Local restaurants serve a vital role in their community. They’re a place for friends to gather, families to celebrate, relationships to begin, experiences to be shared, and delicious, local cuisine to be enjoyed. Each local restaurant is like a microcosm of an entire community’s culture, and sustaining that in a restaurant is no meager undertaking.
For any restaurant to stand the test of time, it needs to provide its diners with the kinds of meal diversity and quality that will keep them coming back. But for a locally owned restaurant to do that, they need a local food service distributor on their side who can help stock their kitchen with the best ingredients and specialty items.
Here’s how Native Maine Produce & Specialty Foods can work alongside your restaurant to make sure that every diner who takes a seat at one of your tables has nothing but the most memorable of experiences:
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The Best Flavors
While diners will always appreciate a menu equipped with familiar favorites (pasta, seafood, soups, salads, and the like), a local restaurant has the unique opportunity to buckle down and craft a dining experience that’s intrinsically linked to the community it gets to call home.
Whether it’s locally caught seafood, dairy products sourced from the farmer down the street, or protein options from a local distributor, it’s a proven fact that diners don’t only gravitate toward local food, they’re often willing to pay more for it too. Filling your menu with local delicacies have the potential to improve your profits, attract more diners, maximize flavors, emphasize health benefits, and so much more.
Broadline distributors may have a vast variety of food items, but it’s the local distributors that have the best and brightest products. Instead of settling for name brand ingredients, try working with a local distributor to track down a local alternative. One of the most persuasive advertising tools at your restaurant’s disposal is its local cuisine, as it literally can’t come from anywhere else.
Like Food Business News says, “More than half of consumers say local foods taste better, and nearly as many agree local foods are higher in quality and less processed.” Other restaurants may be able to use local ingredients of their own, but they won’t be the same as your local ingredients, and that’s the kind of distinction you can use to get people in the front door.
For example, here at Native Maine, we work with our friends at Lakin’s Gorges Cheese, LLC to provide restaurants with plenty of fine and locally-sourced cheeses. Every restaurant out there has cheese-based meals on their menu, but how many of them can say that they only use local, fresh, and aged cheeses made with single-source cow’s milk? The more local your menu’s offerings are, the easier it’ll be for you to stand out from the crowd.
Don’t keep your local ingredients a secret either! Instead of labeling a menu item with a vanilla title like “Ribeye Steak and Sweet Potatoes,” try rebranding it to include the name of the farm the steak and potatoes came from. This won’t only catch the eye of your diners, but it will also emphasize your willingness to spotlight the local businesses you work with.
As one of New England’s leading produce distributors, Native Maine Produce & Specialty Items will always go the extra mile to ensure our customers have access to local, regional, and other hard-to-find specialty foods. We want your diners to have the best meal they possibly can, and will work alongside you as you stock your kitchen with the ingredients you’ll need to do just that.
If someone is looking to eat healthier, they’ll probably be eating a lot of local foods. And there’s a good reason for that, as local food doesn’t spend nearly as much in transit between harvesting and the dining table. Michigan State University Extension says it like this, “Food imported from far-away states and countries is often older, has traveled and sits in distribution centers before it gets to your store.”
The longer food and produce sits in a transport truck or a storage facility, the more the nutrient value is going to drop. This is why local ingredients tend to not only be richer in healthy nutrients but also taste better as well. With less time sitting in boxes, the food a local restaurant serves is going to be filled with better nutrients and delicious flavors.
With over 50% of diners say that they specifically look for restaurants that serve locally-sourced food, serving local cuisine should be a no-brainer. Native Maine wants to help you serve your patrons the freshest and most nutritious meals possible, and our diverse assortment of food products is designed to do just that.
Deliveries When You Need Them
In addition to the health benefits, local food offers another perk to restaurants: flexibility. If it’s a Thursday evening and you suddenly encounter a shortage of ingredients, for example, then a local food distributor has the unique ability to provide you with a shipment far faster than a broadline distributor could. This means you can make sure your kitchen is well-stocked for the weekend rush and avoid having to tell your hungry diners that you don’t have that meal they were so eager to order.
