If you serve hamburgers, steaks, roast chicken, or thousands of other dishes at your restaurant, you need to hire a meat supplier. You may have several options in your area, but it can be challenging to find the right one. Keep these points in mind.
1. Does the Meat Supplier Offer the Diversity You Want?
The majority of meat suppliers sell the most common meats such as beef, pork, and chicken, but you may want more than those three. Does the company have ducks, cornish game hens, goats, and other meats that you may eventually want? Remember, you want a supplier that can meet the needs of your current menu as well as specials that you want to put on in the future.
On top of that, you want to ensure that the meat supplier has the cuts of meat you need. Can you also get bones for stock? If a supplier can't meet all of your current and future needs, you may want to look for another option.
2. What Delivery Schedule Does the Company Offer?
If a meat supplier has the options you want, you also want to look at its delivery schedule. You need a schedule that can keep your restaurant stocked with fresh meat, but you also need a delivery schedule that works with your storage space. For instance, if you serve a high volume of customers, but you have limited space in your fridge and freezer, you may need a meat supplier who comes twice a week or even daily.
Additionally, you need a company that is willing to do emergency orders. What happens if you run out of a certain meat due to a high volume of orders one evening? In particular, can the company take an order and fill it 12 to 24 hours later? That may involve a surcharge, but it's a useful feature for a supplier to offer.
3. What Is the Company's Billing Cycle?
Cash flow can be hit or miss in the restaurant industry. To make it easier to run your business, you may want a supplier that offers net 30 or net 60 invoicing. On the other hand, for those times when you're flush with cash, you may also want a supplier that offers a discount for paying in advance. Flexibility is key.
4. What Is the Company's Reputation Like?
Ideally, you should never hire a meat supplier or any other supplier without researching them first. What do other restaurateurs have to say about their services? Are there negative articles or reviews about the company online?
For example, one meat supplier to a dog food manufacturer has a history of selling horse meat that has been infested with phenobarbital. If you find information like that about a company online, that's a sign that you want to go in another direction. If it's been awhile since the incident, you may just want to ask the rep about what the supplier has done to change its protocol or practices since that happened.
5. Where Does the Company Source Its Meat From?
You may also want to know where the company gets its meat from. Does it use local farmers and ranchers? If not, can the company explain where the meat comes from and the processes it goes through before it reaches your restaurant?
In addition, you may want the company to show you an up-to-date certification from the USDA (united States Department of Agriculture). That helps to ensure that the company is following the necessary protocols for dealing with and transporting meat safely.
To learn more, contact a meat supplier directly. They will be able to answer your questions and help you determine if they are a good fit for your needs.