When you operate a restaurant with a bar, the quality of your drinks is as important as the quality of your food. You want to offer the beers and wines that customers want, and you need to ensure they are always in stock, since having to tell a customer that you're out of something always leaves them disappointed. The secret to success when it comes to your beverages is finding a great beverage distributor. Here are four tips to guide you in that endeavor.
Check for a wide range of brands.
Look for a distributor who works not only with the big, national brands, but also with smaller, local creators of wine, beer, and spirits. Customers love local products, and being able to offer them will instantly increase your popularity. When the distributor gives you their brand list, take the time to research brands with which you are unfamiliar. Are they unfamiliar because they are new—and therefore something your customers may want to try—or because they are less popular and perhaps not as in-demand among customers?
Offer a success story.
Distributors are often selective in which restaurants they want to work with. They want to supply places that will go through enough product to make the contract worthwhile, and they also need to know you'll have the funds on hand to pay them. So, when you contact distributors, be prepared to "sell them" on why you'd be a good customer. Describe the success your restaurant has had so far, what makes your establishment unique, and your financial position.
Look for good communication.
When considering different distributors, pay close attention to how easy they are to communicate with. Do they answer emails or return your phone calls promptly, or do they take days to get back to you? Do they have a designated employee to handle communication? Maybe they assign a specific contact person to each customer, streamlining the communication process. There will be times when you need to contact your distributor at the last minute to add to or change your order. It's important that you can reach them when this need arises.
Check the limitations of the contract.
When you hire a distributor, you are sometimes asked not to also carry items from certain other companies. You may also be asked not to source items yourself. It all depends on the contract, so read the contract carefully before you sign—and don't be afraid to ask for changes to the contract if the original terms won't work for you.
Contact a beverage distributor like Beverage Barns for additional information.