the market.
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