Most small restaurant owners buy their supplies from one or two big companies. This is a simple, convenient approach. However, as your restaurant grows, you may want to look into ways to cut down on costs a bit further. Working with a food broker is one way to do that. Here's a basic overview of what that might entail and why it's such a good option for many restaurant owners as their businesses grow.
What is a food broker?
Basically, a food broker is a person or entity who works on your behalf to negotiate the prices you pay for various foods and related products. Some food brokers work independently, and others work for larger firms. If you hire a larger firm, generally one person will be assigned to your account, so you will deal with that same person each time you need to order food and renegotiate a price.
How much can a food broker save you?
Actually, when you have a busy bustling restaurant, a food broker can save you a lot. They do this by combining your order with the orders of other restaurants — their other clients. For instance, if you need 200 pounds of fish per week and another restaurant also needs 200 pounds of fish per week, the broker may approach the fish vendor and ask for a better price on 400 pounds. They'll pass most of those savings on to you. The fish vendor is likely to offer them a better deal, per pound, on 400 pounds of fish than they would have offered you on 200 pounds of fish.
It's not uncommon for restaurants to save about 10% by buying through a food broker. You could save more or less depending on the economics of your area.
How else can hiring a food broker benefit you?
Hiring a food broker not only saves you money, it also saves you time. You do not have to deal with the food suppliers in person anymore — just with your broker. It's easier to do everything through one point of contact, especially once you get to know that person. Plus, a food broker often has access to foods and suppliers that you may not know of or have direct access to. For instance, they may know where to obtain some specialty grass-fed beef or high-end spices.
If your restaurant is growing, then hiring a food broker is a good step to take along the way. Contact a few brokers near you, and learn more about their services.