My Top 5 Tips for Selling to Restaurants

today I want to talk to you guys about

five of my best tips if you want to sell

restaurants and one thing that's great

about selling to restaurants when you're

a small farm or a market garden is they

allow you to scale your production very

quickly because they'll buy a lot of

certain products and if you know what

the market is demanding if you know what

these chefs are looking for they'll

allow you to grow a lot of certain

products and scale those products and

move them in all one direction so it

makes it easy to move large volumes of

things so on my farm for example like

I've sold to many different chefs over

the years and my farm has been in

different size and sort of the years

I've been started at a half acre was two

and a half acres

I've grown all kinds of vegetables but

that some of the crops for example that

they allow you to scale is for one solid

greens you can be delivering boxes of

salad greens for a restaurant posts

having to bag them in individual bags

and put them in a CSA or so on a farmers

market radishes we move a ton of

radishes I only sell them to chefs so

we'll have 50 foot beds of radishes and

turnips turnips is another one and we'll

crop that out and it all goes to just a

couple chefs so it means that I can move

a lot of product quickly from a

production standpoint that's great

because I can get it out of the ground

really quickly and get something else in

there so allows you to move volume yes

you are going to sell things a little

bit cheaper when you tell the

restaurants but that's okay that's

that's the trade-off that you make to

move a lot of product in a short amount

of time so let's get into these top five

all right number one fresh sheets you

got to make fresh sheets this is a fresh

sheet I read about it in my book I'll

show you how to make it I even give you

a template you can download it on my

website on how to make it you can just

copy mine rip it off basically what a

fresh sheet is is it is just a quick

summary of what you're selling what the

price is what the volume you're selling

it in it's just a really fast and easy

way for you to communicate with your

customers to let them know what you got

for sale

I comes out every single week you want

to be consistent with it especially when

you're getting started it's very

important to just pinging these chefs to

you know these these guys have people

coming at them all the time if you're in

a farm saturated place like I am there's

farmers knocking on the back door every

single day especially with the hip and

you know the cool restaurant that all

the farmers want to sell at everybody is

bugging them so you got to stay on top

of it you got to be consistent and one

thing with fresh sheets is one little

piece of advice Minh as many but one

little piece of advice is only list the

things on the fresh sheet that you know

you have a lot of because a bad

situation to get in is where you lift

every single thing you have and you're

listing things that you know you only

have you know 10 pounds or 10 units of

and so on and so forth and then you're

short and so then you get more orders

than you expected and now you're going

to call these people and say oh I know

you ordered this but I'm short so you

want to just list the things you know

you have in abundance and you know what

what I would do with my close

relationships that I have with chefs

that I've worked with for years is I'll

list all the things on the fresh sheet

that I have a lot of and if I only know

I have some of this and some of that all

just text message or phone or email my

closest customers to say hey I have this

for you I know you normally want it and

then you don't list it on the fresh

sheet that way you're not going to short

new customers that you're trying to

build a relationship with you know it's

better to under promise and over deliver

number two is have things in case lot

volumes so so at a farmers market we're

selling small units for selling bunches

and bags and so on and so forth but with

chefs we're selling things in case Lots

and so that case lot can be whatever you

want it to be

you've got like it for example I have

case lot bags of radishes so it's a five

or six pound bag at whatever the price

is 25 bucks or something like that you

know you you set the price and and you

just you just want to have these things

in larger units because that way that

incentivizes bigger purchases but it

also makes it easier for them because

most restaurants

all restaurants when they're ordering

they're looking at their distributor or

wholesaler catalogs and everything's

listed in case lots it's a box of this

is big bags of that you know it's

groupings of this or that so that you

want to mimic that and do the same thing

so you know you're selling Tomatoes in a

10 or 15 pound flat you're selling a 10

pound box of salad mix or spinach or

arugula or a two pound bag a two-pound

case lot bag things like that and again

that stuff in my book that's even on my

website that link will be below you can

download that stuff for free but you

want to list things in a in a case lot

number three is you've got to follow up

when you're starting out with

restaurants because like I said there's

people calling them all the time

knocking on the door you got to follow

up so if you're building a new

relationship or relationship with a new

customer and you've only talked to them

a few times but they're going to go

ahead and and get an order you're going

to you're delivering that order say on a

Friday you want to follow up with a

phone call or a text message or an email

phone calls best Doc's you can get them

on the phone that's best phone them and

just ask them how the product worked

asked what you know was everything cool

how much is you guys go through did did

your customers like it just follow up

and show that you care basically show

them that that you know you're putting

them first and you want to make sure

they're satisfied and through those

conversations you're going to it's going

to lead to many other things it's going

to you're going to have conversations

where you're just kind of shooting the

breeze and they say you know what I like

this but you know what it would be

better if it was this way or I wish I

