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Category: Restaurants

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The Benefits of Working with Regional Suppliers

There are many factors to weigh when choosing suppliers for your hospitality business. Pricing and quality products are always a high priority, but what about their geographic location? Partnering with regional suppliers can benefit your business in many ways. In many cases, regional suppliers are able to provide higher quality service and value than their out-of-town competitors, making for a more stable supply chain for your business.

Working with regional suppliers can have a direct impact on customer experience. Strategic sourcing of regional food products ensures that your business receives the freshest supplies available. Farm to table initiatives are very popular with diners today, so supporting local growers is a great way to draw more guests into your restaurant. Chefs will benefit from building menus around seasonal local produce because they know they will be able to access items that have just been harvested. Shifting to a more local-centered menu will not only appeal to customers, it will ultimately allow restaurants to serve a higher quality product.

Decreasing the carbon footprint of your supply chain is a good way to help your company’s conservation efforts. Additionally, utilizing a supplier that is located close to your business will help you save on shipping costs. This alone can add up to huge savings over time. Aside from cost savings, local suppliers can help you create a more stable supply chain. Having a supplier that can deliver orders quickly can help safeguard your business from inventory shortages. The same goes for service providers. In the event of an equipment failure, it’s imperative that your service partners can respond to your call as soon as possible.

Working with regional suppliers has a positive impact on your community. Partnering with local businesses can make for deeper supplier relationships. This can make it possible to collaborate with your supplier in ways that go beyond just purchasing. For example, restaurants can partner with local beer, wine, or spirits company to create pairing menus. The two businesses can then cross-promote each other. Many customers, whether they are locals or visiting from out of town, are more likely to support your business if they feel like they’re receiving an authentic local experience.

Find out how Source1 Purchasing can help you with your regional supplier relationship management while saving you over 9% on the cost of your hospitality supplies. Request your free Market Basket today.

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4 Things to Consider Before Working with a New Supplier

There is a lot to consider when seeking out a new supplier. The right supplier will have more to offer than just competitive pricing. Even small details are a big deal in the hospitality industry, so every supplier, large or small, must be thoroughly vetted to ensure they meet your business’s quality standards. Here are four things to consider when evaluating a potential supplier:

Pricing

Pricing is a significant deciding factor when it comes to choosing a supplier. Securing preferred pricing status will ensure that you never overpay for your hospitality supplies. The lowest prices are typically offered to businesses that can place high volume orders or are part of a large chain. However, even if you own a restaurant or boutique hotel that can’t commit to that type of volume, there are still ways you can access preferred pricing. Identifying vendors that are part of a large purchasing network, like Source1 Purchasing, will give you access to deviated pricing and rebates that you typically would not be able to take advantage of on your own.

Quality Control

You know how important it is to work with suppliers with a solid reputation. However, even when working with a well-known supplier, it’s important to do your due-diligence and understand how they handle incidents related to their products. For example, ask potential food suppliers what their process is for executing recalls in the event of a salmonella outbreak or similar incident. They should be able to tell you how quickly they would be able to notify you that an affected product should be pulled from inventory.

Order Process

One item that is often overlooked when researching new suppliers is how orders are managed. With so much on their plate, Purchasing Managers need to streamline their ordering processes as much as possible. Whenever possible, work with suppliers that offer online portals or other tools that make ordering from them more efficient. Whenever possible, you should seek to work with suppliers that will give your company priority status. Customers with priority status typically get their orders expedited and can get order minimums waved when necessary. Being part of a large buying group can help you achieve this status even if your company doesn’t typically make high-volume purchases.

Versatility

Special consideration should be given to suppliers that are able to meet multiple needs. Limiting the number of suppliers you work with will typically save your company both time and money. Aligning with a purchasing partner like Source1 Purchasing can help you consolidate your current list of suppliers and streamline your ordering process. If you have suppliers that you already know and trust, Source1 Purchasing can manage their quality and service metrics and negotiate pricing on your behalf.

To learn more about how Source1 Purchasing can help you manage your supply chain while helping you save money, contact us for a free supply chain analysis. We are typically able to identify savings of 9% or more on all your hospitality supply needs.

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When Product Substitutions Can be Good for Your Business

Brand consistency is an important factor to success in the hospitality industry.  Customers will continue to return to an establishment if they know they can rely on a consistent experience each time they visit.  Striving for consistency can make many purchasing professionals sticklers for brand loyalty. However, there are times when product substitutions can not only be acceptable, but beneficial to your business. Subbing a brand name product can often be done without compromising quality. In addition, using a substitute supplier may offer both price advantages and increased stability to your supply chain.

