Finding good, reliable suppliers is a must for any successful restaurant whether it is for food or restaurant supplies. While it is usually better to choose local food suppliers to guarantee having the freshest food, you can save money on restaurant supplies by selecting regional or national suppliers. Here are five tips for choosing the best suppliers for your business.
Request a Catalogue
Even though you can browse through suppliers’ websites, having catalogues on hand gives you an idea of everything that restaurant suppliers can offer your business. You can use the catalogue to pre-plan special events at the restaurant such as wedding rehearsal dinners, holiday celebrations, and anniversary parties. If your restaurant provides catering, then you can also check out their line of wholesale catering supplies.
Getting options on suppliers can help you choose one over the others that sell the supplies that your restaurant needs. Go to suppliers’ websites or third-party review sites to read the reviews from other restaurant owners. If you’ve networked with other owners in your local area, find out which suppliers they use and how they feel about the quality of their products. Ask for recommendations if you’re still trying to choose between local or national suppliers.
Choose Reliable Suppliers
Running out of produce, clean linens, or barware due to unreliable service from a supplier is frustrating and can cause you to lose customers. Ask about the delivery schedules of the suppliers that you’re considering using for food, linens, and hard goods so when you choose one, you can adjust orders so that you don’t run out of supplies. Find out how long they’ve been in business because one that has been operating for several years has experience with all types of situations and will probably be more reliable than newer companies.
Consider Online Availability
Choosing a supplier with a well-developed website can help you keep up-to-date with your bills, allow you to place orders and pay for them online, and provide the information that you need to maintain inventories. Using online tools is quicker than searching paper files to find the information that you need for your accountant or to balance the restaurant’s books. If the suppliers you’re considering do not have good websites, then find one that does.
Choose Suppliers That Communicate
It is important to be in communication with suppliers, especially if there are problems with your orders. A good supplier will tell you when they are out of the products you want, when a delivery is running late, or if there are food spoilage issues. They will also have a dedicated account manager who you can contact when problems arise with your account, such as receiving the wrong order or needing reimbursement for spoiled food or broken dishes.
Using these tips, you should be able to find suppliers to keep appropriate levels of food, hard goods, and linens on hand in your restaurant. Look for suppliers who are not afraid to stay in communication with you and are reliable in servicing your account by delivering goods on time.