would have had a little bit more and you

know you take notes in these things and

then you get to a point where you work

with a customer long enough that you'll

know how much they're going to use

better than they do and I mean because

it's easier for you to understand your

little niche of bringing them the

specific product than it is for a chef

to know all the suppliers they're buying

from you know it takes them a while to

figure out what they they're going to

need like I have one customer I've sold

to my entire career farming

I know what she needs every Tuesday and

Friday even when she doesn't know she's

when she's not sure she needs something

again I know that she does because I

look back at the years of records that

I've sold to her and I can see the

consistency and so you figure those

things up

I mean you figure those out through the

conversations they're getting to know

what they're using what they like what

they don't like but also just do the

patterns of their orders so following up

is super key to building those

relationships right at the start number

4 super super important 1 I've done a

video on this in a different way but you

want to set terms of payment so you know

that you can decide whatever that is in

certain and certain size restaurants

have different terms but what terms of

payment means is when I deliver you

product you're going to either pay me Co

D which is cash on delivery or you're

going to pay me in a set number of days

and so you want to make sure that that's

discussed and that's on the invoice and

if it's the terms of payment like it's

14 days or 21 days or it's 30 days that

that's agreed on and then when they sign

the invoice they and you keep that copy

for yourself you know that they've

consented to okay from 21 days from this

invoice you're going to get paid and if

you're not getting paid then you got to

follow up again and that's a whole other

can of worms I've got all kinds of

stories regarding that but setting terms

of payment is really important and when

you're just starting out if you have if

you don't have a lot of stuff and you

don't know a lot of infrastructure just

doing things Co D cash on delivery is

the easiest way to go and there's a lot

of restaurants that like Co D if they're

small if they're like you know a 20

tables kind of thing a couple kitchen

stuff Co D can work for them because

they've already got enough to do the

keys are owner operator type restaurants

they've already got enough to do so when

you show up the fact that they settle up

right then and there is easier for them

because then I'll have to do paperwork

later they don't flip through invoices

and see who they owe money to so smaller

restaurants will do that larger

restaurants won't they just don't have

the ability to do it and there's often

many levels of

of a hierarchy in that in that

restaurant you know that the the

restaurant manager is the restaurant

manager they're not the person who is

doing account payable or they're not the

they might not even be the person doing

ordering so there's all these different

tiers and so on a bigger restaurant you

you have to have terms of payment that

are you know weeks or you know a month

or 28 days or something like that so

that that's just kind of part of it and

if you're not ready to do that then

don't sell to those customers if you're

at a point where you need your farm is

really small you're just starting out

you need cash flow don't go out and seek

out those kinds of customers because it

does take time to get paid a lot of my

customers the bigger restaurants that I

sell to at the beginning of the season

they I don't get a check for two months

but then once two months is up then

they're on stream I'm getting each

invoice for a while and that's just kind

of how it is but I understand that going

in so you want to make sure that you're

clear about all these things and both

parties are fully understanding what's

happening you both consent to it number

five be consistent with your deliveries

set your delivery days lift these things

on your fresh eat in in the fresh eat I

have on my website I've got right on the


you know delivery days are Tuesdays and

Fridays if you're going to if you want

delivery on Tuesday you got to have your

order in Monday morning if you want to

delivery on Friday you got to have your

order in on Thursday morning so you set

those terms but you got to be consistent

so it's again don't don't over promise

and under deliver under-promise

over-deliver but be consistent with

these things if you say you know here's

an example of under promising and over

delivering with delivery days at the

beginning of the season we just do

Fridays we don't do start doing Tuesday

deliveries until till we get busier but

I will do Tuesday deliveries to some of

my best customers and so that's an under

promise and over deliver type thing

because then they're happy because they

might call me on a Monday go oh man we

got totally slammed over the weekend and

we sold out of stuff can we get

something from you it's like yeah okay

well we'll deliver on a Tuesday or you

can pick up you know one of the great

advantages we have as an urban farm

being downtown

Colonna is I've got chefs picking up all

the time I mean right now we're

delivering Tuesdays and Fridays but we

have chefs picking up on Mondays after

the weekends sometimes Wednesdays

sometimes Thursdays who knows and a lot

of our customers are really close so we

can even you know do top-up deliveries

which we will do for our really good

customers from time to time if they're

close but you want to be consistent with

them so set those delivery dates and

stick to them and as far as delivering

those figure out what your try you're

driving figure out what your traffic

patterns are and try to deliver when

there's not bad tropics don't go out and

do deliveries on rush hour especially if

you don't have a refrigerated truck

because you will be sitting in traffic

and in the summertime your produce will

be melting so you want to make sure that

you're being as effective as you can

with your delivery days and you want to

be bringing good product to the your

customers as well so hope you guys have

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