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6 Steps to Choose the Best Restaurant Suppliers for Your Business

Posted on 2023 Jan 07

When starting a restaurant, it can be hard to know where to begin. There are many different aspects of running a business. But the most important is ensuring you have all the ingredients you need for your menu. 

This means that when you're starting from scratch, finding a good supplier can be tricky! It's essential not only to choose suppliers that will provide high-quality ingredients at a reasonable price but also those who deliver on time and in good condition.

So, to help you in this scenario, we have curated a list of 6 steps to help you choose the best restaurant food distributor for your business. So, without much delay, let's check out the steps now:

Step 1: Determine Your Needs and Pricing

The first step to choosing a restaurant supplier is determining how much you will be ordering and how much you can spend on the items sold. 

If you are looking for a bulk purchase, it's essential to know what kind of discount your supplier offers as well as their minimum order quantity.

Suppliers also tend to offer freebies or discounts when buying in bulk quantities. So it's good practice to ask about these during the purchasing process.

Step 2: Look for Recommendations

You can also get referrals from other restaurant owners. They will have a better idea of what works and what doesn't than you do. But they may be biased when giving you advice. To avoid this, ask for their recommendations on specific items you need to buy. 

Referrals from customers are good as well. But make sure that the customer frequents your restaurant often enough to know the quality of its food and service before taking their word for it.

Step 3: Research the Company Details

Now that you have narrowed down your choices, it's time to do more research on each company. This is where it gets a little tricky because there are lots of ways to go about this research. 

If you have enough time, you could contact each restaurant store individually and ask for references from current customers. However, we recommend doing your research online through reviews and testimonials instead.

Before making any decisions, take some time to check out all of the information online:

  • Check out their website: Most people will first go straight to the company's website or social media accounts when they want to learn more about a business.

    This is important because it gives you an idea of how professional the company appears. And this will also provide an idea of what type of products or services they offer. You might also find helpful information. Such as their guarantees or return policies which could save your company money if something goes wrong during delivery!
  • Look for Reviews: Another great way to find out about businesses before hiring them for your needs is by reading customer reviews from other users who have used them. This can be done through Google or other search engines, online review sites like Yelp, and more.

Step 4: Communicate directly and visit the supplier's warehouse

Communicate directly with the restaurant food distributor to understand their processes and get a first-hand look at how they do things. If you can visit the factory or warehouse in person, that's even better! 

This step is crucial. Because it will help you understand how your suppliers work and can help you avoid problems down the line. For example, suppose a supplier says they are using quality materials but doesn't show you their factory. In that case, it might be time for some extra due diligence before agreeing to work with them.

You should also inquire about customer service—how quickly will they respond if there is a problem with an order? Or if there are any questions about pricing?

Step 5: Assess Service Quality and Test their Products

Next up, you should check the quality of their products. The quality of the food you serve is crucial to a restaurant's success. So, it's vital that your suppliers send high-quality products. You can do this by testing the goods yourself or sending one of your employees to check them out in person. 

If a supplier offers samples, ask for them. This will allow you to get an idea of what they can offer without having to order anything until you're sure it meets your needs.

While some suppliers will provide samples without any cost, others may charge a fee depending on the item being sampled and its size/quantity needed by the company before handing over anything tangible like this. So, keep an eye out! The same goes for delivery services.

It is imperative to find out about their quality assurance processes and how they ensure that products are safe. It's essential to understand what kind of testing is done on the materials and finished goods before they are shipped out.

Step 6: Consider the delivery time of the ingredients

Delivery time is a significant factor when choosing your restaurant supplier. The delivery time of each ingredient should be less than 24 hours from when you order it. Delivery times should also be flexible. This is because there may be times when you need to change an order or make another one without much notice. 

Timing is crucial when running a business, especially a restaurant. Hence, your chosen supplier should commit to promptly delivering the ordered items. 

Finally, consider the cost of delivery as well. If your supplier has too high of a delivery fee, it may cost more than if they used another method like shipping or trucking instead of flying out all their ingredients!


So, that's it. By following the steps mentioned above, you can avoid some common pitfalls many businesses face when they first start.  You will also save time and frustration by choosing a restaurant store or supplier right for your business from the beginning!