Restaurant entrepreneurs are a rare breed of people. Endless hours, relentless problem solving, and constant customer and employee attention wreak havoc on the restaurant owner/operator. Yet for a selected few, ambition and action trumps everything and the quest to grow something big overshadows all of the challenges. The road to emerging restaurant chain success is long and well-traveled and new participants would be well served to heed its lessons and signs along the way!
Preparation and planning are the keys to emerging restaurant chain success! A few words about restaurant procurement and distribution. Most emerging restaurant chains start as “Street” accounts with local broadline and specialty distributors. These accounts typically pay the highest distribution margin on the food and non-food product categories purchased for their restaurant. With time and incremental unit growth this purchasing volume increases allowing the restaurant owner/operator to negotiate more favorable terms with their distributor.
What your restaurant pays for food and non-food products is critical! This is no different from your household budget for weekly groceries and personal care items. Certain items should be purchased at the Dollar Store, others at Walmart/Target, and a selected few at Whole Foods Market. It’s the same with your restaurant, utilize broadline distributors for staple food and non-food products and specialty distributors for fresh produce, custom cut meats, and specialty/artisan products. Many national distributors like Sysco offer restaurants integrated broadline and specialty distribution options. In addition, make inquiries to your distributor on any specialty programs like Chain Solutions Network (CSN) that offer your restaurants enhanced product pricing and incentives.
Finally, consolidate your weekly restaurant orders and deliveries! The more trucks, deliveries, and sales reps coming to your restaurant back door translates into higher costs. Get your restaurant order guides well-defined and order everything online. Forgotten items and emergencies do happen but try to minimize these areas through better weekly planning and preparation.
If you have growth plans for your restaurant concept and are interested in learning more about distribution and procurement please contact CSN or your local Sysco distributor.