Selecting and Working With Food and Beverage Vendors
Your food service business is only as good as the product you provide. Even the best décor, most competitive prices, and highly qualified staff will not make a customer come back if the food or drink is not up to par. You will need high quality suppliers to keep your restaurant stocked and ready for your customers. Choosing and working with food and beverage vendors can seem a bit intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Knowing what you need, what to expect, who the best vendors are, and keeping your orders organized, can make your job much simpler.
Before you select the food and beverage vendors that you want to work with, you will need to know what you will need from them.This means making decisions about the foods and drinks you will need to purchase. You should also know much of these items you will need and how often you will need them. Having your expectations clearly known will make the process of selection and the task of working with the vendors easier for everyone.
You will need to spend time doing research about potential vendors to find out what they provide. If you are looking for specific things from your food supplier, then you will need to find out which vendor provides those services. Beverage vendors are often much simpler to find than food vendors because the choices in beverages are more limited.
When looking into food vendors, start out by asking people in the business for recommendations. If you are familiar with a restaurant that serves only the best quality food, then find out who their suppliers are. Direct recommendations are usually a safe way to find a reliable vendor.
The internet is also a resource of information. You can research various vendors in your area online and read any feedback, reviews or articles posted about them. People often post their opinions regarding the services they receive out of a desire to alert others to problems they had, or to share successful experiences and provide recommendations.
Finding quality product is only part of the deal in your search for vendors, you will also need a vendor that you can work with easily. They must be available, be in your area, have a solid reputation, and be reliable. A good working relationship with your vendor can overcome many obstacles along the way. As in any relationship, there should be commitment, trust and communication.
When you find a reliable, trustworthy vendor with good quality product, then you will need to negotiate pricing. Often times vendors will be willing to negotiate pricing to get your business. Sometimes deals can be made as far as payment, shipment and delivery that will somehow affect the pricing to your benefit. Make sure all this is clearly spelled out before you commit.
You will also need to negotiate product standards, and have an agreement that high standards will be maintained and that in the event of any mishaps your vendor will cover any loss. On your side, you will need to order accurately, pay attention to your inventory levels and keep to a schedule so that your vendor can keep up with you as much as possible.
Limit the Amount of Vendors
In your search for vendors, it is important to keep it simple and not contract with too many vendors. Too many vendors could mean you spending a lot of time on complicated ordering each month. Instead find the few that you really want to work with, although it may cost a bit more, it will usually work out best for your business.