How to pick a food supplier that is right for your venue

Business Tips

Finding a new food supplier is a daunting task and one that can take a long time. Endless Google searches, meeting with sales representatives, trying to track down price lists - it's never ending!

Here are a couple of things to help you keep your eye on the prize when searching for new wholesale food suppliers, plus they're all really easy to do with Foodbomb!

1) Minimum orders – Food supplier minimum orders are fairly low these days, particularly when all transactions are paid upfront with Foodbomb, however it's still important that you select a supplier you're able to easily hit the minimum order with. Whether you're ordering every second day or every week, a manageable minimum order amount will avoid you over-ordering to simply meet these amounts.

2) Delivery days & times – Most suppliers offer free next-day deliveries 5-6 days a week, but not all do. The importance of a wholesale food supplier's delivery days and time will very much depend on your individual situation. If storage and or freshness is a major issue for your foodservice venue, then ensure that deliveries to your area are available as frequently as you need it.

3) Product range – Many restaurants and cafes place a lot of importance on finding a supplier that can offer the best price for the product they use the most. While this isn't a bad idea, you also need to make sure this preferred food supplier can fill all your other needs competitively within the same category.

For example if you're a café that uses a lot of bacon, and you've found a supplier that has competitively-priced bacon, then you'll also want to ensure that the supplier is able to deliver the full range of meat products you need. Whether it be burger patties, chicken breast or rump steak, by selecting a supplier with an extensive product range, you're able try new products or different alternatives for your menu - keeping it dynamic and interesting.

4) Price – While price equals quality for some products (like Wagyu beef), there are several other factors that will influence a supplier's wholesale price, such as:

  • Quantity - Greater volumes are the easiest way to get better pricing. If you're buying large quantities of a specific product, speak to your Foodbomb Account Manager and they'll help you organise competitive custom pricing from your preferred supplier.
  • Order less frequently - This may seem counterintuitive however if you're able to order larger quantities less frequently then your wholesale food supplier may be able to offer more competitive pricing. Think of it this way - if you were a supplier paying for a network of delivery trucks would you prefer a customer that spends $200 five times per week or one that spends $1,000 in a single weekly order? Definitely the latter, think how much the supplier would be saving on petrol and driving time! Whilst we understand it's not always possible to buy $1,000 worth of produce in one go, its definitely worth investigating if you have the storage space.

5) Quality and consistency – You've found a new suppliers with great prices, amazing quality and even better service, however after a couple of weeks you notice the quality begins to drop and prices start to increase.. Unfortunately, this isn't uncommon and you do need to monitor a new supplier, however ordering with Foodbomb can help mitigate some of these risks:

  • Firstly, you have complete price transparency with Foodbomb. We've found that suppliers who are confident in displaying their prices alongside those of their competitors tend to offer industry best prices and service. Our suppliers are under no illusion, they know a customer can easily try a competitor if the order doesn't meet expectations - so they're always going to give you their best.
  • You can read what other venues think of a supplier with Foodbomb ratings and reviews available for each supplier. Obviously first hand experience is best but if you don't have anything to go off, getting the opinions of other venues will help when looking for a new supplier.
  • Low minimum orders - most Foodbomb suppliers have low minimum orders as you're paying for your order with a credit card. This makes it easy to try them, and with no contracts or credit checks - it's quick and easy to trial a supplier, ensuring their level of quality meets your expectations.

6) Customer Service – Every supplier will make a mistake from time to time. Whether that be with missing items, incorrect billing or late deliveries. We're all human, however the important thing is to know that your problems are dealt with quickly and don’t continue to happen on a regular basis.

Communication is key and we encourage you to directly contact your supplier for a speedy response. If something isn't right raise your concerns - more often than not, suppliers appreciate the feedback and are quick to address your concerns. And don't forget, if you order with Foodbomb, you've got an extra layer of support - we are always happy to help where we can.

So there you have it, some of the key things to consider when selecting new food suppliers for your venue. If you haven't already, open a free account with Foodbomb to start your wholesale food supplier selection process.

One last tip

Once you've selected a supplier to try, don't forget to check the cut off time for next-day deliveries. This cut off time really depends on the supplier category. Generally, wholesale distributors like fruit & veg or dry goods have late cut offs but smaller boutique suppliers, like wholesale bakeries or specialist dairy providers, tend to have earlier cut offs. This information is really important to keep in mind if you need an order delivered for the following day! And don't forget next-day delivery is free with Foodbomb!

About the author - Paul Tory

Paul Tory is the Founder and CEO of Foodbomb. With over 20 years experience in wholesale, he also ran a home meat delivery business Butcherman for 8 years. So he knows a lot about the wholesale food supplier business!

Butcherman connected consumers with over 30 independent butchers throughout Sydney. However when cafes and restaurants began to approach his B2C operation Paul realised there was a B2B need begging to be met, and so the Foodbomb journey began!


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