Restaurant Comparison Chart

Restaurant 1

3

Distance Away

Seating Capacity

When Started

Type Meals

Clientele

Know Owner?

Weekday Volume

Weekend Volume

Dinner Only

Lunch and Dinner

Days Open

Like Eating There?

Want Your Produce Served There?

How many places should you try to sign up? Only one, or possibly two. Here's the reason: harvesting, delivery, and collection are very time-consuming. If you can take everything to one place, so much the better. You should have a second choice in the back of your mind, just in case something happens to your first choice. (Restaurants do burn down or change hands occasionally.)

Hew to Find the Best Place

Make a list of all the restaurants within five to ten miles of your garden; then pick the best two or three for final consideration. Compare how far they are from you, how big they are, how long they've been in business, the type of meals served, the type of clientele, whether you or anyone you know is acquainted with the owner, the volume of business done on weekdays as well as on the weekend, whether the restaurant serves lunch as well as dinner, and how many days per week it's open. Last, but not least, is it a place where you would like toeat, and would you be proud of having your produce served there? Write this all down in chart form, and it will be easy to see who comes out on top.

How to Approach Them

Your next step is to see the owner or manager and sell your idea and yourself. Why do you have to sell yourself? Because you're dealing with people, and you first have to convince the owner that he would like to deal with you, that you can raise good vegetables, that you will deliver on time and are dependable. All people in business are hesitant to try anything new, not merely because of the uncertainty of being able to sell it (they may be willing to take a chance on that), but because they're unsure of the dependability of the supply or the supplier. If it's wildly successful, what if the new supplier can't deliver fast enough? If it's moderately successful, what if the customers get to depend on it and the supplier gets sick or goes out of business? Many businesses have been "burned" with bad experiences, especially with people who had appealing items or services and tried to supply them from small part-time businesses run from their homes.

Remember that most restaurants have never bought produce from local farms or gardens. They buy from established wholesale restaurant supply firms who purchase in huge quantities and can deliver anything at any time, usually a day orso after the restaurant phones in the order. You, on the other hand, are going tosupply an unknown amount of material of untested quality. Getting discouraged? Don't. Remember, your produce will be fresher and will taste incomparably better. So don't be hesitant to sell yourself and your produce.

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