London city is a vibrant epicenter of excitement and opportunity, solidifying its reputation as a global food hub, renowned for its diversity of culinary experiences.
Boasting an impressive 69 Michelin-star restaurants, London’s food scene doesn’t compromise on excellence. Worth £60bn and employing over 1.2 million people, the industry is a powerful revenue generator for the UK economy.
With rising commodity, energy prices and a tight labour market, the food industry is grappling with mounting cost pressures and consumers are seeing their favourite menu items jump in price. The cost of living crisis has led to London currently ranking as the 4th most expensive city in the world.
Let’s delve into the space between the supplier and the restaurant, uncover the impact of the cost crisis on distributors in the food industry and discover the strategic measures necessary to differentiate and excel in a highly competitive and saturated market.
How does London’s cost of living crisis affect you as a restaurant owner or distributor?
Pubs and restaurants all over London are feeling the heat with staggering cost increasing up to 50-60%. With little capital to manage this, London restaurant closures are the highest they’ve been for 28 years.
To avoid closure, restaurants are desperate to cut costs. As a result, food distributors find themselves in cut-throat competition to offer the most competitive prices and maintain their relationships with these struggling businesses. The pressure doesn’t stop there, there is an additional expectation to offer easy ordering systems and exceptional customer service.
The stakes are high for distributors who fail to meet these demands. With fewer orders, economies of scale diminish and profits face a devastating hit.
As a London distributor, how can you thrive amidst challenging times?
Given the circumstances, decreasing prices is crucial but London restaurants still want to be associated with the best. To ensure your business stands out and remains in demand, implementing these 3 expert tips can help you secure customer loyalty and growth.
1. Competitive Prices
Since London is home to over 23% of fresh produce distributors, restaurants are searching for a distributor that will offer the most competitive prices.
Distributors are now forced to seek ways to create business efficiencies to provide the competitive pricing customers are demanding.
Among the most effective cost cutting solutions is technology, which has helped more than half of firms increase their income by 5% since 2020. Fresh produce distributors can also reap similar rewards from tech.
Automating manual processes with tech can be the long-term strategy to reduce costs for distributors. Tasks ranging from order entry to invoicing, are significantly laborious. By mitigating these labour costs with technology automation, the business can offer lower prices to customers as cost to serve becomes fewer.
Ultimately, being a cost leader as a London distributor while maintaining product quality will simultaneously drive sales and demonstrate your brands superiority.
2. Product Range
Diversifying products is important. However, without showcasing them, it is redundant. This can result in sunken costs as produce is wasted because chefs don’t know what is available.
Online ordering platforms can showcase product range and specials. With the ability to addproduct notes and specific requirements it gives a layer of personalisation. This is an added bonus for chefs who take pride in making their menus unique. Distributors that use technology like this can stand out and offer products specific to chefs.
Fresho is a software company working within this space. Its functionality for both chef and distributor makes for a seamless user experience. Gergely Csaba head Chef at the London michelin star restaurant, Sofitel, says:
“Fresho makes it so easy for me to customise what I order so I get exactly what I need, when I want it”.
3. Reliability & Exceptional Customer Service
Regardless of the industry, customer service is imperative. Maintaining a good relationship with customers reduces customer churn.
Communication is not just part of customer service; it is the most important part of customer service.
Which is why it’s important to give customers a simple and efficient platform to communicate. Not only does this promote transparency between the two parties, Fresho’s platform is easy-to-use delivering high-level customer service chefs are asking for.
With restaurants and distributors easily able to keep track orders; accountability is maintained throughout the order to invoice process. It prevents product disputes and creates a platform for successful partnerships.
“We find it a very easy and straightforward app to place our orders. It saves us a lot of time to receive the products in the way we need them’ Head Chef, Polpo Chelsea
“We find it a very easy and straightforward app to place our orders. It saves us a lot of time to receive the products in the way we need them’”
Head chef, Polpo Chelsea
Fresho offers distributors the option of card payments, allowing distributors to extend credit terms with restaurants. Read more about the importance of how card payments can enhance healthy cash flow here. With this functionality restaurants are given more breathing room and the relationships become more fulfilliing.
Ben English, Marrfish operations director, speaks about the benefits of this feature
The challenge of becoming the best London fresh produce distributor is daunting, but with the right strategy and tools, it’s possible to succeed and even thrive in these uncertain times.
Don’t wait to take action – book a Fresho demo today and discover how you can be the best in the industry.