When starting a restaurant, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is partnering with bakery food service distributors. Your success hinges on their ability to consistently deliver high-quality baked goods for your business, as well as provide reliable support and services.
However, considering the plethora of suppliers out there, it can be daunting to select the right one for your restaurant. To make sure you’re on the right track, we’ve rounded up a list of essential questions to ask when interviewing them at your first meeting.
What to Ask a Bakery Food Service Distributor on Your Initial Meeting
To ensure you find the perfect mix between you and your bakery food service distributor, it’s crucial to ask the right interview questions during the selection process.
Question 1: How Long Have You Been in the Business?
The best bakery food service distributors are those who have years of experience in the industry. Asking how long they’ve been in the business allows you to gauge their level of expertise. A supplier with a decade or more of experience is likely to have an established network, so they can provide products from various sources if needed.
Also, experienced distributors may offer specialised products not available elsewhere. They have a better understanding of the local market and be able to advise you on the best products for your restaurant.
Question 2: Can You Provide References from Other Restaurants You Have Worked With?
Getting references from other restaurants that have worked with the prospective wholesale bakery supplier will give you a good idea about the quality of their services and whether they’re reliable.
References are invaluable for determining whether the distributor can meet all your needs. You’ll get to hear about their customer service, range and quality of products, and so on.
If they don’t provide references or hesitate to provide them, it should be a red flag for you. A good business to partner with should have no problem giving you contact information of their past and current clients.
Question 3: What Is Your Delivery Schedule and Turnaround Time?
Fresh bakery products will make your restaurant stand out from the competition. And, that depends on your distributor’s turnaround time and delivery schedule. Ask about their timetable and how often they can deliver. Also, ask whether they’ll be able to handle urgent orders.
By understanding the distributor’s schedule, you’ll have a better idea of how to plan your inventory and ensure that your customers always receive freshly baked products.
Question 4: What Is Your Capacity to Supply Us with Baked Items?
Bakery suppliers have different capacities when it comes to distributing products to their clients. For example, an artisan bakery distributor would only produce baked goods in limited quantities. On the other hand, a large-scale distributor may be able to supply you with enough products for your entire restaurant.
So, evaluate your needs in terms of quantity. If you’re launching a large restaurant, it’s best to opt for larger suppliers that have the capacity to provide you with bulk orders.
Question 5: How Do You Handle Product Quality and Storage?
With bulk bakery supplies comes a higher risk of food waste. To prevent that, you should know how your distributor handles product quality and storage.
Ask them about their process for storing and delivering products, as well as their practices for quality assurance. Find out whether they have any temperature-controlled warehouses or vehicles to ensure all products are stored properly and delivered on time. This is especially important for refrigerated items, like cakes.
Question 6: What Is Your Pricing Structure and Payment Terms?
Most suppliers will offer flexible arrangements depending on your restaurant’s size and budget. So, make sure to ask about their pricing structure and payment terms. Find out whether they offer discounts for large orders or delivery fees as well. This information will help you budget accordingly and avoid any surprises when it’s time to pay.
Also, how are they accepting payment? Most suppliers accept cash, credit cards, and wire transfers. Ideally, the way they invoice you should be convenient for your business.
Question 7: Do You Offer Any Additional Services for My Restaurant?
A specialty baked goods distributor should be more than just a supplier. Look for one that offers additional services or support, such as consulting, training, and marketing assistance. This will help you get the most out of your relationship with them.
You should also inquire about staff availability for special occasions, such as catering events or product tastings. Knowing that they can help with these tasks will give you the peace of mind that you’re working with a reliable partner.
To Wrap Up
These questions will help you gauge the trustworthiness and reliability of potential bakery food service distributors. So, don’t forget to ask them during the initial meeting. With the answers in hand, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision about which one is right for your restaurant.
For more tips that you can use to get your business off to a great start, check out our blog for helpful articles and resources!