5 Reasons Your Restaurant Should Embrace Local Food Distribution Systems

Locally sourced foods can be spotted on menus everywhere these days, from upscale restaurants that started the trend with full farm-to-table menus to more casual eateries and even chains that feature just a few local options.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) reports that 70% of millennials, who boast $200 billion of buying power, say local sourcing factors in deciding where they decide to dine. This trend and consumers’ desire to know where their food comes from is not going anywhere. It actually appears to be evolving to become “the new normal,” according to the NRA.

Despite diners’ strong demand for local foods at restaurants, chefs and other foodservice buyers have a hard time sourcing them through traditional food distributors. Large food distribution systems don’t offer many locally produced items because it would force the need for more warehouses and overhauling existing operations to ensure timely delivery. It simply isn’t cost-effective for them to make this change.

Another issue is that local farms and ranches often have fragmented networks and don’t know how to distribute their food efficiently or don’t produce enough to qualify for big foodservice distributors. This means that their surplus may go to waste each year.

FoodMaven is solving these distribution inefficiencies by partnering with local farmers and ranchers to offer restaurants more direct sourcing of high-quality local food, sometimes at less than market price. Creating this new way of sourcing local food also provides revenue for local suppliers by selling the portion of their food that would normally go unused. It also makes it easier for restaurants and commercial kitchens to add sought-after farm-to-table offerings to their menus.

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider complementing your current foodservice distributor with a local food sourcing solution like FoodMaven:

1. You’ll simplify your ordering.

If it’s too much work to order local foods from numerous farms, ranches and other local produce distributors then consider one-stop sourcing from FoodMaven. We specialize in getting local meats, fresh produce and other unique specialty items to commercial kitchens looking for local ingredients to feature on their menus.

2. You can generate more revenue with more local options.

Purchasing food that travels a shorter distance and requires less storage time can be to your advantage. You’ll have more purchasing leverage since you can buy foods much closer to use-by dates—the circle of potential buyers shrinks as the food gets closer to its expiration.

You can also save by working with FoodMaven, which sources high-quality oversupply and imperfects from local farmers and ranchers to offer buyers local foods for less. Then you can price the local fare a bit higher since consumers are willing to pay more for menu items featuring locally grown ingredients, reports a Nielsen study.

3. You’ll strengthen the local economy.

When you work with a local food distributor, your money stays in your community to boost the local economy, not a faraway corporation. As you generate revenue for local farmers and ranchers, it has a ripple effect. When they succeed, you succeed because you’re associated with them. And as your local economy grows, so does your own potential for new business.

4. You’ll build a better relationship with the community.

Every farmer, rancher or artisan you support has employees and fans who are local patrons, too. When they see the local partner on your menu, they instantly become your fan, too.

When you do business with a local distributor, you may also be lending support to additional organizations in your own community. FoodMaven, for example, donates any food we cannot sell to Colorado hunger-relief organizations. In total, we have donated more than half a million meals to food banks.

5. You’ll positively impact the environment.

Buying more local ingredients means you’re reducing the miles the food travels to your restaurant and therefore its greenhouse gas emissions and fossil-fuel usage. You’ll also extend the short shelf life of fresh produce by cutting out the time it takes to ship the produce from California or Mexico, which gives you more time to use it. 

A local food distribution system like FoodMaven can also help your business reduce its environmental impact. We ensure perfectly good food gets used and are committed to a zero-landfill policy. Since 2016, we have averted 7,310 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and put 1,777,060 pounds of food to good use and saved it from winding up in landfills.

Find more business-boosting tips and cost-saving strategies in “12 Innovative Ways to Increase Your Restaurant’s Profit Margin.”