Priyanka Jethwa talks wholesalers’ pros and cons with a chef.
RESTAURANT: Brilliant Restaurant
LOCATION: Southall, West London
CAREER: Joined when she was 18 and is now the co-owner
CUSTOMERS: 250 a night on average
Which wholesalers do you use?
We use a number of wholesalers and suppliers, including Natco Cash and Carry, TRS Foods, and Costco.
How often do you shop with wholesalers?
We visit the cash & carry at least once per week, and as it is just around the corner from us, it is convenient when we need something last minute.
Why do you use the wholesalers that you use?
We trust their products, as we have been using them for a long time and there is always consistency of quality. Furthermore, we also have the option to order stock online if we need to.
Do you get your orders by visiting the cash & carry or do you have them delivered?
Most of our products are delivered, but we still like to go to the cash & carry as it allows us to discover new products and compare prices. If there are two brands of rice but one is better value, we will buy both and see what gives us the better result.
How can wholesalers improve the cash & carry experience?
Sometimes the process can be quite tedious when half of the checkouts are closed. It also takes a while to find all the items and then to wait for everything to be weighed out – that is the only thing that puts us off.
What in-depot activity is likely to capture your attention and get you to purchase promotional items?
Special deals are always attractive when it comes to alcohol. Also, when at the cash & carry, it is helpful if suppliers are hosting tastings so we can decide whether or not to stock a product. For example, we recently had a function where we were hosting afternoon tea, so we went into Costco to have a look at what they had. We ended up buying a lot of things after tasting them – Costco is good at that.
Do you use telesales or order online?
We use telesales for catering, but online is a good way to source new products that we do not normally use. For example, we were recently trying to find mini burgers and after searching online, our manager found a company that does them.
How can wholesalers improve the online ordering experience?
It needs to be more user-friendly and more apps need to be introduced, especially as our manager uses his mobile for everything. That way, it is all at the click of a button and we can easily track what is being ordered, à la Amazon.
What is the biggest challenge to your business?
The minimum order. Sometimes it can be frustrating when suppliers and wholesalers have a minimum order – in this case, we go out and buy goods ourselves.
What are the biggest food trends you are seeing?
Tandoori dishes are increasing in popularity because they are healthier than a normal curry dish.
Demand for vegetarian food is also increasing and we find that those who eat meat are ordering vegetarian meals as a side dish.