Suppliers are the lifeblood of any restaurant. Learn from some of the biggest brands in the food and beverage space to navigate your own supplier relationships.
How to Maintain A Good Relationship with Your Restaurant Suppliers
Without reliable suppliers, restaurants would have to buy ingredients at a retail store, greatly limiting what they can offer to customers. That is why aside from focusing on the menu or the food, owners also have to maintain good relations with food suppliers. Through this, you can have confidence that your suppliers will keep providing quality products and services.
Of course, creating and maintaining relationships takes time and resources. But, by keeping your food suppliers happy, you can benefit from the following:
- Lower costs through long-term cost savings in the form of reduced issues with availability, quality, and supply delays.
- Improved efficiency because of improved communications. As a result, there are fewer order issues and when a problem arises, it will be easier to solve them.
- Increased trust, opening new opportunities as partners, lessens conflict, and better customer service.
- Stronger supplier relationships that lead to reliable business practices and produce mutual respect as suppliers help to support your restaurant.
Therefore, apart from choosing high-quality and reliable vendors, it is equally important to maintain a good relationship with them.
Here are 7 simple ways you can ensure a good supplier relationship
1. Communicate Expectations
Like in any other relationship, communication is key. Being direct and clear to your suppliers about your expectations helps avoid sticky situations down the line.
Every owner has a different way of running their business, especially when it comes to the following:
- Quality Control
- Food Safety
- Logistical Management
When suppliers know your expectations, they will better understand their responsibility in your restaurant. Communicate to them how you measure success and what are things considered to be unacceptable. By dedicating extra time and effort to tell your suppliers this information, you reduce the risk of future errors in ordering goods.
2. Treat Suppliers as Partners
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Your food suppliers are more than just business associates, they are your partners.
To have an effective bond with a vendor, you should have the capacity and capability to resolve problems and miscommunications without damaging the relationship. At the end of the day, both parties depend on one another. You depend on your suppliers to deliver the ingredients you need, and they rely on you to meet their quotas.
One fast-food giant that treats suppliers as part of its success is McDonald’s. The company views its suppliers as collaborators in growth. Given that McDonald’s outsources all of its supply needs, they need reliable suppliers to continue serving their guests.
As a result, McDonald’s has a long list of vendors worldwide that commit to helping them achieve success worldwide.
3. Be Open About Your Plans and Goals
In cases where you are planning to expand or downsize your business model, it’s crucial you tell your suppliers so they don’t feel blindsided by a big change. This can give them a heads up and possibly a better deal if you’re giving them more business.
For example, if you plan to open five more restaurants in the next year, let your suppliers know. By being open about your plans and goals, you are building trust and confidence among your suppliers. Plus, you give them a chance to grow their own business as well.
4. Provide Honest Feedback
A relationship is nothing without honesty.
Your suppliers will value it when you provide open and honest feedback about any problems that your restaurant is experiencing with orders. However, it is also important that you’re approaching issues in a constructive and non-confrontational way so your suppliers will be more willing to find solutions with you.
If you’re having difficulty in receiving deliveries in a timely manner, for example, then bring that up with them. Let them know what’s wrong and give them a chance to fix it instead of switching to a new supplier right away.
5. Pay on Time
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To ensure that your suppliers are here to stay, make sure you pay every bill on time. Because they’re also running a business, it’s important they get paid without delay. But, to protect yourself and minimize the risk of paying late, you need to work out favorable payment terms beforehand.
As you’re dealing with various suppliers with different payment terms, it is important that you can track each one of them and not overlook any payments. You can do this by integrating restaurant software to have a consolidated list and direct access to all your suppliers.
In the event that you’re unable to meet your financial obligations, inform your suppliers immediately. In that way, your suppliers can decide for themselves whether they want to give payment extensions.
6. Order as Accurately as Possible
Having control over your inventory and purchases allows you to keep your expenses in check and ensure quality products every time. More than that, it helps ensure your suppliers can deliver the exact quantity of goods you need on time. Through this, you prevent situations where you’re understocking or overstocking ingredientsーand avoid serious profit losses.
Therefore, keep a close and accurate inventory to order accurate orders from your suppliers. Additionally, when your quantity demand suddenly changes, immediately coordinate with your suppliers so they can adjust and deliver precise quantities.
7. Use Technology to Your Advantage
The wide availability of restaurant software and technology today can solve any problems you come across. These days, it’s vital if you want to improve your efficiency and provide the perfect customer experience. But, you can also use technology solutions to boost your relationships with food suppliers.
Restaurant software helps you to:
- Streamline operations by managing inventory, purchasing, facilitating menu changes, and optimizing other important tasks in your FOH and BOH.
- Control food costs by keeping track of your inventory, which allows you to stay on top of your expenses and vendor prices changes.
- Automate processes that help eliminate human error in all operations. It includes automatically purchasing ingredients when stocks start to dip and automating payment to ensure you pay off invoices on time.
Integrating technology within your operations is the easier way to boost your relationship with your restaurant suppliers. When you know exactly what you need, when you need it, and how you want it—the supplier will be happy to make sure it’s delivered.
And most importantly, it consolidates all your data in one place. That means you won’t accidentally overlook important information, such as payment deadlines or late shipments
Good Food Supplier Relationships = Good Business
As a business owner, you need to know your supplier relationships aren’t just transactional. Instead, treat them as partners to your success. Doing so leads to a better bond and benefits your restaurant in the long run.
However, it is equally important that you have accurate restaurant data, such as inventory, profits, and product cost, to communicate with suppliers properly. It may sound overwhelming, especially if you’re managing several restaurants. Still, there are plenty of restaurant software solutions to help you get the job done.
Try integrating excellent restaurant software, like Mosaic, to run your processes smoothly and efficiently. With Mosaic, you will have access to data about sales trends, direct costs, and inventory levelsーall in one platform.
Maintain good supplier relationships and boost your restaurant’s profitability with Mosaic.
Contact Mosaic Solutions today to streamline your restaurant systems!