Waiter Rant, by Steve Dublanica, Required reading for selling to restaurants.
So, you want to start a farm & sell to restaurants? It’s consistent sales with opportunity to establish yourself. But, do you speak the language?
When I first started my entrepreneurial path in 2001 I worked for a contractor during the weekdays, mowed lawns on the weekends, put out real estate for sale signs, and waited tables at a busy restaurant for 5 years Thursday-Sunday nights 5PM-when the doors closed. I slowly began dropping side hustles as the lawn business picked up. The very last job I had working for someone else was the restaurant gig.
I always laugh when people comment on how nice it must be to have other businesses while we established our farm. I started from nothing, NOTHING & clawed my way through years of hardships before I was able to push pride aside & hire a group of business coaches to kick my ass into gear.
It took 12 years to scale the property management to where it could run itself; it took me 18 months to scale the farm. The difference? Coaching, systems, staffing correctly, and continuing education.
My years at the restaurant.
I admit, I did like waiting tables. It was fast paced, demanding, bi-lingual, a great networking platform, and I was able to bring in pretty good income. I was good at reading people, anticipating needs, and the restaurant industry taught me future lessons that I can speak on at length as I talk to farmers wanting to sell produce to these places.
I learned the schedules of management, the back of the house prep, and dealing with every kind of personality. I learned how bad you can feel dumping a full gallon of salsa down a customer’s white dress shirt and how it felt to be appreciated by some random person who’s day was turned around simply by acknowledging another human’s existence. I know what it’s like to have a table stiff you on tips, the ignorant hate filled nastiness some people carry around with them, and to have a table walk out without paying a bill. I know what it’s like to help some poor kid on his first date, to pick up a single parents check, and to be asked to sit in my section by name. Burned hands, feet above your head before you hit the ground falls and launching six hot plates into the air of a crowded restaurant by tripping on a chair. People, I was in those trenches. And I liked it. The love-hate relationship everyone that has waited knows.
Waiter Rant, restaurant intricacies worth noting.
About three years into that mess I came across “Waiter Rant”, by Steve Dublanica. I laughed & laughed at Steve’s perspective on restaurants, clients, and chefs. More importantly, and I’m talking to you now farmers, I learned the expectations clients of a top rated restaurant have. I learned the temperaments and work life of all staff of a kitchen & front end. I appreciated the job & my regulars more, and I was able to deal with the circus a bit more.
I’m not going to give any spoilers, but for $10 you can read the book that can give you the edge in dealing with a professional kitchen, and speaking in that industries native language. There is at least $100 worth of laughs in this book whether you ever plant a seed or not.
Steve also has his on blog which you can follow http://www.waiterrant.net
State of the Soil’s restaurant networking sessions.
For our summit, we will be on location with Rick Wells of Harvest Seasonal Kitchen. For your free access ticket visit http://stateofthesoil.com
10 Quick tips for restaurant sales:
-Know who the Chef is
-Understand their clientele
-Make it easy to buy from you
-Go in knowing what your terms of sale are
-Follow their Social Media for an idea of their style
-Eat there at least once so you can complement their work. **I can’t believe I even have to say this**
-Know what it’s like to spend $100 on a meal before predicating your business on selling to a place that a $100+ per person dinner is the norm.
-Understand their cooking style (French, Fusion, Steakhouse)
-Be able to go over pairings or unusual (unique to your farm) that complements THEM.
Leave a comment below on how you broke the ice into your favorite client’s restaurant & help a fellow farmer.
PLANT SEEDS DAILY