joehler at email.arizona.edu
joehler at email.arizona.edu
Sun Oct 5 14:08:50 EDT 2003
Thank you very much for this post, it was very informative. Especially,
thanks for the advice on the behavior of chefs, this will be very helpful.
At 12:03 PM 10/05/2003 -0400, you wrote:
>Date: Sun, 05 Oct 2003 09:20:11 -0400
>From: Lucy Goodman <goodows at infinet.com>
>Subject: [Market-farming] Hints for selling to restaurants
>To: Market Farming <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Message-ID: <3F801A8B.7060508 at infinet.com>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed
>It seems we have many people on this list who want to start selling to
>I have been on both sides of the restaurant coin, I have managed
>kitchens (which means I got to do the ordering) and I have grown and
>sold to kitchens.
>as far as I know as long as you are not selling meat or value added
>items (baked or canned goods) there are no permits or licensing needed
>in the US in order to sell to a restaurant.
>To start you will be cold calling. When you do this be sure to speak
>only with the head chef. This is the person in charge of the menus and
>food ordering, i.e. the person who makes ALL food decisions at the
>restaurant. Do not talk with the owner or manager unless this person is
>also the head chef. If the chef is not there than ask when would be a
>good time to come back.
>Never Ever make a call or delivery of any kind during lunch or dinner.
>Lunch is 11 am to 2pm and dinner is 4pm to 8pm in most fine dinning
>restaurants. come in during these hours and in most cases you will be
>asked to never come back for any reason. These are the Crunch hours at a
>restaurant. This is perhaps the most important rule to selling to
>restaurants-respecting their hours.
>When you show up for the first time bring along samples of what you have
>plus farm info, contact info and a sheet with what you will have through
>the year and when. be sure to get the chef's contact info especially
>email so you can easily update what you have weekly. If the restaurant
>has not been buying local food you will have to educate the chef and
>cooks on how to deal with fresh food. Restaurants, like most cooking
>endeavors has gone to preprocessed/frozen food and many kitchens have
>cooks that are trained to open packages and heat things not actually
>cook. The days of kitchens with cooks that cook from scratch are
>becoming a thing of the past.
>I have noticed that a few kitchens I have dealt with start out excited
>about using locally grown foods (it is popular right now) but that
>excitement fades as they realize they don't know how to deal with fresh
>whole food so they quit ordering without any explanation (I figure they
>do this out of embarrassment as a chef of a good restaurant it is
>assumed does know all about all foods).
>Most fine dinning restaurants are small places and do not order all that
>much food. Don't depend on one for all your sales. The one we deal with
>will order $20 to $50 worth of food most weeks. Occasionally we will get
>a huge order of $75. They like dealing with small farmers because they
>can get small amounts of things like tomatoes-10 pounds rather than a 25
>pound case or 2 bunches of radishes instead of a whole case, etc..
>I have found that most chefs are truly thankful for a source for fresh
>local sustainable food But they are chefs and tend to be the prima donna
>type-they will be just great one week and the next week you may rub the
>chef the wrong way and be sent away amid a flood of expletives. If this
>happens it is best to yell back at the chef and tell him (most chefs are
>hims) you are not an employee and if he doesn't like the food you can
>just leave and never come back. Usually you will get a call asking for
>forgiveness and to come back. From spending well over a decade working
>for such people I realize this is kitchen culture-treat the employees
>like slaves and the chefs like Gods.
>Once you have an account with a restaurant you will need to figure out
>what to charge. For high quality chefs will pay higher prices but they
>have to keep the cost of food under 20% of the total budget or they will
>go out of business. Get a copy of the menu to see what they are charging
>and if possible also get a price list from their main food purveyor to
>see what they are used to paying for.
>As for what to grow talk to the chef and see what they want.
>Boulder Belt Organics
>New Paris, OH
>Check out the Boulder Belt website:
>"There is no way to peace---peace is the way."
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>Market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org
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>End of Market-farming Digest, Vol 9, Issue 7
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