Boosting Restaurant and Cafe Profits with Wholesale Sales

by Greg DePersio

2 min read

Your signature dishes keep customers coming through your restaurant doors, but how can you boost your sales even more? Going wholesale with some of your signature seasonings, sauces, or other foods expands your business with the potential for greater profits. Explore the idea fully before diving in to ensure you have a solid foundation for the wholesale component of your restaurant business.

How Wholesale Helps

You already run an established restaurant business, so why should you consider expanding into the wholesale business? Your customers know and love certain dishes, flavors, and ingredients they experience when they dine at your restaurant, but they probably don’t dine with you every night. Retailing some of your items from your own store lets your customers enjoy those flavors at home, and you still make a profit. Going the wholesale route lets you harness the retail reach of the stores that sell your products. This allows you to sell more product than you can when selling from your own restaurant or through farmers’ markets and similar venues. As you reach more customers through the wholesale products you sell for resale in retail stores, your restaurant gains more attention, with the potential for more customers dining in your eatery.

Getting Started

Choosing a product that fits market demands and allows for a sufficient shelf life is crucial to wholesale success. Target the flavors, dishes, or components of dishes that appeal most to your restaurant customers. Determine how you can package and sell those components without sacrificing food quality or safety. Refrigerated and frozen formats extend the shelf life of perishable foods, but they require additional consideration for storage, shipping, and handling. Don’t skimp on the testing phase of creating a wholesale restaurant product to ensure it works. Next, decide on retailers with a clientele that lines up with the target demographics for your product. Getting your product into new markets is sometimes a challenge, since stores have limited space. Networking and building on existing relationships can help get you into various markets. Pricing is another decision in the process. A general guideline is to charge 2.5 times your production costs as your wholesale pricing. Keep in mind the retailer then marks up the price by roughly two times the wholesale price. Working through the math helps you determine if your price point is feasible for the market. Scaled pricing based on the amount of units purchased can make your wholesale products more appealing to high-volume retailers.

Potential Roadblocks

Identifying potential obstacles helps you avoid problems that can derail the profitable wholesale restaurant products side of your business. One issue is maintaining the quality of your product on a larger production scale. Strict production standards and heavy oversight over production are crucial to protect the integrity of your restaurant’s brand. The product also needs to maintain its quality over an extended period of time through the manufacturing, packaging, and sales process, and it needs to offer an appropriate shelf life in your customers’ homes. You also need facilities for producing, packaging, and storing the products until they reach your selected retailers. Starting production on a small-batch basis and slowly expanding your wholesale business helps you work out the kinks and maintain quality as you grow. With a solid plan for your wholesale business, you can expand your restaurant’s reach. Increase profits through sales of your wholesale products and potentially create new loyal customers to your brand.

References & Resources

Related Articles

Extra-Fresh Veggies: 5 Benefits of Restaurant Gardens

Fresh, local food draws loyal customers, and a restaurant garden gives you…

Read more

How to Scale Your Restaurant Business

As of 2015, Canadians have increased their spending on dining out for…

Read more

Small Business Ideas: Starting a Profitable Restaurant

Margins at restaurants tend to be slim, with the average coming in…

Read more