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How to build your own network of suppliers

For those wanting to go into food canteen business, veterans share tips on finding the right supplier
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Building a good network of suppliers is crucial to a canteen business, because it directly affects the quality of the products you serve.  

In addition, regular suppliers can give you payment or credit terms that are beneficial for the business. “Suppliers can give you payment terms ranging from seven to 30 days, depending on their credit policy,” says Annie Valdez, co-owner of CTED Food Services. “Since you don’t have to pay them outright, you can still roll over your cash before actual payment is made.”

“The more suppliers you have, the cheaper you can get your supplies,” adds Marie Paz Pineda, owner of M.P. Enterprises. Both CTED Food Services and M.P. Enterprises are canteen operators and food concessionaires.

A food concessionaire could build his pool of suppliers through referrals or by talking directly to market stall owners, who could refer them to suppliers or become suppliers themselves. Most of the time, however, suppliers seek out food concessionaires, says Pineda.

“Suppliers seem to know that a new food concessionaire is coming up,” she says.

 

What makes a good supplier?

1.    Price

Pineda explains that a good supplier must know and attend to the needs of the food concessionaire, and this includes regularly checking on them for bookings and after-sales requirements. Since price is the main consideration in choosing suppliers, they must offer goods that are reasonably cheaper than market prices.

A food concessionaire must there regularly check on the prices of goods in public markets and supermarkets, and constantly look for new suppliers as alternatives or backups.

 

2.    Product quality

This is the topmost consideration when choosing suppliers. A good supplier must know the best products—especially food items—to give their clients, at the best time. In any case, the canteen’s operation manager or the employee in charge must make sure that the deliveries are of good quality.

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