If you run or are looking to run a café you need supplier agreements and contracts. Coffee, tea, chocolate, milk, soft drinks, fruit, cakes, biscuits, sugar, bread, cheese and anything to eat and drink. Also cleaning products and toiletries. You need supplies such as equipment hire and anything that will maintain the business. Cleaning products for the kitchen are sometimes specific. In line with health and safety regulations, chemicals used for lavatories, may be unsuitable for the kitchen.
If you have decided on the company that will supply coffee for your business, you need a guarantee that the company will always supply coffee of high quality and always the type that you’ve agreed to stock for your customers. No doubt you’ll have tasted the coffee which got your seal of approval. But a supplier may decide to change the type of coffee they supply for reasons beyond their control, such as a short supply imported from whichever country the coffee comes from. Suppliers have an obligation to inform you that the quality of the product will be changing and why. They will need to get your permission to supply you with a different product altogether. This should be a clause in your agreement with your supplier.
Something along the lines of: the coffee company will deliver coffee of the same quality and in the same manner with every delivery as agreed by both parties. If any changes occur, even if the changes are beyond the supplier’s control, you should be informed within a certain period of time – adequate advance notice.
You need to have your supply contracts and purchase agreements in place together with your supplier agreements. Your suppliers need to meet your payment terms and quality requirements as this will impact directly and heavily on your business. Be sure to establish from the offset your payment terms and pricing. Also, be sure that your written agreements stipulate the quality of the product, the type of product (ie if you want your products to be fair trade or organic), the delivery schedule (including time of day). Of course you need to be mindful of the suppliers requirements and if possible, meet them half way.
Try to develop negotiation techniques which will help you as a customer and will help your supplier understand your needs in terms of budget and quantity for your business. Remember you will be buying in bulk and some suppliers have a minimum requirement to purchase goods such as milk or sugar that may be more than your business actually needs. So learn to negotiate and don’t be afraid to look for a supplier that can deliver quality and the right quantity at the right time for your business. But remember that your best options for a good deal is bulk discount. Squeezing the patience out of a supplier might land you poor quality products and a poor service. Learn to negotiate with your suppliers. Remember, they’re running a business too. SG
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