Since local distributors are, by definition, local, they can work with you directly and meet your needs in a way few other, if any, distributors could ever dream of. Where broadline distribution relies on static, reoccurring shipments, local alternatives can deliver as few or as many times as you need.
Benefit the Local Economy
The importance of local businesses cannot be overstated. Not only do “small businesses contribute to local economies by bringing growth and innovation to the community in which the business is established,” but they “also help stimulate economic growth by providing employment opportunities to people who may not be employable by larger corporations.”
On top of that, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) reported in 2018 that local small businesses employed 58.9 million people and created 1.9 million new jobs. Those are considerable numbers and go a long way toward helping illustrate just how vital and vibrant local small businesses are to their local communities and the economy of the country at large.
As a local restaurant, you have the unique opportunity to not only benefit your community’s economy by providing them with excellent service and employment, but you can also pay-it-forward by working with a local food distributor. This will demonstrate that you want to invest in the community, a statement that won’t go unappreciated by your diners.
According to a study examined by the American Independent Business Alliance, almost 50% of the profits made from each purchase at local independent businesses was recirculated locally, compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores.” The study also found that “each $100 spent at local independents generated $45 of secondary local spending, compared to $14 for a big-box chain.”
To take this even further, consider this example from FairFoodNetwork.com: “When you buy a non-local head of lettuce or piece of fruit in a national chain supermarket, the majority of that dollar goes to the corporation that owns the store. When you buy that head of lettuce at a farmers market, the farmer takes home 100 percent of that dollar.”
When local business owners make a profit, not only are they able to spend more on local employees, but those employees will then be able to spend more money with area merchants. This starts a cycle that generates greater financial support for local organizations and activities, keeping the community (and its economy) alive and well.
Local businesses provide more than a service; they help curate a community. Whether it’s a local gift store, a coffee shop, or fine dining restaurant, every locally owned and operated business in a community plays a crucial role in developing and sustaining that community’s sense of culture and personality.
While it’s technically feasible to run a business without interacting with other entrepreneurs in the area, it’s not recommended. If you want to contribute to the community—and you should—then you need to participate in that community by offering your services to its residents and its business owners.
For example, consider you exclusively serve local protein options in your restaurant. This means that you’re supporting another local business while simultaneously elevating your profits by providing your customers with the kinds of items they want. It’s a universally winning situation that benefits anyone and everyone it comes into contact with.
Entrepreneur says it like this: “The combined presence of your town’s many local businesses makes it different from every other city in the world. By supporting those businesses instead of chains, you ensure that uniqueness is preserved as a part of your community.”
When your local restaurant works with a local food distributor, not only will you be contributing to your community and its economy, but you’ll also be building a valuable relationship with another business that could lead to future partnerships, deals, and opportunities. If that wasn’t enough incentive, supporting and engaging with the community can also make your customers more inclined to visit again and again, which will improve profits and make it that much easier to grow and expand.
The Meals Your Diners Deserve
Regardless of how valuable local businesses and partnerships can be to a community, a restaurant’s first objective should always be to provide its diners with the best service possible. When people eat out, they’re looking for an experience they can’t have anywhere else, and it’s your job to give them that.
This means offering the finest meals, the best beverages, and the highest quality ingredients available. When you partner with Native Maine Produce & Specialty Foods, you’ll be able to provide your diners with all of that and more. We have over 3,000 quality items in stock that we can deliver to your doorstep in record time, ensuring that you always have access to the freshest local items on the market.
If you’re ready to outfit your restaurant’s menu with the best meals, then get in touch with Native Maine today! We’re one of New England’s leading wholesale distributors and are eager to work alongside you and help you better serve your diners for years to come. Give us a call at (207) 856-1100!