Food service distributors play an important role in helping restaurants stay stocked with the fresh ingredients they need every day. Because of this, it’s important to choose the right company for your operation and business goals. With that being said, there are many things to keep in mind before you approach a potential food distributor. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right food distribution company for your food service operation.
Assess your business’s needs.
Choosing a food distribution company for your food service operation will depend on several factors, including the size of your restaurant and the types of products you need to serve your customers. If you don’t know what your specific needs are, it will be much more difficult to find the right fit. This is why it’s crucial to assess your business needs before you select a distributor. This will determine which factors you will need to consider as you continue your search. As you assess your needs, make sure you look at the following factors to see if they are a good fit for your operation: Type of operation: Are you a single restaurant or a chain? Products: Do you need a certain type of product, like frozen foods? regions: Does your business operate in a certain area? Foods: Do you need certain types of products, like spices or beverages? Service levels: Do you need a certain type of product, like custom orders, or a certain level of service?
Conduct market research.
One of the first steps in finding a food distribution company for your business is conducting some research to determine the type of company you are looking for. This can be done through market research tools and surveys, trade shows, and business networking events. By conducting this research, you will be able to narrow down your choices and determine which companies you want to reach out to. It’s also important to keep in mind that you will likely have to look at a variety of distributors to find the best fit for your business. This is why it’s also important to keep notes as you conduct your research so that you can better navigate the process. By keeping notes, you will be able to ensure that you are making note of the following factors: Distribution model: What type of distribution do they offer? Company mission: How well does this align with your business mission? Company culture: How well is the company culture aligned with your team’s culture? Industry experience: How experienced is the company with the foods you need? Key personnel: who are the key people behind the company? Pricing: What are their pricing structures? Customer service: How responsive is their support team? Distribution network: Does the distributor have the distribution network that you need?
Look for food safety standards.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a food distribution company is the safety standards and practises they have in place. While many food distributors offer great customer service and product selection, some distributors may skimp on food safety standards. This is why it’s important to look for food safety certifications and accreditations.
Consider the company culture.
Another factor to consider when choosing a food distribution company is the company culture. This is because a company’s culture can impact how each employee interacts with their team and the customers they serve. If the culture of the distribution company is aligned with your values as a business, this can help to make your workday more enjoyable. There are several things that you should keep in mind when looking at a company’s culture, including the following: Company vision: How does the company’s vision align with your mission and vision? Key values: What are the company’s key values? How do these align with your values? Company culture: What is the company culture like? What are the key values of this culture? Employee engagement: How engaged are the employees of the distribution company? What are their key motivators? Customer service: How responsive are the employees in terms of customer service inquiries?
Ask key questions before signing a contract.
When it comes to partnering with a food distribution company, it’s important to remember that you will be signing a contract with the company. This means that you need to make sure that you are comfortable with all aspects of the contract. This includes making sure that you ask the following questions: What penalties do they have in place if we violate the contract? What recourse do we have if they don’t follow through with our expectations under the contract? Is there a cooling-off period in which we can leave the contract without penalty? What is our payoff schedule? What percentage of the business will we be opening? What happens if our business operates under the contract? What penalties do we have if our business operates under the contract? What happens if we breach the contract? What penalties do we have if we breach the contract? What happens if our business changes hands?
Choosing a food distribution company for your restaurant business will depend on several factors, like the type of products you need, the types of foods you serve, and the service levels you require. This is why it’s important to conduct market research and assess your needs before you select a company. It’s also important to look for food safety certifications and company cultures that are aligned with your team’s values like Oil & More.