Supply chain issues have poured out of the woodwork throughout the pandemic — and the restaurant industry has not been immune.
Even after two years of the pandemic, the supply chain for many industries remains in a state of flux. And we can expect, with the new variant wreaking havoc around the world, that these issues will only continue.
From cross-country or international freight delays to local closures due to illness, there are a number of reasons why you might experience clogs in your supply chain.
But the main question is, what can you do to manage these issues and avert disaster in your day-to-day business?
Let’s dig into the 5 biggest ways you can deal with these issues and come out on top.
5 Ways to Deal with Supply Chain Issues in Your Restaurant
1. Simplify Your Menu
Are there dishes on your menu that just won’t work? Can’t get the key ingredients that you need?
Don’t be afraid to make temporary cuts to your menu — emphasis on temporary. Remember, they’ll go right back on your menu as soon as supply chains open again. But it might be better to cut them out of the menu than to deliver sub-par dishes to your customers.
2. Substitute Ingredients
If the thought of removing a dish from your menu is just too painful, then consider possible substitutions.
Look for ways to adapt items on your menu with ingredients that are readily available.
If you can’t substitute ingredients in a way that maintains the integrity of your dish, consider swapping the entire dish out for a new one.
You never know what new creation might come out of this. But, even if you don’t find the next star of your menu, remember that this is just temporary until the supply chain goes back to normal.
3. Look to Source Locally
No doubt, there are ingredients that you source from across the country or even from international locations.
While the same exact item might not be available locally, there might be something similar enough — or better — that will work.
Discuss your needs with local farmers and growers to see if they have products that might fill the gap.
4. Invest in a Freezer
Fresh is always the best option — but when the supply chain makes fresh ingredients impossible, it’s good to have a fallback.
Thus, the freezer.
Frozen food products can help you to weather supply chain issues and get food out to your customers when you’re in a jam — i.e., your regular supply channel is experiencing delays.
5. Communicate with Your Customers
The pandemic has thrown a lot of lives and careers into chaos. Because of this, a lot of people are more understanding when it comes to challenges across industries.
All you have to do is be open with your customers. Explain what’s going on and you would be surprised at the response you’ll get. Many customers, when they find out about a supply chain problem, respond with patience and generosity.
Consider sending out a message on social media to give people a head’s up about your supply chain woes. You could also encourage your servers to let customers know as soon as they sit down about what limitations and changes to the menu they can expect.
As uncertainty continues to rock the industry, we can probably expect continued supply chain issues. But hopefully, with the help of these suggestions, you’ll be able to weather them like a pro.
How have you been affected by the supply chain? We’d love to hear about your experience. Let us know in the comments below.
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