There is something to be said about sourcing locally, you’re supporting the community and reducing the environmental impact of your culinary passion, and all at the same time as creating a mouth-watering dish.
So, what’s the best way to source fruit and vegetables for your workplace’s dishes, and why should you invest your time in this process?
Invest Time for Long Term Benefits
Although it can be time consuming to research and meet suppliers face to face, the benefits you will reap from this in the long term are unbeatable. A great relationship with your supplier will serve you and your restaurant in the long run. It could be the difference between the best ingredients and mediocre supplies.
If you have a great relationship, your supplier is more likely to want to help you and aid your business where possible in succeeding, which could mean sourcing ingredients for you.
Use local suppliers, your customers are often very happy to buy into and support those who give back to their local community and source their food locally and sustainably.
If this wasn’t enough to sway your decision, buying from local suppliers can also help reduce food bills, mainly due to the transportation costs being lower and there is no “middle man”, just you and the supplier.
Book Early and On Repeat
If you’ve set up a supply agreement with a local farm or distributor, make sure you book your deliveries in advance and often. You do not want to end up being a restaurant with no food!
Supply is often limited when it comes to local fruit and veg depending on the time of year and how the weather is proving that year.
Ensuring you book your deliveries will have the first pick when it comes to a new batch of fresh ingredients because they already know you’re order when they’re harvesting your ingredients.
This ensures you are stocked with fresh produce year-round and won’t be in the position where you have to remove one of your specials on a Saturday evening.
Use a Co-Operative
Local food cooperatives are an ideal way to source and stock local food without spending too much time sourcing a supplier yourself.
Local food co-ops are often customer run groups that allow locals to source fruit and vegetables at a lower cost.
They usually specialise in local fruit and vegetables and are a great way to give back to your local community when on the hunt for ingredients.
How Can Locally Sourced Food Improve your Restaurant?
Apart from costs and an improved reputation, sourcing fruit and vegetables locally can open the door to a whole host of opportunities when it comes to your restaurant:
- Partner with other local businesses: Using local ingredients and making this a staple provides the perfect opportunity for you to partner with other local businesses. Whether they’re a craft brewery, local vineyard or butchery, you can all help each other and supply each other with produce in order to create your own local community, shared menu and an excellent reputation based on the merging of names of local and artisan suppliers.
- Reduced waste: Local food is fresher and will last for longer, meaning you won’t be throwing as much away.
- Staff pride: Using local ingredients can help improve staff loyalty and pride in your business, giving your business a story and a dedicated workforce determined to carry the reputation your restaurant holds.