What do you expect from your suppliers? by Mark Barnes

For industry professionals, sourcing raw ingredients is one of our most fundamental responsibilities. The best restaurants in the world don’t just have great cooks & sharp knives, they also tend to start with the most incredible raw ingredients, sourced seasonally through purveyors who share their passion for the highest levels of quality. Yes, some of those ingredients are very pricey (I’m dreaming about you, white truffles), but those great restaurants also use a lot of “common” ingredients such as carrots, onions, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, asparagus, leeks, etc. Those chefs know, just like we should - the freshest ingredients also tend to taste the best! While partnering with a great supplier is a good start in that pursuit, we can’t stop there.

Just as our very best employees still benefit from consistent direction and predictable accountability, so do our suppliers. We can provide that direction through setting clear & quantifiable expectations for quality and food safety, then we provide the accountability on the loading dock by verifying product temperatures with a calibrated thermometer, inspecting packaging & evaluating quality throughout the order - for every order. If temperature or quality standards aren’t met, we notify the driver, return the item & receive an invoice adjustment before signing for receipt of goods. When a thorough inspection becomes our standard operating procedure for every delivery, our suppliers will notice. Sure your sales rep could ignore all of the invoice adjustments and frustrated text messages, but that’d likely result in losing your business. More probably they will rise to meet your expectations in the hopes of making you a happy, loyal customer. As the freshness, quality and safety of our raw ingredients get better, so does the quality of our plated final product. Those improvements cascade into happier customers & employees, more revenue & better food cost, and more money for you to spend with your supplier - everyone wins!

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