Blog - Native Maine Produce

How Food Service Directors Can Economically Purchase Fresh, High-Quality Produce for Hundreds of Diners

produce market

Food preparation isn’t always an exact science. It can be hard to tell whether you’ll need more or less produce at any given time.

When cooking up food for hundreds or possibly thousands of people a day—no matter how precisely you’ve measured everything out—things happen. Produce goes bad. You may get a surprise rush of customers. You could run out of a popular item. That’s what your local produce provider is for. Even if you’re already getting inventory from a larger, corporate distributor, you can work with another smaller, local distributor to help out when times are tough.

Keeping Inventory

You have limited space to store your produce, but that’s alright because you want to limit how long food actually stays in storage. By keeping track of your inventory, you can save money and stop food shortages before they happen.

In order to minimize the loss of nutrients, most food-service establishments store produce away from light, air, moisture, and heat by using a large industrial refrigerator. They likely aren’t going to be keeping their produce in-house for more than three or four days, which means fresh shipments of produce may be necessary multiple times a week or even daily.

Not every broad-line distributor is able to ship so often, so dining service providers may purchase food items that they can freeze or that have added preservatives to help the food last longer on their shelves. This greatly reduces the quality of your product, especially when fresh ingredients are no longer the main attraction of your meals. Not to mention, when you finally get around to using that produce that’s been sitting, it may not have kept as well as you imagined. It’s not unheard of for entire businesses to go under after minor mistakes like these that then affect their entire inventory.

By purchasing and scheduling shipments often, you’ll always get the freshest ingredients. Contracting a steady lane of shipment volume from food suppliers could be an easy way to start saving and could even help establish repeatable savings opportunities. Also, when a distributor knows that they have your reliable business, it helps them see future growth opportunities with their suppliers and build out their network in order to get you the best produce at a lower cost.

Quality Control

When you’re serving more people, you’ll be needing more food. The first thing to falter when a business starts handling more customers is the quality. Even if the dining service isn’t new at all, when you’re handling a consistently large number of orders, it can be hard to keep them all perfect. The same could be said about shipments. When buying in bulk, you may not be getting prime produce.

Quality will affect your profit. When people notice a larger dining service as an option for one of their meals, they’re often looking for the same quality of a home-cooked meal but at a more affordable price than if they went out and purchased all the ingredients themselves.

There is a different expectation set by fast-food vendors or larger chains that may skimp out on the quality of food in order to optimize the speed of preparation. Customers already know the lower quality to expect with those chains, but your dining service may have to prove its quality is worth their business every day.

Ensuring Benefit

Native Maine aims to help people with their individual concerns that can be customized into a regular shipment relationship. Quality is our mission with both the product and the service we provide. Feel free to contact us today!