[Market-farming] Restaurants / salad greens

Janet Bachmann janetb at ncat.org
Mon Oct 6 08:57:10 EDT 2003

Thanks, Liz, for this advice! I have sold very little to restaurants, 
but have just finished a draft for a new ATTRA publication on selling to 
restaurants. If anyone would like a copy, please call 800-345-9140 and 
ask for info on selling to restaurants. It includes several profiles 
from around the country. And the following summary:

One key to remember when working with chefs or restaurant owners is that 
they are very busy people. The following pointers in regard to 
maintaining an account were gleaned from talking with several chefs and 
market gardeners.

• Ask the chef what day of the week and hour is the best time to contact 
them and then be consistent about making contact at that time every week 
to find out what they need.
• Ask how they want to be contacted: telephone, e-mail, or fax.
• Provide delivery service.
• Schedule a winter visit with seed catalogs in hand before ordering 
seed for the coming season; chefs appreciate the opportunity to tell you 
what they can use or would like to try.
• Chefs are able to feature local produce on their menus if they have 
advance notice about what is available.
• Chefs are willing to pay premium prices for specialty products such as 
berries, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, and salad mix, but not for 
“commodities” such as potatoes.

Liz Pike wrote:

Hey Roger, the best thing to do is to ask the chef/restaurant. Different

>chefs/restaurants want different things.   Generally, anything you can do on
>your end to increase kitchen efficiency for them is well-received.  The same
>for varieties to grow.  Take them a seed catalog and let them drool.  This
>gives them more "ownership" in the crops, and they're likely to increase
>their orders beyond greens.

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