Amid food supply disruptions, restaurant operators have been encouraged to simplify their supply chain and source ingredients closer to home. While this may immediately sound like a lower-tech way to operate, your back-of house tech should be able to help you research local suppliers that will help you diversify your vendors and better manage the risk of an ingredient shortage, Restaurant Dive reports. Whether you are sourcing ingredients from the other side of the world or the other side of town, are you pulling as much as you can from your technology tools? Your vendor management process can and should be streamlined, accurate, and account for differences in shelf life and food safety requirements, whether you are sourcing products from a multinational supplier or a local farm.
Even Starbucks, a brand name synonymous with anticipating and meeting consumer demands, has been facing supply shortages lately. As the New York Times reported recently, the brand has been struggling to source key ingredients in its popular drinks and food items, as well as packaging products. There is likely more of this to come as food distributors look to source new-and-improved ingredients to suit consumer tastes, all while managing factors ranging from labor shortages to disease to extreme weather that can suddenly impact an ingredient’s availability. Your technology is a critical tool to help you minimize your risk of running short on key supplies – or at least be aware of when it’s likely to happen so you can adjust promotions and menu options proactively. For example, your digital supply chain tracking system should allow you to see your network of suppliers, enable you to spot fluctuations in demand in real time, respond to changes in supply forecasts, and place orders as demand requires – as opposed to according to a set schedule. It should also help you spot problems in your supply chain, so if there is a foodborne illness outbreak, you’re better able to respond quickly to sequester the ingredient responsible and source replacements.