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Restaurant Suppliers: What do Customers Expect?

restaurant suppliersChoosing which restaurant suppliers to buy from is one of the most important decisions chefs can make. Suppliers need to meet a restaurant’s many requirements such as payment terms, food quality, delivery times, and more.

Many small and niche suppliers consider restaurant chefs their most profitable market. These chefs need fresh, high-quality ingredients and are often willing to pay top dollar for it. Even more so if it’s locally-grown.

In competitive times, suppliers need to think of new ways to build stronger relationships with customers. Let’s look at a few ways to do so.

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Chef Hinnerk von Bargen notes: “Don’t wait for chefs to tell you what they need. Surprise them. You have to let them know about the latest gadgets and innovations.” He goes on to say that chefs are often too busy to attend industry conferences to keep up on every new development. It’s up to suppliers to find new ways to get in front of them.

Keep up With Culinary Trends

Chefs are on the front line, not only shaping culinary trends, but responding to them. Many digitally savvy chefs expect restaurant suppliers to keep up and develop a working knowledge of these latest food trends. Exactly how are your food service customers adjusting their menus accordingly? Take advantage of the many online resources available, like the latest Chef Survey.

Embrace Emerging Tech Solutions

Chef Tony Marciante writes on the subject of tech adoption in the kitchen and how it can hopefully disrupt the restaurant supply chain. He notes:

“Until recently, [...]I spent close to two hours putting together food orders with five to eight different suppliers. There was no transparency on pricing, everything was done on paper and communicated via phone or by fax. None of my suppliers offered email and most couldn’t even take a scanned-in order. While larger establishments may have an ordering manager, most sole proprietors do their own ordering. A mistake in one purchase can be very costly, and chefs like to make personal decisions about possible substitutions. This a big part of my 70-plus hour work week.”

Online solutions like exist to address exactly this type of industry pain point.

Become a Complete Resource

Restaurant suppliers need to think of themselves not simply as a provider of food and equipment. They need to remember that they are a business partner and a key player in all of their customers’ success.

What resources are you sharing with customers? Does your company have a blog? Are you offering helpful recipe tips? Sharing industry research on your website and via social media channels?

Restaurants will support those suppliers that establish themselves as a resource beyond that of provider-of-goods. Do you have contacts at a marketing agency? What about a graphic designer specializing in menu design? Suppliers benefit directly from increased sales in the restaurant. Give your customers the leg up as often as you can.

Get a Little More Social 

Connect with your customers in multiple ways. Do some research, find their various social media accounts, and follow them. Share their content, and help spread their messages. Again, their success is ultimately yours. Connect with not only official business accounts, but chefs’ and managers’ personal accounts as well. It’s an easy way to stay informed about changes and special events occurring at your customers’ establishments. Staying updated on new happenings allows you to offer more tailored solutions for these customers.

So, what do chefs want from their restaurant’s suppliers?

We think affordable prices, reliable delivery, and quality products should be taken as givens. What we’ve highlighted are attempts to go beyond the required standards. Do you have suggestions for suppliers on how to better serve their customers? Tell us about them in the comments.

Food suppliers: interested in becoming a part of the community? Suppliers can join at any time at absolutely no cost. Learn more at the button below. - Online Marketplace for Restaurants and Suppliers


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