Hotels, restaurants, and casinos put a lot of work into identifying suppliers that meet their quality standards. Suppliers of everything from food to linens must align perfectly with a company’s brand. The need for brand consistency is so imperative that many purchasing departments are reluctant to consider any substitute products once they’ve found a supplier they like. They are often unaware that there are alternative suppliers that can offer them a nearly identical product, often at a lower price. Once you’ve identified a company that offers products comparable to your current inventory, request a sample so you can thoroughly assess whether the supplier can meet your quality standards.

While cost savings is the main appeal of subbing a product, the substitute supplier may be able to offer values in other areas as well. For example, the company may carry a variety of products that your company currently purchases from multiple suppliers. Consolidating the number of suppliers you work with makes purchasing more efficient and can lower the costs of your hospitality supplies and services. If the alternate supplier is part of a large purchasing network, you can increase your cost savings even more by opting into their program to take advantage of discounts on items like food, linens, and maintenance supplies.

Even if you’re happy with your current supplier and pricing structure, it could still be beneficial to vet substitute suppliers. If you ever find yourself in a position where your current supplier experiences an inventory shortage or a significant price increase, having an alternate source for your essential products can help you avoid costly inventory shortages.

Identifying new strategic suppliers can be a difficult task, however, the purchasing specialists at Source1 Purchasing can help you identify the best suppliers for your business. Get to know our network of quality suppliers by contacting Source1 Purchasing today.

 

Restaurants

Using Big Data to Track Dining Trends

Big Data is more than just a buzz word. Restaurants, hotels, and casinos all utilize advanced business intelligence solutions to increase revenue and manage relationships with their customers. Data science has made it possible for businesses to market to their customers in ways they never thought possible. Gaining a deeper understanding of their customer base allows restaurants to create highly targeted campaigns leading to more guests walking through their doors. However, the value of data-driven technology does not stop at marketing efforts. Big Data can be beneficial for tracking employee performance and improving operations as well.

Data collection can be especially beneficial for restaurants seeking to gain insight into their customers’ dining habits. Loyalty programs originated as a marketing tool to encourage diners to visit a restaurant more often. Now restaurants are using loyalty programs to track customers over multiple visits while gaining valuable knowledge they can use to offer customers more personalized incentives. When a customer scans their loyalty card, for example, a restaurant can capture data pertaining to the number of people in that customer’s party, the time of day they are most likely to come in, and more. Similarly, Point of Sale systems have become powerful data collection tools, tracking everything from menu item popularity to table turnover rates.

The ability to track employee performance has made it possible for restaurants to improve their training and provide diners with a better customer experience. By identifying which servers are doing a better job of pushing daily specials, bottles of wine, or other upsells, restaurant managers can strategically schedule their top employees to work during the most important shifts and zero in on staff members that may require additional training.

Restaurants that have implemented advanced data tracking systems are better equipped to predict their customer flow on any given day. For instance, restaurants can identify how the weather or a local event impacts customer traffic and plan accordingly in the future. From an operations standpoint, the ability to forecast a spike in business is very beneficial to inventory managers. Data improves the capability of purchasing specialists to safeguard against inventory shortages during an increase in customer traffic and avoid product waste during times when business is slower.

As technology continues to evolve, Big Data will become essential to all businesses looking to be competitive in the hospitality industry. To learn how the professional procurement consultants at Source1 Purchasing can help your restaurant use data-driven technology to lower your hospitality supply costs, contact us today.

 

Restaurants

4 Areas Where Restaurants Can Increase Their Conservation Efforts

Increasing environmental sustainability in your restaurant is not only good for the environment, it can also translate into savings to your bottom line. Many restaurants lose a great deal of money each year to water, energy and food waste. The good news is that it can be simple to avoid these losses by making a few small improvements throughout your restaurant.

Save Water

Due to the nature of their industry, restaurants require a lot of water use for their daily operations. While much of this water use can’t be avoided, there are many areas where water waste can be evaded. A leaking faucet, for instance, is easy to overlook but can cost hundreds of dollars in wasted water annually if left unchecked.

In the dining room, consider refraining from serving guests water unless they request it. When glasses of water are automatically served to a table, many times it will go to waste. The waste comes not only in the water and ice in the glass but in the water that will be used to wash the glass later.

Cut Down Your Power Bill

Hot water is a necessity in a commercial kitchen, however, heating water requires a great deal of energy. Some ways to reduce your water heating costs include insulating hot water pipes and making sure refrigeration coils are kept clean. Additionally, make sure that your kitchen staff is trained to refrain from turning on any equipment until they are open for orders. It is not uncommon for fryers, ovens, and other equipment to be turned on hours before meal service.

Switching to LED light bulbs throughout your restaurant can translate to huge savings on your energy bill. These light bulbs are more expensive up front, but they last upwards of 15 years, which will save even more money in the long run.

Recycle

Have a recycling program in place to limit the amount of trash your restaurant contributes to the landfill. Recycling cardboard, for example, is incredibly simple yet accounts for much of the trash generated by most restaurants. If possible, it is also a good idea to make an effort to strategically source recyclable take-out containers to cut back on post-consumer waste.

