Dealing with distributors and wholesalers to food service can be difficult. It's not hard to find foodservice distributors and wholesalers because they are everywhere. The issue is identifying foodservice distributors and foodservice wholesalers you can count on to deliver the best quality produce at the lowest price. And, you must constantly re-evaluate your choice of foodservice distributors and wholesalers based on the changing market.
It is tempting to stick with one food distributor and just order what is available, but if you do this, you will pay the price. Your food distributor will suddenly offer you prices that are less competitive. Also, your customers may notice a drop in quality, which could be devastating in a competitive market such as food service.
Keep these things in mind when buying fresh produce for a restaurant :
1. How far did the produce have to travel from the field to the foodservice distributor to your restaurant?
2. Are the foodservice wholesalers knowledgeable about this particular product?
3. How reliable has the restaurant distributor been in the past?
Get the skinny on foodservice distributorsThere are so many distributors and wholesalers to foodservice, it is hard to know where to start. Every industry has a standard, and wholesale food is no exception. You can rely on information from those who set the standard for the industry.
Keep an eye on the wholesale foodservice industryWhen foodservice distributors and foodservice wholesalers buy perishable products, they take a gamble on how much they can sell before the produce expires. It's important to know what's happening in the foodservice distribution industry. When you understand and follow the trends in this business, you'll make smarter buying choices.
Monitor the commodity marketWhen it comes to fresh meat and produce, the market changes with the seasons. Restaurant wholesale is based on that fluctuating market. Supply, demand, weather and natural disasters can all have an effect on the price of food.
- When your produce arrives, take notes on its quality and freshness, and record which foodservice distributor it came from. Since the market in fresh produce changes daily, use those notes for the next day's order. Don't sacrifice quality to be a loyal customer because the benefits will never outweigh the price.
- Learn to negotiate with your restaurant distributors. Food distribution is extremely competitive. The longer the distributor has to hold fresh produce, the less it's worth. When you deal with restaurant distributors, remember they are holding the "hot potato."