This year’s 2nd Annual Farm to City Expo at the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York, focused on “Turning Local Purchasing into Profits for Farmers, Restaurateurs and Entrepreneurs.” The program included three panel discussions featuring a distinguished speaker lineup of farmers, restaurateurs, chefs and distributors who are sourcing local New York State food and beverages and successfully making a profit in their businesses as well as promoting sustainable economic development of rural communities. To summarize the panel, here are five reasons why sourcing locally can increase your bottom line:
Higher quality local products cost more, but in the end customers will appreciate the quality, sustainability and local sourcing, which in turn increases their loyalty and your business reputation.
Sourcing locally direct from farms allows your restaurant to purchase in large quantities regularly and do in-house processing, which helps save money in the long run and increase overall profits.
Purchasing directly from farmers and producers cuts out the middle man in the distribution chain and reduces costs.
Whole, unprocessed, organic and natural foods allow restaurants to have better product quality control and creativity in their menus, and gives the restaurant a leading edge over their competitors fulfilling consumer demand for higher quality food and beverages.
Buying local stimulates the New York State economy which creates jobs and allows for more customers to be able to spend money dining out for quality meals more often, which turns into higher spend and profits for your business.
Now that we’ve identified how local sourcing can increase your restaurant's bottom line, how can you get those local products into your restaurant? Here are five tips on getting local sources into your restaurant:
Visit local NYS farms and markets and get to know your local farmers, growers and food, wine, cider and spirits producers and their offerings.
Get involved with Taste NY and Pride of NY state programs and events to learn more about local sourcing and producers.
Utilize the Fresh Connect Program, a program offered by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, which was designed to assist New York Farmers by increasing the sale of locally grown foods to underserved communities, thus improving nutrition and helping to create jobs locally.
Seek out local food co-operatives and food buying hubs, online market programs and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs to connect with groups of local farmers and producers around the state to purchase products directly and through buying groups.