1. Commitment. Restaurants, for cost control, need to be somewhat automated in their purchasing patterns. When a chef commits to buying a certain amount, the chef anticipates it to be delivered accordingly.
2. Delivery Schedule. Chefs depend on the arriving product. Work with your chef so the restaurant can have a steady stream of fresh product during the week. Also, try to establish a delivery system that works for both the kitchen and your schedule. Know your restaurant's busy times and plan your calls & visits around these times, not in the middle of them.
3. Sell what you can deliver. If you are selling meats or fish, make sure that you have the appropriate permits to sell to restaurants or retailers. Also, don't short the kitchen, the chef is expecting a certain quantity. If the product is different than what you offered call the chef and ask if they still want it.
4. Sell your product. Chefs love free samples. Be generous with your prized product when you first stop by the restaurant (do call in advance!) and on that first delivery day encourage them to try & taste the difference. Sample at farmer's markets, where chefs are known to cruise and taste.
5. Know your customers and their customers. Eat in the restaurants where you deliver. Lunch is a cheaper alternative if offered. Just as important as having a chef visit you, you'll see how your product is used. You'll be inspired.
6. Be Professional. Part patience and part diligence - remember to be consistent in your work and with your product. Assist the person receiving the delivery by collecting your boxes, be on time, courteous, and prepare invoices ahead. Call if you will be late.
7. Billing. Like any other businessperson you have a right to be paid on time. First time deliveries may be paid in cash, but it is far more efficient for everyone to establish an account.
8. Specialize and diversify: Diversify the product that you offer
and make yourself unique. Research the market so you know what others
are growing/catching and where the holes are. Talk to your chef about
what they would like to see on their menus in the future. Be creative.
©Ecotrust and the Portland Chapter of the Chefs Collaborative