What can I do to start selling my produce to restaurants and grocery stores?
Answer: A lot of the same principles that go into selling your food at farmers markets are the same for selling to grocery stores and restaurants. Key questions to ask yourself before beginning to sell at grocery stores or restaurants include: What products do local grocery stores and restaurants want that I could supply, including specialty ethnic foods? Does a particular chain have an interest in purchasing locally? What is my plan to ensure a consistent supply of a few key products over a period of several weeks? Do I have a Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) plan? Does this buyer require it?If you are selling at a farmers market, you may already have met chefs or grocery store owners who want to use local produce. If not, you will have to do a little research to learn which places feature specialty salads, homemade soups, or unique cuisine. Your local phone book is a quick and easy place to start. Stop by the restaurant or grocery store to see what kind of establishment it is. If you like what you see, contact the head chef or manager in person or by phone. Bring samples of your products, recipes, or ideas of how they can be used, and a brochure that lists your products and when they are available. As with all types of marketing, building a relationship with the customer is critical.You can also check out the following ATTRA publications, which will provide more detailed information on selling to these different venues. Selling to Restaurants Tips for Selling to Grocery StoresTips for Selling to Restaurants