The Types of Food Suppliers to Consider

Food truck suppliers for your mobile kitchen are important. Here’s what to consider when looking for suppliers to work with.

Wholesale food retailers sell supplies and food to most restaurants. Companies such as Sysco and Shamrock Foods Company send sales representatives to restaurants and the like to discuss the businesses’ needs, show the owners their catalog of offerings, take orders, and set up delivery times. Wholesalers provide just about anything a restaurant could need, not only food, but also kitchen and bar accessories, utensils, and paper goods at the lowest possible prices.

They set up weekly or bi-weekly deliveries and bring all of the order straight to the establishment. This is by far the most time and cost effective option available for a restaurant looking for a supplier.

If a food truck can work out delivery times with a wholesaler and has enough storage space to stock food and supplies in bulk, its owner should find the vendor best fit to support their business. Wholesalers can also assist with other aspects of the business by providing tools like menu design, product recommendation, and profitability consultation.

Bulk Stores & Warehouse Stores

Bulk or warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco offer products in high volume at a low cost. They usually require shoppers to pay an annual membership fee, but if the member plans to shop at the store regularly, they can quickly make up the money spent on the fee in savings. For a food truck business, great things to buy here are staples, like rice and flour, since they will stay for a prolonged period of time and will definitely be put to use eventually.

As long as the quality is high and it will be used before it goes bad, bulk stores are also a good place to purchase produce. A benefit of this type of store for a food truck business is that it allows access to wholesale prices in a local setting.

However, the savings gained are limited. To save on a large stock of staples, the food truck must have space to store all of these oversized items for an extended time. Savings on produce can be great, as long as a truck possesses enough cooler capacity to keep these items fresh until they are used. Some food truck owners may find that when they purchase in bulk, the amount of waste nullifies the initial savings and that buying in smaller quantities, even if it is at a higher price, is more sustainable. Others may opt to buy only one or two frequently used items from a bulk store.

Grocery Stores

Grocery stores are definitely more expensive than wholesale options for food truck supplies, but it may be beneficial for a food truck owner to use their local markets in certain situations. If an event pops up last minute, certain supplies needed the same day are missing, or a vital ingredient in a truck’s most popular menu item runs out long before expected in the first few hours of service, a food truck owner’s best bet may be to run to the closest grocery.

Since the layout of the store should be familiar, a shopper will be able to get in and out of the store and back to business as quickly as possible. Shopping for deals and employing a couponing application to stay organized and save time is a good way to save money on specific items at this type of store, but cannot necessarily be relied upon for regular use.