Sales Tips for Selling Disposable Restaurant Products

selling tips for restaurant suppliers

Surefire Tips on Marketing Disposable Products to Today’s Restaurants

Disposable restaurant products, ranging from custom styrofoam cups, to plastic deli containers have always been a required fixed cost in the restaurant industry.  However, selling these disposable restaurant products in today’s market can come with a challenge. It takes a unique sales approach and a certain type of interaction with your restaurant clients.

While there may be some hurdles that come with selling disposable products, these tips can ensure a smooth transaction and a better experience for all involved.

Understand Your Client’s Needs

Before you can sell any type of disposable container to a restaurant, you need to fully understand what this container will be used for.

Don’t just ask the client what type of cup or container they need.

It is important to ask your client what the intended use for the disposable cup or container is, so you can find the best solution to meet their needs. You need to do more than to just sell a product. It helps ensure that the client has exactly what they need and meanwhile highlights your credibility as a seller.

Don’t Just Sell a Product, Rather Sell a Service

Recommend the perfect disposable restaurant product to your customers is the first step.  This shows your customers why working with you is so valuable to them.

Remember… restaurants aren’t only buying products from you and your warehouse, they are trusting you to stock these products and ship it to them in a timely and efficient manner. You are not just a sales person, but a packaging consultant in this role. Your customers need you to fulfill your vendor obligations, so they can fulfill theirs. 

Focus on Consistency Not Quantity

In this market, the key is to not focus on sales quantity,  but instead on sales consistency and customer repeat purchasing. When a restaurant starts buying from a distributor, it becomes difficult for that restaurant to change distributors moving forward.  So don’t worry about quantity, as they are locked in with you as a vendor.

Restaurant owners are very busy, and they get in the habit of reordering on a consistent basis as long as their distributor is meeting their needs. They need reorders to be smooth, easy and foolproof. They shouldn’t need to worry about if their order or if it is going to get there in time. This also means keeping things simple for the restaurant owners. While distributors and sales reps may be used to industry jargon, restaurant owners typically are not. Keep things simple for them so they can focus on what they do best – running their business.

The key to success in this industry is not large, expensive orders, but honing in on that consistency.

Beware of Over-Lending Your Clients

This is a tip that may seem rather obvious, but it is one that many distributors fail to follow through with. If your customers have a bill due, don’t help them dig into a deeper debt hole.

With customers like this, especially if they are NET 30 customers, giving them products when they have a debt due puts you at a major risk for losing that customer. It is the same idea behind not lending friends or family money—you shouldn’t expect to get it back.

The same principle should be applied to Cash on Delivery customers. They don’t need to rake up a bunch of debt with you before they switch vendors. This happens a lot in this industry—so don’t lend your products out freely. You are risking not only loosing money but worse, loosing your customer.  This may not apply to every situation, but it is the general rule.

Make Customer Satisfaction Your Number One Goal

Customer satisfaction should be your number one priority. There are things that you can do to ensure your customers are being taken care of.

You need your customers, plain and simple. So you need to be willing to take the extra step in treating them right.

How can you do this? You should always accept returns, no questions asked. Even accept a return if a few containers have been consumed. After all, your customer will need to try and use a few containers before they determine if it will work for them or not.  If the customer needs to return only half the order, you can offer them a 50% refund. Then, sell the case later at a discounted price. It is a great way to make sure that you aren’t taking a complete loss, and you are earning your customer’s loyalty in the process.  There is nothing more unprofessional than not accepting a return of an undamaged product, so what if you take a small loss, you will make it up in future business.

Marketing and selling disposable restaurant products to those in the restaurant industry can be difficult. But, if all else fails, just remember to focus on customer satisfaction. Above all things, you can really find success in this market through superior customer service.