When you are consumed with running your food business, it can be hard to find the best wholesalers and suppliers. There are, of course, a lot of suppliers and wholesalers to choose from. However, how do you know who to trust, and how can you guarantee that you will get the high-quality products and ingredients that your food business needs to survive and thrive? Breaking down the process of finding wholesalers and suppliers will help you make an informed decision. So, with that in mind, here are a few points you may wish to take into consideration.
Recommendations and Word of Mouth
You can find out about a lot of suppliers and wholesalers by listening to recommendations from other businesses and also through word of mouth. Some of the smaller suppliers that offer more bespoke products are trading simply through word of mouth and social media marketing. These may be the right suppliers and wholesalers for you. Recommendations from other business owners and from other food retailers and sellers can give you peace of mind and confidence in a business and service, so always act on recommendations where you can.
Using B2B Marketplaces
There are lots of opportunities (both online and offline) for you to meet up with other businesses. At networking events or even at B2B marketplaces, you may hear wholesalers and suppliers mentioned. Or you may even get the opportunity to meet them, especially if they have representatives scouting the local area. B2B marketplaces can help you cut out the middle person and help you build working relationships quickly and easily. They can also give you added security and peace of mind. Having the opportunity to form relationships with suppliers and wholesalers quickly and easily through specific marketplaces will save you time.
See Who Your Competitors Are Using
Your food business has competition, no matter where it exists or what it looks like. So, why not try and see who your competitors are using and why. You may see who they are using by watching who they get deliveries from. Or you may wish to regularly carry out a competitor analysis that will detail what products they are reselling or using. If your competitors are running successful businesses, then look carefully at the products they are getting from suppliers and wholesalers. For instance, are they only sourcing local products, or are they turning to organic-grown produce and ingredients? The more intelligence you can gain about your competitors, the greater the benefit to your business.
Look at the Specialists
You know what products and ingredients you want (and need) to use within your food business, and you may find that you are better off looking at specialist suppliers, especially if you want to guarantee quality each and every time. For example, if you are looking at purchasing bulk garlic powder or other spices, then why not reach out to the specialists? Those that are proud of the products they sell and those that know the background of the ingredients they sell are passionate, and this is what you need within your food business. Those purveyors that are knowledgeable and passionate about the ingredients and products they sell can then impart their knowledge on you and your venture.
Quality of Products on Offer
All the products you purchase for your food business must be consistent and high quality. If your ingredients and products are arriving to you in a state of hit-and-miss, then ultimately, this will have an impact on your end user (your customer). This can then lead to loss of custom and loss of business. When reaching out to wholesalers and suppliers, always make sure that they can consistently deliver to you and always make sure they can provide you with the highest quality at all times. If quality or consistency is lacking, you will struggle to build a strong business.
You are in business to make a profit. And so, it is important that you look for wholesalers and suppliers that are competitive with their pricing too. Some suppliers may think that they can charge you a premium if you order smaller quantities – so be aware of this. Always question prices and ask for a breakdown to establish how much you are paying and for what. Make sure that pricing terms and conditions are clearly set out. This way, you will know when a supplier or wholesaler needs paying and how much, meaning you can get back to running your business.
Lead Times and Delivery
As you get your food business up and off the ground, you want to have as much support as possible. When you have a supportive supplier on your side, it can make all the difference. If you under-order a product, can you guarantee that a supplier or wholesaler can step up and deliver when you need them to? Some suppliers have very quick lead times and delivery slots, and although this may come at a cost, it may be an essential feature you look for. Establishing what lead times are and seeing what turnaround times are on offer will help you plan your purchases and save time and money too.
Minimum Order Quantity
Not all wholesalers and suppliers are going to be suitable for your food business. Some may deal with smaller businesses, while others may insist on larger purchases. Before signing any contracts or agreements, it is important to establish what minimum order quantities exist. To establish this, you may wish to read the suppliers’ terms and conditions. When you are aware of restrictions in place with regard to minimum orders, you can then plan purchases, and you can start working on larger orders that will last you months instead of just weeks.
Putting together a shortlist of suppliers and wholesalers is a crucial element in making the right choice for you and your business. Seeing what choices and options you have can help you plan out funds, purchases and quantity – ensuring you do not purchase more than you need to.