How a Strong Operator-Supplier Partnership Leads to Success

There's more to restaurant success than the perfect operation, service staff, chefs, or menu items. It all begins with the right ingredients, which is exactly where suppliers come in. How does having a strong operator-to-supplier relationship lead to success? Find out in this episode of "Rock My Restaurant," hosted by William Bender and Eric Norman.

And the two special guests joining them? The first is Katy A. Jones, who serves as vice president of marketing at FoodLogiQ, a supply chain management software company whose products aim to improve food safety, traceability, and sustainability. Jamie Davis, the director of supply chain of 400-unit brand Tropical Smoothie Cafe, also shares her insights on how to improve communications between restaurants and food sources.

What kinds of questions should operators expect to answer while evaluating their supply chain?

"What it comes down to is how do you balance between...food safety, your food costs...to what consumers are asking for?" Davis said. "How do you engage your suppliers to meet that need?"

Jones also brings up another concern operators should be aware of as they're moving from being a one-to-two-unit chain to a 15-to-30-unit chain.

"Do you have suppliers that can really grow with you?" She said.

A common challenge for a brand and its supply chain is staying true to its vision, Jones said. A chain can start with a strong brand promise, such as being a farm-to-fork establishment. When a chain expands nationwide, how can operators stitch their supply chain to stay true to their foundational values? 

Do as much research as possible, Davis encouraged. Take a look at suppliers' history, their processes, and their own goals and missions statements. You can never over communicate.

"Years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, [with suppliers] you either take it or leave it. But these days, it's more of you build a relationship. You build a solid relationship with your supplier, with your customers, so you can succeed," Davis said.

Watch the full episode now to learn more!