Running out of food is a big no-no if you run a restaurant, catering company, or any other type of food-related business.
As a business owner, you can avoid having to deal with this problem which can easily turn disastrous by purchasing bulk food supplies from wholesale food distributors and storing them properly to maintain their quality for weeks and even months.
If it’s your first time to shop for bulk food products, here are five buying and stocking tips that will definitely help:
1. Buy bulk items that you will use every day
Purchasing bulk products that you don’t regularly use or include in your dishes can lead to waste. Keep in mind that bulk items are only worth purchasing if you can actually use them before they spoil or expire.
Buy only wholesale fresh fruits, vegetables, or meat that you use regularly as ingredients in your menu items. If you serve mashed potatoes and there is a marked demand for it, stock up on potatoes.
However, don’t buy other fruits and vegetables in bulk that you don’t frequently use. Unless you will pickle or preserve them, they won’t retain their good quality and flavor for a long time even if you store them properly.
There are some items, though, that you should always buy in bulk since you will always have a use for them. They can keep for a long time, too, especially if they are stored correctly. These include:
- Dry pasta
- Grains and beans
- Oil (olive, coconut, etc.)
- Spices and some sauces (e.g. soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, etc.)
2. Pay careful attention to the prices
Usually, bulk prices are cheaper.
However, this isn’t always the case (think nuts and seeds). There are instances where the bulk price could be more expensive. As such, it is always best to do a quick calculation to see if you really are getting a good deal before buying anything.
Do some comparison shopping for the products you buy often as well. This will help you find the best deals and enable you to save some money.
3. Do not bulk buy an item you haven’t tried before
It can be tempting to buy bulk items that are on sale. However, if you haven’t tried the brand or product before, do not buy it. There is a high chance you will regret your decision later on.
When you buy impulsively, you may end up buying an ingredient that has a different taste or texture than the one you and your customers are used to. This, in turn, will compromise the flavor and quality of your dishes.
The bottom line is, do not waste your time and money bulk buying an item unless you have tried and tested it and you are certain that it meets your needs.
4. Make sure you have sufficient storage space
Before you order or go shopping for your bulk supplies, check your pantry and freezer if you have enough space to store them. If not, consider postponing your purchase. You will end up wasting money and food ingredients if you can’t store your perishable supplies properly.
5. Follow proper food handling and storage practices
Proper storage plays a critical role in maintaining the quality and shelf life of bulk foods. Start by getting and using restaurant-grade containers with tightly-sealing lids. They will help maintain the freshness and quality of your supplies. You can use them over and over again as well.
Transfer half or some of the content of your dry products in quart or half-gallon jars for everyday use. This will make it easier for you to use your ingredients. Refill them when necessary. Make sure the remaining items or opened packages are sealed tightly and stored in a cool, dark area of the pantry or cabinet.
You can also freeze some food products such as plain flash frozen chopped vegetables, chicken breast and ground beef. This will ensure any remaining microbial contaminants are killed off and also help to prolong the freshness of food.
Buying those food supplies you need every day in bulk will allow you to save a lot of time and money. You will also avoid disappointing your hungry diners or customers since you will be able to cook and serve their orders every single time.
Jad Asaad is the Marketing Manager at Horeca Trade LLC with more than eight years of experience in digital, online and offline marketing. He started his career in Beirut working in a creative agency and then moved to Dubai to further expand his career. He created and implemented award-winning high-impact digital and offline marketing campaigns that consistently generated revenue streams and improved performance in targeted segments.