Locals Can Help Avoid The Coming Supply Crunch

Foodservice operators are able to improve the quality and value of food products by sourcing local vendors, and giving preferences to green initiatives. This is an important sourcing strategy that also supports an even more important initiative.

The world’s food growing limitations and coming inflation will politicize the production and distribution of many transported food products and commodities. We have already seen legislation controlling farming land development, cattle and poultry processing. These are only a few of the components that will change the face of the foodservice supply-chain.

Unless the foodservice industry reforms the menu and purchasing processes by supporting local and regional suppliers, America’s golden age of food product variety at reasonable cost will give way to product shortages and allocation programs.    

In our purchasing consulting practice and my previous experiences with Fortune 100 restaurant chains, there has always been a battle for a share of the world’s food supplies. The independent restaurant operator, and many emerging chains do not understand that we compete against international conglomerate farms/packers,both domestic and foreign.   

Will your foodservice organization be forced to change menu offering because of world-food management solutions? Did you realize that the largest food organizations already utilize closed buying systems for the purpose of expanding control over food supplies.  My consulting firm specializes in protecting our foodservice clients from price increases and supply shortages. However, we come across too many operators that try to match the popular menu items promoted by the major brands..Other restauarnt chains depend on distributors to manage supply relationships for them without realizing this does not provide the same price-volume protection as contracting directly with the supplier. 

What can be done? 

We are a creative and talented industry, isn't it time that we made changes in how product are selected for the menu?  Why create “false” markets and elevate common products like the Kiwi fruit , to exotic food status. Many restaurants promote bone-in chicken wings, once a throw away item, creating a high-demand and supply problems. Does every casual dining, sports bar, pizza and sandwich joint have to offer chicken wings?  

It's true that foodservice has been a "follow-the-leader" industry when it comes to products. The “me-too” product offerings inflate acquistion costs for everyone (ex: chicken tenders’ prices are now falling because the BK promotion has ended). When will product development managers and chefs follow the lead of procurement professionals who can identify best buys based on seasonality and product availability. Why not use more pork and  turkey for greater profitsand give the customer a break by discounting menu prices! 

A better solution is to make product selections in tune with seasoning farming production, protein availability. The new menu management process can start with chain Purchasing and Culinary departments working together in sourcing local vendors and buying more seasonally available products.   

Independent restaurants can also support the local and regional supply sources.  To jump start this process, consider developing a local supplier database of local green suppliers, independent farms, growers, packers, processors and re-distribution centers (ie: DOT Foods, Mega-Warehouses).

Send the local supplier data base from your part of the state to State Restauarnt Associastions and recommend that they support this initiative  and share information from around the state in an online database of suppliers.

I am confident that local suppliers can help prevent a supply-crisis if we prepare for the coming changines. The industry will  have to "do more with less product variety" and pay higher prices for the products that are available. This is why we must develop and support food sources closer to home.

The Foodservice community, more than any government program, can lead the way in preserving food self-sufficiency. And, in doing so,  assure the food supplies for the talented professionals that feed America.

A final suggestion: whenever your foodservice distributor or purchasing agent seeks a new source of supply, takes a competitive bid, grant a 5% cost preference to locally qualified suppliers and consider it a business investment.




Fred Favole is President of Strategic Purchasing Services (SPS), America’s most experienced foodservice firm specializing the outsourcing, rebate recovery,  staff support, and commodity contracting. His contract information: P: 912.634.0030, email: Favole@gate.net. Profile: linkedIN.com/in/strategicpurchasing

Views: 16


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Eateries turn to rationing as lime prices soar

Unrest caused by Mexico's drug cartels, along with floods in Mexico and a drought in California, are taking a toll on this ye -More

25% Usage Reduction, Guaranteed!
Reduce waste and cut cost. Impress your customers and express your brand. Every single Tork Xpressnap napkin dispenser performs double-duty for your business. Find out more about our 25% usage reduction guarantee or get a free trial.

Burger King to upgrade wireless with Whopper Wi-Fi

Burger King has teamed with AT&T to replace existing in-store wireless Internet with an upgraded system dubbed Whopper Wi-Fi  -More

Late-night indulgence pays off for Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box saw its profits rise sharply in the first quarter, a few months after introducing its $6 Munchie Meal menu of -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

TED: David Brooks: Should you live for your résumé ... or your eulogy? - David Brooks (2014)

Within each of us are two selves, suggests David Brooks in this meditative short talk: the self who craves success, who builds a résumé, and the self who seeks connection, community, love -- the values that make for a great eulogy. (Joseph Soloveitchik has called these selves "Adam I" and "Adam II.") Brooks asks: Can we balance these two selves?

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service