Finding the best quality products for your restaurant

One of the most exciting businesses you can embark on is to open a restaurant where you can serve the food you love and see people enjoying it. However, diners are a very discerning lot and you have to offer them something special to ensure your restaurant becomes a popular destination. One of the most important elements is to ensure you source only the best quality products for your restaurant.

Quality counts

Finest quality, in this respect, does not just apply to the food you intend to serve; it applies to every aspect of your restaurant, from the front of house through to the dining area and the kitchen.

Let’s start with the front of house. This has to look inviting and you achieve this by ensuring it is always clean and tidy. Nothing is more off-putting than a restaurant that looks scruffy, because customers will wonder, if the front looks bad what does the kitchen look like? You should also try to make your front of house look as contemporary as possible, even if your food and dining experience is more last century than this. Choose furniture that reflects your overall style but that fits modern ideas of comfort and cool. However, while style is hugely important, you should also consider the practical aspects of your choices. For example, if yours is a family-friendly venue, you may need to choose seating that can accommodate hook-on child seats and even ones that can be easily cleaned, in which case, fabric upholstery may be a poor choice in comparison to leather or wood.

When talking about quality products, this applies predominantly to the ingredients you use to create your food, but also to the pots and pans in which you cook the various dishes. Unlike a domestic kitchen, a commercial kitchen should not focus on prettiness. The saucepans and other cooking vessels you purchase for your restaurant kitchen should be hardwearing, robust and suitable for the types of dishes you intend to cook. The same goes for the hobs and ovens and the refrigeration and freezer goods. Making well-researched, sensible choices in these regards should mean that your kitchen operates at a truly efficient level, with ingredients close to hand and always kept fresh.

Now let us talk about the food. Getting this right at the very beginning of your new restaurant venture is vital, as making a mistake about what your brand is all about could cost you dearly in terms of custom. What makes quality products will depend on the type of food you offer and the type of experience you are trying to sell. For example, if your restaurant is aiming to provide seasonal food that is locally sourced, then obviously this is going to inhibit your provisioning choices a little, and may push up the prices you buy and sell at.

Not every restaurant wants to offer seasonal and local food and for them the provisioning choices are nigh on endless. For example, you can buy supplies from your nearest wholesale supplier or you can set your sights further, acquire ingredients that are not available in your area or even your country and use an import company, such as Easy Imex, to source ingredients from abroad, such as China or Japan. Such a process may not be as expensive as you think, and may even, paradoxically, be cheaper than buying locally, where prices can be inflated because of bad weather, poor harvests or high labour costs.

If the restaurant has been in operation for some time and you are unhappy with the quality of the products or the range available from your usual suppliers, it may be time to make a change. However, rather than making a total break, you may want to experiment with ordering a few supplies from a new provider and testing the waters to judge on their quality of product and quality of service, just in case they do not meet your expectations. It could be difficult to go back to an old supplier on your old terms, as you would find yourself on the back foot in negotiations. Basically, do not burn your bridges before you are assured of the quality from an alternative supplier.

Make the most of your restaurant business by offering your patrons quality products in terms of environment and service as well as food, and explore both the local and global sourcing opportunities available to you to ensure good cash flow and an extensive range of choice.

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