Compost

Hopefully, your kitchen has systems in place to cut down on food waste, but when waste happens, look to compost if possible. This may seem like a large task, but your restaurant doesn’t necessarily have to compost on-site. There are a number of haul-away services that will come and pick up your compostable food scraps, meaning you simply have to have a system for storing them apart from non-compostable trash.

Increasing environmental sustainability in restaurants doesn’t have to be difficult and can go a long way in helping you cut down on costs. Take your next step toward greater profit with the Source1 Purchasing Solution.

Call: 888.411.9987
Contact Us Here
www.source1purchasing.com

Click here to get your free Market Basket. (Typically, a Market Basket will identify savings opportunities of 9% or more!)

 

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How the Culture of Convenience is Shaping the Food Industry

In recent years, Millennials have led the charge in the now widely-adopted convenience culture. When it comes to dining, consumers have come to expect on-demand services and flexible delivery options. Restaurants, cafes, and hotels have had to diversify their offerings to maintain their market share. With so many restaurants now offering speedy delivery services, consumers have more quality choices available to them ever. Restaurants need to find the right balance of quality, selection, and speed to earn diners’ business.

Technology has become a huge asset in helping the food industry accommodate customers and their need for instant gratification. Automated food ordering now works seamlessly with smartphones, allowing customers to order delivery from their favorite restaurant with a click of a button, or place their latte order before ever stepping foot into their local coffee house. But what about a walk-in customer who wants food in a hurry? For many cafes and restaurants, including those in hotels, their traditional offerings may require too much time to prep for customers that are on the go. That has many establishments looking to add pre-packaged items to their menus.

The rise of the convenience culture has forced hotels and restaurants to evaluate their suppliers and strategically source products that appeal to customers on-the-go. There is still a need to cater to traditional dine-in guests but having a selection of quality pre-packaged options available for customers in a hurry can be a valuable additional revenue stream if it’s done properly. Healthy grab-and-go snacks, bistro box lunches and upscale beverages like pressed juices are all popular offerings. Some of these items may be available directly from hospitality suppliers, but many restaurants and hotels may also choose to assemble these offerings in-house.

Convenience foods require vastly different packaging solutions than traditional take out. Containers need to be small and present their contents in an attractive way. Strategic sourcing of high-quality retail food packaging is integral to making grab-and-go offerings appealing to customers. Just because they want something quick and convenient, doesn’t mean consumers are willing to compromise on quality.

Partnering with a procurement consulting specialist like Source1 Purchasing can be helpful in sourcing the hospitality supplies your restaurant or hotel needs to create successful on-demand offerings for your customers.

Take your next step toward greater profit with the Source1 Purchasing Solution.
Call: 888.411.9987
Contact Us Here
www.source1purchasing.com

Click here to get your free Supply Chain Analysis. (Typically, a Supply Chain Analysis will identify savings opportunities of 9% or more!)

Restaurants

Waste Reduction Tips for Restaurants

The food industry loses a staggering amount of money each year to food waste. Food waste can have a big effect on a restaurant’s bottom line, but in many cases, it can be avoided.

First, it’s important to understand where food waste is occurring in your kitchen. Have a system in place for tracking which ingredients are getting thrown away and with what frequency. Decreasing the order amount of particular ingredients or removing them altogether can help cut down on the amount of food that ends up in the trash. Make sure that your food vendor offers flexible order qualities on the items you use the least.

Take steps towards maximizing the shelf-life of your food in any way possible. Make sure that all refrigeration equipment is always in good working order by inspecting it frequently. Most importantly, make sure that your restaurant is ordering all of your food and drink supplies from trustworthy suppliers. All ingredients should be checked for freshness upon delivery but partnering with a top-rated supplier, to begin with, will ensure that deliveries regularly meet your restaurant’s quality standards.

Make sure your menu is designed to minimize waste as well. Naturally, you want your menu to incorporate a wide variety of ingredients but be careful not to overextend your offerings to the point that you’re unable to rotate your inventory efficiently. Additionally, your staff should be trained to take note of and report situations where post-consumer waste can be decreased. If your staff flags a particular dish the customers seldom seem to finish, there is an opportunity to make the portion size of that dish smaller to cut back on food waste and cost.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your kitchen may still find itself with excess inventory. When that happens, you still might be able to save that food from going to waste. If possible, have a system in place to donate food that is still safe to consume, but that you are unable to use for whatever reason. There are many programs that will happily take your food donation to help feed those in need. In many cases, the food donations your restaurant makes to these organizations are tax deductible. Having a donation system in place is not only a good way to cut down on waste, it’s also a great way to support your community.

Minimizing food waste starts with effective supply chain management. Source1 Purchasing offers many solutions to help restaurants get the best prices possible on their supplies.

