Welcome to THE essential guide that every chef and restaurateur needs to read before considering a new
supplier. This will give you the tools you need to discover what matters most for your business so you
can go out and source from the best suppliers for you.
Whether you are thinking about opening your own food business, or you are already up and running, having good suppliers is crucial to your success. A bad supplier can damage your ability to serve your customers. But to know what a good supplier looks like for your business, you have to understand what you actually need first.
First, the basics. This section might be obvious to you, but it’s good to make sure we all start on the same page. There are six general categories of suppliers:
Vegetables & fruit
Fish & seafood
General (dry goods, disposables, etc.)
When you add in limitations like budget, space, schedules, etc. your supplier list might look a little
different to what you initially imagined, but that's ok. It can be frustrating to find that a supplier
you were originally excited by doesn't fit with the needs of your business—they don't deliver to your
area, you can't make them fit within your margins, or maybe the rep you spoke to didn’t leave you with
the best feeling.
While that can be hard to accept, it can also make you realise what's most important for the smooth running of your restaurant. Figuring out which practicalities you can't live without and which are open to compromise can help navigate a long list of potential suppliers.
Some books for further reading on the topic: