Tips for Getting Restaurants to Buy Your Product

Created: Monday, July 22, 2019, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:00 am

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By Laura Gozney, co-founder of Gozney

Coming up with a new product to fill a gap in the market is excellent but it is just the beginning.  What to you need to do to take your product and convince restaurant owners that it is something they need and should buy right now?  Here are ideas base on our experience.

Food Service Olive Oil
Image: Pixabay

Look for the Best Fit – Whatever the Size of the Potential Client

You should always aim as high as possible when approaching restaurants. Go for the big names and large chains. It’s good to start with businesses you sense have brand or culture alignment with your product. If you’re a match, they will find it hard to ignore you.

It can be hard to break into restaurant chains as they tend to work in different ways, with long term trusted suppliers, so don’t be surprised if you need to diversify, working with distributors to sell your products to larger restaurant brands.

Aiming high also means targeting quality small independent establishments. These businesses can be very influential in the long run, enabling you to build a solid local reputation that will help you take your business nationwide.

Make Good Use of Your Network

We have been fortunate enough to generate inbound interest at Gozney; you either want a stone oven or you don’t. Use your existing network, and avoid blanket networking events, as these can be a waste of time if your product only targets a particular type of food establishment. A good name in the industry, through happy customers, is also essential as they do the talking for you. We have also reached out through social platforms to up and coming brands we feel are essential to work with. Look who you are already connected to – and if they are the right fit, reach out to them.

Keep Your Mindset Client Focused

On all occasions, it’s important to relate to the people you are talking to as a human and a fellow business owner; offer them something they need (or didn’t know they wanted). When it comes to following up and trying to secure a meeting or product demonstrations, be efficient: check in, but don’t be overly persistent, as you don’t want to become a nuisance.

When talking to restaurants, it’s important to keep the focus on them. Seek out what your customer needs and approach that first. Don’t over-promise or pretend to be something you are not: It’s important never to be too salesy, especially in early communications. You should start by listening and gaining a sense of what the restaurant owner is looking for, and show how your product can provide the solution, or fulfill objectives in ways they may not have thought of. We really believe our products do the talking, so we often share places where you can find our products in action, or invite people to meet the team and sample pizza from our ovens.

Remember to think like a restaurant owner e.g. when are their busiest times of the day? In other words, when would they least appreciate a call or drop in! Show that you understand their day-to-day challenges and they will want to work with you.

Have Confidence in Your Product

Confidence in your product goes a long way, and that is conveyed through your brand identity. A strong brand conveys quality, vision and professionalism. Of course, you have to have the balance right – it doesn’t send a good message if your branding has all the bells and whistles but your product, or knowledge of your product capability, is found lacking. Take some time to ensure that your brand materials and marketing showcase your product, that they tell the story of how you got here and portray your business as aspirational and going places.

Spend Time Developing Relationships for the Long-Term

Getting your product into restaurants goes a long way beyond just closing a deal. Once you have an agreement, you need to keep working to ensure the product is operating as it should be and continues to fulfill the restaurant owner’s evolving needs over time.

It goes without saying – look after the small independents as much as your larger clients. When smaller or newer restaurants become more established, they can have as much of a platform to shout about your product (or more) than your larger chains. Everyone respects the care and attention that independents give to sourcing their products, so keeping them happy is vital. Again, the focus is on the individual, not simply the brand or size of the business – keep the conversation channels open, ensure the product is performing as promised, and be sure to invest in your customer service as you grow.

Whether you’re at the start or close to the finish of the development of your commercial product make sure you spend time planning how to sell into the restaurant trade. Focus on research, increasing your knowledge and widening your circle of contacts, this will help bring you a strong core business and tasty profits in the future.

Laura Gozney
Laura Gozney is co-founder of Gozney, makers of commercial and residential stone fire pizza ovens.

Gozney’s latest innovation is Roccbox – the only professional standard portable wood and gas stone oven that can cook a pizza in under 90 seconds.

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