The term “local” can be quite loose. ‘Local’ can either be within your hometown, the state borders, or even within the entire country. When you are opening a new restaurant and discussing about sourcing your wholesale produce locally it raises an important question. How local should you go?
It depends on a few factors, but it would be down mainly to the balance between the economics of running your restaurant and the menu choices you would like to offer.
The easiest answer to the question posed before would be, “as close to your restaurant as possible”. But, that is often easier said than done. Depending on what you would like to serve the produce you require may not be available at a nearby food supplier.
However, you should still heavily consider including as much local ingredients as you can and be more creative in what you offer in your menu. And by local we mean not having to wait days for your shipment of ingredients to arrive. Stick to the specialties of your local area. Roam around to find local farms and food suppliers that distribute local produce. There are many benefits to staying local.
Fresher and faster
When you purchase wholesale from a food supplier that gets their produce from local farms you are guaranteed maximum freshness. This is all due to the efficiency of the logistics.
Produce such as fruits and vegetables are harvested daily. Not only are they harvested daily they are also delivered daily to their respective wholesalers for distribution, if not sold wholesale by themselves and delivered directly to customers. Vegetables and fruits are rarely stored for more than 24 hours, especially in smaller farms. Once harvested the produce is cleaned, packaged, and delivered all on the day. Wholesalers usually handle the storage, but even they prefer to have perishable goods delivered within 24 hours. It is simply more economical that way but as a bonus the products you receive at your restaurant are as fresh as you can get them without owning a farm yourself.
Of course deliveries to your restaurant are much more swift as well. You can arrange more frequent deliveries so you don’t have to overstock. Most fruits and vegetables remain their best for about five days before quickly declining in quality. Twice a week deliveries of fresh produce is much easier done if you choose a local produce supplier.
Supporting the local ecosystem and economy
Not only are you getting fresher ingredients, you are also supporting the local community. You can help sustain the local economy by creating a healthy demand that stimulates further growth of your local food producers.
The logistic simplicity and ease of having your wholesale foods delivered from a local warehouse is also great for the local ecosystem. Delivery trucks can be smaller, lighter, cleaner, and more efficient, thus emitting less fumes to the atmosphere. There is also less labour required to load and unload.
Although it is certainly an option, you do not have to approach a local farm directly and have them deliver directly to your doorstep. In fact that may not be an option for most local small farms. You can ask your local wholesale food supplier for a custom order of produce strictly from local farms and producers only.
Good for brand image
Having “locally sourced” in the menu is reassuring to customers. Locals will be eating food from sources they trust and have developed a sense of endearment to. And they will be glad to know that they too can become part of an effort to help with the local economy.
Make local produce the star of your restaurant
The long term benefits of having locally sourced produce is numerous. If you have never considered where your restaurant gets its produce from you can start now with your local wholesale food supplier. Some wholesalers like Bansan Penang even have their own farm that is harvested daily. Insist on having your fresh fruits and vegetables supplied from local farms, and create menus that highlight local ingredients.