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Making their appearance in the 1970’s, broadline foodservice distributors started the trend of providing a one-stop-shopping experience for not only restaurants, but schools, hospitals, hotels, etc. As a convenience-oriented nation we gravitate towards simplicity, and what can be easier than ordering everything you need from a single source. 

Chances are you’re already receiving your food and non-food items from a broadline distributor. The question then becomes do you have an exclusive agreement with your broadline supplier and if so, is this your most profitable path?

Multiple broadband distributors, multiple benefits

While it may be easier to focus what little spare time you have to a single restaurant supplier. The benefits of onboarding a second broadband distributor can provide a multitude of benefits. With profitability the key to keeping your doors open, you need to examine all routes to ensure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.

You may be getting special discounts, the VIP treatment and favorable terms from your sole broadline distributor. However, it’s time to put them under a magnifying glass and examine the advantages of adding a second broadline distributor.

Checklist
  • Lessen price creep – Depending on how long you’ve had a relationship with your broadband distributor you may or may not (yet) have encountered the slow but steady rise in prices. You can keep this in check by comparing prices charged between your broadband distributors. And when prices rise, you need to take proactive measures to keep your outlay of cash to a minimum.
  • Ensure product quality – While you may be purchasing all of your food products from a single distributor, are you receiving the quality of meats, produce, dairy, etc. that you’ve built your reputation on? Are these products meeting your sustainability and transparency requirements? Be sure the items you specialize in are sourced, handled and distributed in a manner that keeps your diners coming back.
  • Keep your menu fresh – When you have more than one restaurant supplier they will work harder to keep your business. And that means offering you more variety, unique products and perhaps even higher quality goods. You can use their competitive nature to your advantage and offer differentiating menu options to gain a competitive edge on the restaurants in your vicinity.
  • Put the customer back into customer service –  I’m sure you’ve been there. Whether your fault or that of your broadline distributors, you were shorted on some items. If you have just a single restaurant supplier will they be willing, or can they respond to your needs at a moment’s notice? Having a second distributor means you are at less risk of running out of the items you need. And always having the products you need means you won’t have customers walking out the door because you can’t make their favorite dish. 
  • Make a difference – With sustainability and transparency top-of-mind of your customers, you need to do everything you can to let them know you are onboard. Your purchasing power can make a difference. Be sure the broadline distributors you use share the values that your customers care about and the ones you’ve built your restaurant’s reputation around.  

One or two broadline distributors?

While the choice is yours, the evidence speaks for itself. Having more than one broadline distributors can not only can keep your prices down, but can ensure that the products you need are always at hand. Not to mention, you will be doing your part in global sustainability efforts and ensuring competitiveness remains the backbone of our nation’s economy.

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