Why Creating Strong Supplier Relationships is Key and How to Develop Them
The ability to consistently deliver high quality food and beverages is one of the biggest factors determining any restaurant’s success. Suppliers play a vital role in that behind the scenes, ensuring that restaurants receive the quality products they need on time to meet and exceed their customers’ expectations.
Therefore, building long-term, strategic partnerships with your suppliers is vital. Here are five ways to get the most out of your supplier relationships.
Limit your number of suppliers and focus on nurturing those valued relationships:
Focus on quality versus quantity. When choosing suppliers look for partnerships that offer your restaurant the most value, not just the lowest price. Think of each supplier that you select as a long-term partner in your restaurant, and they too will deem you to be a valued partner in their business.
Pay suppliers on time:
Your suppliers need to get paid on time, just like any business. To minimize risk of paying late, work out favorable payment terms in advance. If you think there may be a problem meeting your financial obligations, give your suppliers as much notice as possible and be honest and transparent with them about your situation.
Go local, where possible:
Selecting local suppliers gives your restaurant access to the best quality local products available while minimizing long-distance shipping and fuel charges. Working with a local supplier will also make shipments to your restaurant faster by eliminating the long distance.
Invest in building personal relationships:
Get to know your suppliers as people, not to just place an order or to deal with a problem that may arise. Pick up the phone at least once a month to check in and make an effort to meet your suppliers face to face, at least a couple times a year, if you can. Those personal relationships will go a long way!
Keep suppliers in the know about any news or changes impacting your restaurant:
Give your suppliers the inside track about any changes or developments happening within your restaurant, such as new menus or changes in demand of certain ingredients that your restaurant needs. In doing so, your supplier will be able to come up with better solutions and product suggestions to adapt to your changing business.
Provide open and honest feedback:
Your suppliers will value your open and honest feedback about any problems or challenges your business may be experiencing. Letting suppliers know promptly when an issue arises allows them to provide a faster resolution.
Order as accurately as possible:
Keeping a close and accurate inventory of your supplies at all times is essential to keeping your food and other supply costs under control and to making sure that your supplier can get you exactly what you need on time. Of course there will be times when your quantity demands change unexpectedly, but wherever possible, give your supplier accurate quantities when placing orders.
Say thank you:
A little bit of gratitude goes a long way. Recognize your suppliers for a job well-done. Whether it’s a holiday gift and card or a simple thank you, the gesture will go a long way.
Perhaps you have advice about how your restaurant manages its supplier relationships. We’d love to hear your suggestions!