Take your next step toward greater profit with the Source1 Purchasing Solution.
Call: 888.411.9987
Contact Us Here
www.source1purchasing.com

Click here to get your free Supply Chain Analysis. (Typically, a Supply Chain Analysis will identify savings opportunities of 9% or more!)

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Reacting to Negative Online Reviews

Social media has made it easier than ever for a customer to share their opinions with the world, which can have a positive impact on your business. The majority of reviews posted online are favorable. Online review sites are a great way to get exposure for your restaurant, hotel, or other business. But what if you receive a bad review online? How should you respond? No matter how dedicated you are to providing your customers with a positive experience, chances are you may have to deal with a negative review at some point. Here are some tips for handling a bad review:

Have a Plan in Place

Even if you’ve never received a bad review in the past, it’s a good idea to have an action plan in place so you can swiftly address a negative review when it’s posted. Many business owners and managers make the mistake of allowing their emotions to get the best of them when a bad review comes in. The result is often a defensive and ineffective public response to the reviewer which can reflect poorly on your business.

Act Quickly

When it comes to online reviews, failing to address negative feedback in a timely manner can make matters worse. Potential and existing customers can mistake your silence for indifference. Reply to the review publicly, letting the customer know that their concerns are a top priority. If possible, request more details about their experience via a private message. Talk to any staff members that may have knowledge of the incident in question to determine where you could have served the customer better.

Make it Right

Do your best to mend your business relationship with the reviewer. If you find that your establishment failed to offer them with adequate service, compensate them in a way that seems fair. The promise of a future discount or a credit or partial credit of their recent visit can go a long way in bringing a disgruntled customer down to a cool calm. Above all, be sure to always validate their feelings, even if you don’t feel your business was in the wrong. Many customers will update their review if they feel you adequately handled their complaint.

Negative review can be devastating, especially for restaurants and hotels with multiple locations, where a bad review of one location can hurt business for all the other locations. If your expansion has caused variability in the customer experience, you will benefit from a purchasing services organization that will help you initiate restaurant-wide buying standards and set up systems to monitor and enforce your procurement processes.

Take your next step toward greater profit with the Source1 Purchasing Solution.
Call: 888.411.9987
Contact Us Here
www.source1purchasing.com

Click here to get your free Market Basket. (Typically, a Market Basket will identify savings opportunities of 9% or more!)

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Gluten-Free Sourcing Best Practices

Gluten-free offerings have increased in demand in recent years. Some consumers have embraced gluten-free or gluten-reduced diets because they believe it’s beneficial to their health. However, there is a segment of the population that suffers from a serious autoimmune disorder known as celiac disease, a condition that can cause severe damage to the small intestine if gluten is consumed. People with severe cases of celiac disease must take extra precautions when dining out. Many food distribution companies are working to increase the number of gluten-free items they offer in an effort to accommodate customers with gluten sensitivities.

For restaurants and catering companies committed to offering more gluten-free dishes, choosing the right food service company is crucial. There is a huge difference between gluten-reduced foods and those that are truly gluten-free. A trustworthy vendor will have standards set in place to ensure that an item not only contains no trace amounts of gluten but was never at risk of exposure to gluten during processing. A food vendor that is experienced in providing truly gluten-free options should be able to explain how they safeguard their products against cross-contamination. If your vendor can’t make such guarantees, you have no way of ensuring that your dish is truly gluten-free.

It’s important that kitchen staff is trained to segregate gluten-free foods upon delivery to avoid any cross-contamination. Gluten-free supplies should have a dedicated space within a kitchen and should be clearly labeled. Keep in mind that your vendor may offer both gluten-free and non-gluten-free selections for the same item. If your kitchen orders both varieties, it’s important that the two are stored in different places. Precautions should also be taken by kitchen staff to avoid cross-contamination by setting aside pans, cutting boards, and other tools specifically designated for cooking gluten-free meals. For a customer with a severe case of celiac disease, even the smallest trace of gluten can be detrimental to their health.

Having a reputation for offering quality gluten-free options can give you a major advantage over your competitors. With a strong set of best practices for product sourcing and handling supplies, you can serve your gluten-free dishes with confidence. Source1 Purchasing has partnered with a number of trusted suppliers of gluten-free and gluten-reduced foods. Connecting with our network of quality food distributors and other vendors can help you optimize your supply chain while cutting your overall costs.

Take your next step toward greater profit with the Source1 Purchasing Solution.
Call: 888.411.9987
Contact Us Here
www.source1purchasing.com

Click here to get your free Market Basket. (Typically, a Market Basket will identify savings opportunities of 9% or more!)

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The Secret Sauce of Menu Pricing

In the hospitality industry, whether you are running a hotel with food and beverage services or a managing full service restaurant or managing a catering company, pricing food is always the key to profits and it’s more important than ever before.