by Paul Damaren, Executive Vice President, Business Development at RizePoint
Suppose there’s a lettuce recall because the produce is tainted with bacteria and unsafe to serve. Would you know if the lettuce you just received is part of that contaminated batch, so you don’t serve it to your guests?
When you accept protein deliveries, do you have complete confidence that the meats, poultry, and seafood were held at the proper temperature throughout the journey to your restaurant, and all safety and quality protocols were properly followed?
Are you certain that all your suppliers embrace sustainability, fair labor practices, animal welfare, and other environmental and social issues?
You would know the answer to all these questions (and more!) if you prioritize supply chain transparency.
Supply chain transparency is a necessity in today’s world, and it offers many significant benefits to restaurants and other food brands. Boosting transparency all along the supply chain allows brands to:
- Identify and mitigate risk. Foods face numerous risks getting from their point of origin to the point of consumption. Was the farm that grew the lettuce contaminated by bacteria, chemicals, or other items before harvesting? Were proteins sitting in hot trucks for an extended period due to transportation delays? Did the person delivering the food to your restaurant sneeze on an open crate of produce? Were there recalls on any of the products that were just delivered to your kitchen? Greater supply chain visibility allows you to more confidently identify and mitigate any potential risks to boost safety and quality in your restaurant.
- Meet consumers’ demands. A recent survey showed that 94% of consumers would be more loyal to brands that offer supply chain transparency. Consumers have, increasingly, been supporting brands that serve good, safe, and responsible food. People want to know where their food is coming from, the companies’ environmental impact, if animals are being treated humanely, whether brands are committed to DEI, etc. In fact, 30% of consumers said they’d likely choose a restaurant offering food grown in environmentally-friendly ways over restaurants that don’t. People are drawn to brands like Chipotle, which is openly vowing to cultivate a better world, prioritizing sustainability and offering a menu of real, responsibly sourced ingredients. More restaurant brands should do the same.
- Work with suppliers whose ESG commitment mirror your own. Restaurants are focusing more on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives, partly because of increased consumer demand and partly because it’s the right thing to do. And many restaurant brands are opting to work with suppliers whose ESG values mirror their own. This means working with suppliers that are reducing their environmental impact, prioritizing sustainability, committing to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, treating employees fairly, and buying responsibly sourced products. The best way to determine whether your suppliers are properly certified – in terms of both safety/quality protocols and ESG initiatives – is to use tech tools to organize, track, and manage supplier certifications. That way, you can be certain that you’re only working with suppliers that prioritize safety, quality, transparency, and compliance – just like your brand does.
- Make more informed decisions. Restaurants are wisely ditching paper files and Excel spreadsheets and are, instead, relying on tech solutions to gather and analyze data. Today’s tech solutions have real-time capabilities, can gather data in one place for a single source of truth, and provide insights that help restaurant operators make smarter, more informed decisions. Brands can use these insights to reduce risks, solve problems, anticipate disruptions, improve performance, maximize safety, and optimize operations.
- Strengthen partnerships and communication with suppliers. Are your suppliers unable to get certain products because of a shortage, transportation delay, or other disruptions? Did a drought or extreme temperatures cause suppliers to lose considerable produce, impacting future deliveries and prices? Did a recall impact any of your suppliers (or their suppliers)? Regular communication – coupled with supply chain transparency – can help your restaurant and your suppliers stay more informed about possible risks, safety breaches, and disruptors that can impact your products and your menu. Tech tools – like the cloud, quality management software, artificial intelligence, etc. are essential to boost safety and communication across the supply chain. Having a clear view of inventory, potential disruptors, and activity all along the supply chain allows restaurants and their suppliers to be more agile, flexible, responsive, and resilient.
- Increase key metrics. Boosting transparency will improve many key performance indicators (KPIs), including sales, profits, and customer loyalty. Customers want to know that your brand – and your suppliers – are taking every precaution to keep them safe. Increased safety protocols, including supply chain transparency, lead to higher customer retention and loyalty, which is essential to brands’ profitability. It costs five to seven times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one, and a 5% customer retention rate can increase profits by a tremendous 25-95%. As more consumers gravitate towards brands that operate safely and ethically, sharing information about your supply chain can help you increase trust, loyalty, sales, and other metrics.
The benefits of supply chain transparency are significant and far-reaching, extending beyond your own restaurant. When your brand – and your suppliers – commit to safety, quality and integrity, you become part of a positive ripple effect. As more restaurants commit to these issues, we can help drive positive changes for the entire industry.
Paul Damaren is Executive Vice President, Business Development at RizePoint, a technology leader in the food safety, quality management, compliance, and social responsibility space. RizePoint’s quality management software solutions help companies, including Starbucks, McDonald’s, Marriott, and more, keep brand promises through their quality, safety, and compliance efforts. Customers gather better data, see necessary actions earlier, and act faster to correct issues before they become costly liabilities. Check out RizePoint’s new website to learn how these solutions can help your company.
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