The quality of your food in a restaurant is going to be what keeps people coming back. If you choose to go with less fresh food and less quality, it is going to show, and you’ll find pretty quickly that your customers aren’t happy and won’t be back. Of course, excellent service is also part of the recipe for restaurant success, but the food is the most significant ingredient. Which is why the right vendors are the key to your restaurant success.
So how can you make sure your vendors are the right people for the job?
You can’t expect to get the first choice of cuts or the freshest vegetables if you are a fairweather orderer. Or if you turn up and don’t try and connect with suppliers on a more personal level. A great working relationship is essential to you getting consistently great service and produce. You supplier and you should have a relationship where you can actually complain, or compliment and either way, there will be good feelings and a strong relationship.
If you are going to want to pay the bottom dollar, you’re going to get the bottom of the barrel. But it really pays to try a range of suppliers at different price points. You and your staff should source produce from many different places. This was you will have an incredible idea of who does what best. Top meat suppliers for restaurants and bars are in high demand, and because of that, you need to be happy to pay what they are asking. Trustworthy, reputable and high quality is more important than the price.
The people who have access to seasonal produce, and are on the front line and see what people are buying are the ones who know what other people are buying and when. The trends in food will be apparent to them, and the evidence is on the order form. They won’t be able to tell you who is ordering what product, but you can ask what is popular right now, and what they will be ordering in the next few months. It can help you build menus that are on the pulse.
When you are building a good relationship, you are building trust. You need to know that they have your best interest at heart and not just the bottom line. And you will need to display your loyalty and also come through with payment. A great example is ordering a specific berry or meat cut for your menu, and it is not going well. You’ve already committed to purchasing X amount for that season and can’t simply back out of the deal when the order arrives with the vendor. Instead, you need to bite that bullet and stay true to your word.
Not Just You
You can bet your bottom dollar that they will have plenty of other restaurants who rely on them. You can’t go in and act like you are the only person they work with. You need to be aware that they will have other calls, and people purchasing at the same time as you. Respect their time, and they will respect yours in return.
Always remember that the right vendors will be the key to you being able to serve amazing food, and treat them with the respect that they deserve.