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Finding the Best Suppliers for Your Restaurant Amid a Pandemic

The decline in potential customers isn’t the only issue you have to deal with as a restaurant owner.

You also have to consider finding quality suppliers. You want to maintain the same dishes offered to your customers before this terrible crisis started. 

The problem is that several businesses already closed due to the lack of customers. Even your most reliable suppliers might not be operating anymore.

These tips will allow you to continue providing the best for your customers despite what’s happening.

Go local

Now is the right time to consider local businesses. You’re lucky that you can still operate because restaurants are an important business.

You might not have dine-in services, but you can continue making money through deliveries. Other companies don’t have that privilege. Therefore, if you can support local companies, it would be great.

Another benefit is that you can immediately get what you want due to the proximity of your supplier.

If you include dried fruits in making desserts, look for a wholesale dried fruit supplier in your area. 

Tweak your recipe

You can try to be creative in making your dishes if some ingredients are unavailable. You can tweak some of them and come up with something magical.

Your loyal customers might even appreciate your creativity and effort to give them only the best. Who knows? The new dish you come up with might become a huge hit.

 

Never sacrifice quality

Sure, it’s not easy getting the best suppliers right now, especially if your trusted option no longer operates. Despite that, you have to work hard to keep finding a new supplier.

If you can’t recreate a dish without the missing ingredient, you can cross it off the menu. It can have a comeback later once you have found a new supplier.

Your customers will notice the changes and might withdraw support. 

Diverse suppliers would be great 

If you couldn’t contact the suppliers you partnered with before or can no longer work with you; diverse suppliers are excellent alternatives.

 

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The list includes businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ. These small businesses need help more than ever, and it would be great if you can partner with them. 

Change the menu

If most of the ingredients on the menu aren’t available, a simple tweak won’t do it. You have to change the entire menu and come up with something new based on the available ingredients.

It’s better to change the menu and take the risk than not operate at all since you can’t offer the same dishes any more. 

Besides, you can also work on rebranding your restaurant to make everyone think about dining at your place. You may also focus on online advertising if your goal is to reach those who want food delivery.

If we’re at a regular time, you will still consider expanding your menu.

Think about this process as an expedited version of your business plan. Your creativity and of the entire team will get tested during this time.

Be willing to spend more

Your overhead expenses might increase with this tip, but it’s a risk you should take. Tell your suppliers that you’re willing to buy at a much higher price than the selling price.

They’re also running a business at a tough time, and your offer could be appealing. Besides, you’re already a loyal client. Saying yes to you to offer wouldn’t be an issue. 

Consider buying from retailers 

The good thing about buying from suppliers directly is that you can get what you want at a lower price. As you move higher in the supply chain, the cost might go up.

If your goal is to keep running the restaurant, you shouldn’t mind spending a bit more by buying directly from a retailer. These retailers usually don’t run out of stuff since they purchase in bulk from suppliers.

They’re the priority considering the amount of money involved transacting with them. 

Collaborate with other restaurant owners

Given how difficult the times are, helping each other should be a value. Other restaurant owners like you might find a way to get the supplies you need.

You can also return the favor. Although competition still exists, now isn’t the right time to prioritize it. The goal is to get through this tough time and still earn money.

In a way, restaurants are a part of a place’s heritage. If they start to close, it could have terrible repercussions. The worst part is those big companies that people thought were reliable already closed.

Imagine what could happen to smaller businesses that don’t receive the help they need. You can ask around or even partner with people you know. The partnership you build could even last beyond this pandemic. 

Offer a better deal 

Some suppliers are still willing to do business with you. The problem is that they can’t make a return on investment. Make a deal that will make it difficult for them to turn down. For instance, you can purchase items in bulk.

You can also offer to pick up the order or pay for the delivery fees. If your business is still doing well, you won’t mind buying in bulk. Besides, it’s also useful to stock up before supplies run out. 

Things might seem bleak for a while because there’s no end in sight for this pandemic. Restaurants might also remain reliant on take-out services.

You should be patient and wait until things turn around. Eventually, this pandemic will be over, and you can operate normally again. When medical breakthroughs happen, we can expect improvements in a few months. 

Don’t forget to thank the people who supported you through this ordeal. They might also be going through a hard time, but they didn’t give up on you. Return the favor later by offering promotions.

Prioritize your most loyal customers. Give rewards and promotions. At this challenging moment, we should find a way to lift each other.